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

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
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: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close