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February 17, 2007 4:27 AM   Subscribe

Are there any openly lesbian women's basketball coaches in the NCAA?
posted by 10ch to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Currently coaching? No.

Openly lesbian fans, like me, do have an information grapevine about who is (or who might be) gay. It's widely known that a number of couples are coaching together. A recent story by Mechelle Voepel (ESPN.com and Kansas City Star) came close to stating that the Kansas State coaches are partners.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:53 AM on February 17, 2007


I'm at Kansas State, and a once-rabid fan of our women's team. It is pretty commonly accepted across campus that our head & assistant coach are partners, but it's far, far from open. The assistant coach's choosing to remain as an asst in the face of numerous overtures over the last decade from programs looking for a head coach is pretty telling. What's most unfortunate is that if they are indeed partners, they're also horrible hypocrites, or horrifically in denial, because the head coach has been accused numerous times of wielding her religion like a club over players and staff who aren't Christian enough for her tastes.
posted by donnagirl at 7:59 AM on February 17, 2007


There are layers of knowledge about lesbians who are coaches. After 20 years of fandom, I assume a coach is gay if her official bio gives no personal information, or just reads "She resides in X." (Married coaches' bios go on and on about hubby and kids, by the way. No doubts about the heterosexuals.)

I've seen K-State's head coach called "Deb I'm-too-Christian-to-be-gay Patterson." She's pathetic!
posted by Carol Anne at 8:27 AM on February 17, 2007


That's my problem exactly. I know that there are lesbian coaches (and players) in my neck of the woods, too. But they aren't out (some go even so far as to get married) and many discourage their lesbian players from being out.

It's enraging and heartbreaking and did-I-mention enraging?

Not to mention what the stands would look like if lesbians didn't support these teams. The turn out is better than any dyke bar I've ever been to.
posted by 10ch at 8:41 AM on February 17, 2007


I love college women's basketball. I adore any number of players and coaches. But, as a self-respecting lesbian, I'm horrified at the deep, deep closets so many athletic women live in.

It's a merry-go-round. The coach wants to protect herself and her program, the players want to protect the coach and themselves, the administration doesn't even want to think about it, and the fans range from clueless to knowing it all. Somebody, somewhere has to break free and come out while she's playing or while she's coaching.

Emily Niemann, a former Baylor University player, did come out in a wonderful USA Today story this week. Unfortunately, Tim Hardaway's homophobia drew vastly greater attention.
posted by Carol Anne at 9:01 AM on February 17, 2007


NCAA coaches spend as much time recruiting players as they do actually coaching players. These players (and their influential parents) come from all walks of life. So there's a disincentive to bring sexuality (of all kinds) into the mix and muddy the recruiting waters.

I'm a male parent of a basketball-playing daughter. I truthfully couldn't care less about her coach's sexuality. But I would take a hard look at a recruiting coach that took the time to deliberately make details about her sexuality public.

"Yep, I'm gay. Come play on my team."
"Are you a good coach?"
"Yes. And did I mention that I was gay?"
"What kind of coaching qualifications do you have?"
"We won our conference last year. And I'm gay."

But hey, maybe that actually works for them in recruiting, I don't know. ;-)

Replace "gay" with "Christian" or "Martian" or anything else in my exaggerated dialog above, and I'd probably have the same kind of reaction. "What does your being a Martian have to do with basketball, exactly?"
posted by frogan at 3:17 PM on February 17, 2007


frogan: Don't worry, no lesbian coach is ever going to out herself to you and your daughter.

But some heterosexual coaches will point the finger at competing gay coaches. I assume you are aware of Rene Portland's behavior at Penn State? If not, Women's Hoops Blog has the story.
posted by Carol Anne at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2007


frogan,true but I think that's kind of a strawman. Hetero coaches don't do that by saying they're married on their bio webpages, do they?
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:16 PM on February 17, 2007


Re: Emily Neimann. Wow! Thanks for the link to that story. But, maybe not a great idea to marry your first-ever gf when you're 21? Nice that she has the chance to, and an excellent idea to move to Mass; here's hoping it works out.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:30 PM on February 17, 2007


frogan,true but I think that's kind of a strawman. Hetero coaches don't do that by saying they're married on their bio webpages, do they?

I was just pointing out that NCAA recruiting is intense competition, and a gay coach may elect to remain semi-closeted in order to simply keep the issue off the table. They could be happily out (or not) to family and friends but deliberately take the "don't ask, don't tell" approach when it comes to their professional life, out of fear they'll lose out on recruiting the girl with the sweet jump shot and the nutcase parents.

Some may call it heartbreaking. And it is. But it could also just be the result of a competitive, savvy coach that doesn't want to let those nutcase parents prevent them from having the best team on the floor.
posted by frogan at 6:20 PM on February 17, 2007


Hetero coaches don't do that by saying they're married on their bio webpages, do they?

Oh, and I'd point out that the hetero coaches might very well be putting their families front-and-center to create the recruiting illusion that the team will be an extension of "this happy family you see right here on this media guide. See, you should give your daughter to me, I'll take care of her as if she was my own. You don't want to go to State U ... look how warm and loving we are here at Big Name U."
posted by frogan at 6:25 PM on February 17, 2007


Compare:
Replace "gay" with "Christian" or "Martian" or anything else in my exaggerated dialog above, and I'd probably have the same kind of reaction. "What does your being a Martian have to do with basketball, exactly?"
and
the hetero coaches might very well be putting their families front-and-center to create the recruiting illusion that the team will be an extension of "this happy family ..."

Well, I think the second point you make is exactly right. I'm quite sure that's why they stay closeted. (That is, I think it explains exactly why the "What does your personal life have to do with basketball" attitude suggested by your first point is disingenuous. In recruiting, a coach's personal life is taken to be relevant to basketball.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:17 PM on February 17, 2007


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