US female coaches out there – we need you to join in with this one…What really does Geno do to advance the game outside of UCONN? Someone educate me, please.


US female coaches out there – we need you to join in with this one…  on a recent Facebook post, we promoted the story about Geno Auriemma (head coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team) making the statement that “not as many women [as men] want to coach”.  Geno thinks this is the reason for a lack of female basketball coaches in the US.

After posting this story on our website – a coach called Becky Carlson who is a big advocate for equality in sport said the following statement, and we want your response!  Please add in the comment boxes below:

“Ok, Geno is great coach and in many ways his accomplishments will go unmatched for quite a while regardless of the loss last night. 

However, I say this outside of march madness and completely independent of his record. What really does Geno do to advance the game outside of UCONN? Someone educate me, please. 

Feel free to pounce on this because sports fandom runs deep and can be as fierce as loyalty to religion. I get it. But before you pounce, consider this. 

Geno has inspirational speeches about character, a model example of a winning culture, countless former players who go on to achieve dominance internationally and are top players in the world. ALL of this equals power and prestige that gets funneled into UCONN and creates this rabbit for everyone to chase. 

But college women’s basketball, like so many other women’s sports, is frustrating in the sense that they still struggle to achieve any kind of equality in the broadcasting space. 

Snippets of full games and “rotational” coverage of women’s games while 5 full games of men’s teams in the first round of play on 5 different networks show during the tourney. 

I am not saying that Geno can or should change this alone but his voice matters and he has pull. I have to imagine the players of the NCAA understand this better than anyone but which coaches are empowering their athletes to understand and recognize their second class citizenship, still, in 2017? 

Tara at Stanford actively works to support and counsel women coaches who are having trouble getting back into the resume pools because that is a REAL challenge for female coaches. These are things you won’t see in the media. 

Instead of doing any of the above, Geno talks into the microphone about women “not wanting to coach” like he’s some political science major. 

Great, his daughter called him out to clarify but, so what. I would like to see not just Geno but other basketball coaches, both male and female do more than just affect their own sphere. If they aren’t wiling, then wth are we doing? 

ANY coaches what are your thoughts? We need to talk about this.”



  1. I agree with Becky’s comments! He is a great coach but no great coach gets there alone. He has great assistant coaches and I’ll bet his spouse picks up the slack at home allowing him the comfort to spend countless hours away.
    There is no research to support Geno’s comment! A ‘Rooney’ type rule applied to women in coaching and other administrative positions might be the only way to get more women in leadership positions. At least Geno has female assistant coaches. He could step aside and let one of his female assistants take over. Or, maybe hegemony truly rules the day-women as the subordinate group are convinced that the leader should be male.
    There are no easy answers but greater support and mentoring from women and men, greater media coverage, more support at home from male spouses and partners of women coaches, education about homophobia, pay equity, and more research (see Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport initiatives) are all part of the solution. We still have a lot of work to do. Onward! Congrats to Coach Dawn Staley and the University of South Carolina coaches and team!

  2. I’m assuming you don’t know know his assistant coaches, and how he’s supported them as they move on to head coaching gigs. Or the accolades he’s showered on his associate head coach, CD? Nor do you know of his open door policy on practices for coaches across the country (talk to Cori Close). Or how Sherri Coale credits him with helping her get the job at Oklahoma…. This is a lazy rant. Coaches have NO control over the broadcasting space. That is ESPN, that is the NCAA. And since Myles died, the old white men who’ve moved in to concentrate their power and shove out change agents. What, exactly, is Anucha Brown doing? There was no high school all american game, no open practices, no media access to the WBCA All Stars, poor planning of the HOF press conference? Really, how undermining could you be? And when I look at the the Women’s Basketball Coaching Association? It has gutted itself. To my mind, there is no new leadership – and no realistic action plans, just general whining and vague commentary. No one dares to stand up and challenge the coaching family as a group. It’s just up to the individual coaches… and that’s no way to move the needle forward.

  3. I believe that my # 1 priority and objective in Coaching Women’s Basketball is to develop Female Leadership. I also believe this should be a primary objective of all of us blessed to Coach Women’s Basketball whether we were born Female or Male.

    I have for many years gone on record with the recommendation and belief that every and all open coaching job, assistant or head, at every level, should have a Female Coach be the highest priority in the hiring process. This on record statement and belief has made me very unpopular with my Male Coaching colleagues. I don’t care and tell my Male Colleagues to understand our role and what our #1 priority should be or go take advantage of yyour Male opportunity to coach both genders which Femsles in our profession do not enjoy.

    NAs someone who has been blessed to work closely with Coach Auriemma I can state unequivocally that no Male Coach understands and walks the walk every day of developing positive Femsle Leadership more than Geno Auriemma. He does so behind the scenes and neither wants or expects any acknowledgement for what he understands is his job.

