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Loss of coaches? contracts about more than hockey (USA)

Shannon Miller has clearly been a role model for young women, first as the coach of the Canadian national women?s hockey team that won the silver medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics and for the past 16 years as head coach for the UMD women?s Bulldogs team. No one can question her success, having brought home five national championships.

What should be questioned is the University of Minnesota Duluth?s decision not to renew the contracts of Miller and her coaching staff at the end of this season.

As I have watched the story play out in the media ? locally, regionally, nationally and internationally ? it has become clear that this is about more than hockey. People who do not really care about university sports should care about how these women are being treated and not forget the past in terms of the treatment of women in the workplace, especially in higher education and in college athletics.

When Miller leaves, there will be no woman holding the position of head coach for a women?s team? in the Western Collegiate Hockey? Association. Only men will hold these jobs.

When was the last time you heard of a? successful male coach losing his job because he made too much money? Or not having his contract renewed in the middle of a season after winning 12 of his past 13 games? It makes no sense, and the bad press that has followed certainly is not going to help recruit students to UMD.

The recent suspension of UMD for inclusion in this year?s campus pride rankings for top-ranked gay-friendly colleges does not help either, especially when UMD had made the list the past two years.

Yes, this decision by UMD is about much more than hockey.

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