College Basketball Coaches Discuss Hiring Women in CBS Sports Poll

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2015

Becky Hammon coaches the San Antonio Spurs against the Phoenix Suns in an NBA summer league championship basketball game Monday, July 20, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon recently led the team's Las Vegas Summer League squad to a title, and her status as one of the NBA's rising stars in coaching circles has raised some intriguing questions.

Chief among them is the feasibility of a woman joining a Division I NCAA men's basketball coaching staff in the near future. 

According to a poll of 100 Division I NCAA basketball coaches conducted by CBSSports.com's Matt Norlander, Sam Vecenie and Gary Parrish, responses regarding the subject were relatively pessimistic.

When presented with the question "In light of Becky Hammon's increased role with the San Antonio Spurs, do you see a female coach on your staff in the next three years? Why or why not?," 75 percent of coaches responded "no," with 25 percent answering in the affirmative. 

Norlander, Vecenie and Parrish curated several responses on both sides of the debate, and the anonymous elaborations provided some interesting insight.

"Absolutely," one coach in the minority said, per Norlander, Vecenie and Parrish. "No fear of it at all. Look at the business more and more. It's evolving. There are a lot of good basketball minds out there. I don't think the men on the female side are having a problem. I don't think there's any reason for a female not to be on the men's side."  

Another respondent harboring similar feelings answered with the following: "Roy Williams always had female managers and women involved in his program, and I've talked to another coach [about this]. I think women can bring perspective and skills that guys don't have. They can balance out a staff. That's why I'm for it."

However, those in the 75 percent majority saw things differently—particularly as it pertained to recruiting.   

"Could a woman recruit 17-year-old boys? I don't know," one coach said, according to the survey. "Maybe one could. But that would be my concern. I think a woman can help coach men. But I don't know if a woman could help recruit men."

The complete survey offers a glimpse at a variety of opinions from around the profession and is absolutely worth checking out in its entirety.

Although the heavy volume of negative responses doesn't point to much progress being made on the front in the near future, there were several coaches who appeared to embrace the idea.

And considering the NBA has made significant strides thanks to Hammon's emergence and the Sacramento Kings' hiring of Nancy Lieberman as an assistant coach, there's hope yet that an NCAA program will step up and kick-start change in the years to come. 

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