I’ve always pondered why it’s acceptable for male coaches to coach women at the college and professional levels but it’s not as acceptable for women to coach men at those levels. Although it’s not abnormal to see a woman coaching Amateur Athletic Union or high school boys, it’s still rare. San Antonio Spurs’ Becky Hammon is the first full-time paid woman assistant in the NBA – which is a crack at the glass ceiling – but I look forward to the day when it becomes normal for women to be the head coaches of college and professional men’s basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. I think since sports such as basketball, baseball and football are contact sports, they are stereotyped as needing a man to be in control and call the shots. There’s a little more lead way with Olympic-style sports such as track and field, swimming and tennis for women to get away with being head coaches, partly because these are a mix of individual and team sports and they’re more graceful. On the other hand, I don’t understand why people would throw tantrums over the thought of a woman coaching a masculine sport like football, but men coach feminine sports like volleyball and gymnastics, and it’s acceptable.
But, women shouldn’t get head coaching jobs to meet a status quo or to be a token. They should get the jobs because they know what they’re doing and they know how to win. The perfect example of a woman being used as a token is in the 1996 film “Eddie” starring Whoopie Goldberg. Eddie Franklin is a die-hard Knicks fan who coaches little-league, boys basketball. She attends every Knicks home game and one night, she has the chance to make a free-throw to be the honorary coach. She steals the crowd with her personality and passion, and the team owner makes her the head coach to be a marketing tool to sell tickets. The plan works and fans come out to see Eddie make a spectacle of herself, because a woman coaching NBA players has to be a joke, right? Little do the fans, players, team owner and other coaches know, Eddie can actually coach and she leads the team to a winning season. Even though I encourage you all to watch the film in its entirety, here’s a quick clip.