More men are coaching women's college basketball teams

Two candidates being considered to replace Pam Borton at the U are men, sources say.

hide

Paul Fessler, who has made a power out of the D-II Concordia University women’s basketball team, says that the most qualified coach should get the job but that, all things being equal, the job should go to the woman.

Photo: JIM GEHRZ • jgehrz@startribune.com 2008,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Gophers women’s ­basketball team has never had a male coach.

Will the 11th coach in the program’s 43-year history break that streak?

There’s a national trend toward more men coaching women’s college teams. In the six major conferences, nearly 40 percent of women’s basketball teams are coached by men. Seven of this year’s Sweet 16 teams were led by men and, as the Gophers search to replace the fired Pam Borton, at least two of the emerging candidates are male, a source told the Star Tribune.

“We will conduct a national search to secure the best candidate possible,” athletic director Norwood Teague said March 28, hours after he ended ­Borton’s 12-year run.

There is no timetable, and candidates include South Dakota State’s Aaron Johnston and Wright State’s Mike Bradbury, a source confirmed.

But in a high-paying and high-profile job, would a man or woman be the best fit?

Not a new question

Paul Fessler has heard questions like these before. He’s been coaching women’s college basketball for 17 years, the past 13 at Concordia (St. Paul), where he has made the Golden Bears into an NCAA Division II power. An opinion he hears often and — perhaps surprisingly — supports: When it comes to women’s college sports, women should coach.

The most qualified coach should get the job, Fessler said. But he added: “As a male, I might be in the minority: I think, all things being equal, you should always hire the female to coach the female sport.’’

Fessler agrees with the notion that young women athletes need women coaches as role models. Fessler’s three assistants are all women.

“They need that support, somebody who can talk the same language,” he said.

Ruth Sinn has been coaching basketball for nearly 30 years. The University of St. Thomas coach since 2005, she spent 17 years at Apple Valley High School, where she coached the great Carol Ann Shudlick, future Gophers star.

To Sinn, the most important aspect of having women in the head coaching position is the example set for the athletes.

“In the coaching profession, obviously, you want the best candidate,” Sinn said. “But in a female sport, having a role model for your young players to aspire to, to emulate — it’s very important.’’

Played for both

Shannon Nelson played at the University of Minnesota as Shannon Bolden and was a key part of the 2004 Final Four team. She just coached Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls to a 27-1 season that ended with an NJCAA Division III national championship.

“In my opinion the most important thing is the person the [Gophers] hire, rather than just the gender of the coach,” she said. “How can they relate to the player? Motivate the players, teach them life lessons, get the most out of them? How well can they recruit?’’

Bolden played for a male coach at Marshall [Minn.] High School, and then played for Borton. “I had both,” Nelson said. “I didn’t notice a difference as far as how I played, how I grew as a player or a person.’’

  • Male coaches

    39.5

    Percent of women’s college basketball teams coached by men in the six major NCAA conferences.

    59.8

    Percent of female college athletes, in all sports, coached by men.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close