Exactly one year ago, Becky Hammon was hired as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, making her the first female coach in the NBA. Recently, we’ve seen more history being made on this front, with Jen Welter being added to the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff as a training camp and preseason intern and Nancy Lieberman winning an Assistant Coaching role with the Sacramento Kings.
It seems everywhere we turn, females are punching through the glass ceiling in the sports world, not only in coaching positions, but in management positions as well. Division I schools are hiring female athletic directors (Penn State, Sandy Barbour) and pro sports are promoting females to roles like Director of Football Administration (NY Jets, Jacqueline Davidson). I speak for young females in the sports business world when I say that this is a big deal! Jen Welter said it best in a recent interview with the New York Times: “I want little girls to grow up knowing that when they put their mind to something, when they work hard, that they can do anything regardless of the expectations of others.”
Women are making great strides in the sports industry, but these successes don’t mean that it is now a breeze for women to break into sports, or to be promoted within the industry either on the field or in the office. In a study of sports business professionals Turnkey conducted last year, 69% of female respondents felt women have a tougher time than men breaking into the industry (compared to just 36% of male respondents).
I believe women like Hammon and Welter are leading the charge for change, and, moving forward, I hope to see more women succeed in positions that are typically male dominated.
This is sure to be a hot topic at upcoming conferences that highlight women in sports, including SBJ’s Game Changers Conference and NACWAA . Turnkey will be attending both of these conferences – will you? If so – what are you most hoping to hear about? We would love to hear what topics you like to see covered when it comes to women in sports, so tweet at us at @TurnkeySports with your thoughts!