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Muffet McGraw Wants to Know: Where Have All the Female Coaches Gone?

A Notre Dame icon questions the decline in female coaches in women’s sports.

The rhetorical question of “Why aren’t there more women in power?” was posed definitively and unabashedly, recently, and it wasn’t in reference to the run for the White House.

It happened during the first week in April, in the middle of college basketball March Madness. The inquiry came from renowned head coach of the Notre Dame women’s team, Muffet McGraw. She was responding to questions about an article on women in basketball, where she had dropped the remark that she would not hire another man for her coaching staff.

You would have thought that question about women in power was a nuclear bomb.

The video went viral. Yes, there were responses calling her out for discriminating and excluding men, but that’s not the message that was heard by the 75,000-plus people who liked it on Twitter. Because McGraw spoke the truth. The number of female coaches has plunged: In 1972, when Title IX was passed, 90 percent of the coaches in women’s college sports were female. Today, it’s 41.5 percent.

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A Call for Change

Muffet McGraw Calls for a Moratorium On Hiring Male Basketball Coaches | NextTribe

Muffet McGraw doing her thing. Image: @truenorthsports/Instagram

McGraw, 63, has an impressive record with 900 career wins and two National Championship titles, and she’s led her players to the Final Fours repeatedly.

During her on-camera interview, McGraw underscored serial gender inequities. In doing so, she pulled a lot of threads.

“Men run the world. Men have the power. Men make the decisions,” she said.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could teach [girls] to watch how women lead?

McGraw gave a primer on the Equal Rights Amendment, the stats on the number of seats held in Congress by women, the dearth of women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies, and much more.

“I’m getting tired of the novelty of the first female governor of this state, the first female African American mayor of this city.” She reflected, “When is it going to become the norm instead of the exception?”

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Her top conclusion was that there weren’t enough “visible women leaders” or “female role models.”

Reflecting on the “millions of girls that play sports across the country,” McGraw noted, “We’re teaching them great things about life skills, but wouldn’t it be great if we could teach them to watch how women lead?” Amen!

What do you think of her call for a moratorium on hiring male coaches? Tell us in the comments.

By Marcia G. Yerman


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