    Specifically, any Coach who wants to come watch, study and observe the UConn program is welcomed with open arms. Geno speaks nationally at numerous Coaching Clinics and to as many charity events supporting Women that his schedule will allow. The National Nike Championship Clinics are constantly seeking Female Coaches to speak at their Clinics and are constantly being turned down by Female Coaches who are actually required to speak per their Nike contracts.

    In Geno has served as our WBCA Vice President, President, and Past Prsident, a six year commitment which many of our most Nationally recognized Female Coaches have and continue to turn down.

    The Center for Coaching Excellence, a fantastic educational opportunity for Women’s Basketball Coaches was created by The WBCA under Beth Bass and then Present Sherri Coale and magnificently managed and led by Dr. Diane Murphy and Columbia University. Nobody knows, nor does he want me to tell you, that the largest amount of personal financial support to see this project get off the ground and thrive was donated by Geno Auriemma, and we are not talking chump change here.

    Coaching for USA Basketball at all levels requires service. While there is publicity that goes with Coaching our Olympic Team no one can understand the time commitment required until you actually must give of your time. Geno has also spent the time to Coach USA Basketball at the younger developmental levels where there is zero publicity. Again their are numerous Female Coaches who turn down the opportunity to Coach USA Basketball at the developmental level. Everyone wants to be The Olympic Coach but not everyone wants to pay the price of time to Coach the developmental USA Teams.

    On a day to day front no one is more educated about gender discrimination in this country than Geno’s own players. There is a reason they all come back.

    One final contribution to the game. It is well and accurately documented that Women’s Athletics reciieve 2-4% .of written and electronic media coverage when compared to Men. It is not Geno Auriemma’s fault that it has required the sustained excellence of the U Conn program and winning 111 consecutive games together with multiple National Championships in order for Women’s Basketball to receive well needed and deserved media attention, though this publicity still pales in comparison to Men. Coach Auriemma also showed us this last weekend that he also knows how to teach the lesson of losing with dignity.

    I hope I have helped to educate.

  4. I have a question for Becky. Are you the same Becky Carlson who coaches at Quinnipiac? If so, maybe Becky should talk to her coaching colleague and head coach of the Quinnipiac women’ s basketball team Tricia Fabbri. This is what Tricia Fabbri recently said about Geno Auriemma:

    “Well, first of all, Geno has been such a mentor for me going way back,” she said. “He helped me in this process, get the job at Quinnipiac a long, long time ago, 22 years ago. But really just a gold standard, a great guy, and then he was so excited. He reached out as soon as we won, and so complimentary of what we were able to accomplish over the weekend.

    “The fact that he is wearing our shirt in support of our team in this tournament, at this time, just so thankful. And very grateful for his support and UConn women’s basketball’s support of Quinnipiac women’s basketball and the two teams in Connecticut representing women’s basketball in the Sweet 16.”

  5. Okay, I’m wrong. Different Becky Carlson, but the point still stands. The words of Tricia Fabbri speak to Geno’s impact and many of us had never heard that story.

  6. Hi Joan, and Helen.

    Joan, no you had the right Becky Carlson of Quinnipiac and yes, I know Coach Fabbri as she is a colleague. I had lunch with her a few weeks ago and that hasn’t changed my position.

    Helen – Thanks for your comment. Please go back and read my comment over again where I state “I am not saying that Geno can or should change this alone but his voice matters and he has pull. I have to imagine the players of the NCAA understand this better than anyone but which coaches are empowering their athletes to understand and recognize their second class citizenship, still, in 2017?”

    I’m not sure you answered my question aside form calling my posed questions a lazy rant. I don’t see the need for anyone to come to Geno’s defense as the question was posed to the coaching community and to promote a discussion. I am pleased to see that part was accomplished.

    I write many articles about the struggles for female athletes and coaches and that particular comment was off an FB thread so perhaps not as developed without that context. However, I fully expected that reaction and for people to defend Geno but I would hardly call my advocacy lazy. Perhaps just as you believe I know nothing about Geno and his contributions it’s the same of how little you know about my contributions as well. That’s ok.

    Douglas – great stuff. You have indeed given some helpful info
    As for Geno having no control over broadcasting, trust that there was no expectation for him to wave a wand and create more coverage. However, wholeheartedly disagree that like Geno, Tara, Sherri, Dawn and the late Coach Summit wouldn’t collectively be able to ramp up a formidable influence in the broadcasting space. I would like to ask do you or do you not believe if these powerful voices sent a central message to ESPN that the coverage needs to be better that it would gain media attention or start dialogue? I’m honestly asking.

    Women coaches in all sports in the spaces are tough to get talking and promoting change. I posted that to ruffle some feathers because I am tired of seeing topics posted and a slew of likes with no discussion, engagement or feedback. Looks like it worked because you actually responded so I hope we can have some meaningful dialogue and I can learn something from you and vice versa. Thanks for reading.


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