Friday, February 15, 2008

Another Thing in Common

Fresno State and Florida Gulf Coast University have been compared for evoking similar claims of widespread sex discrimination in their athletic departments. So it is worth noting another thing they have in common. They both hired female head coaches this week.

Fresno State announced that it has hired Lauren Netherby-Sewell, formerly of Hofstra, as its new volleyball coach. The other two finalists for the position were men. Netherby-Sewell succeeds Ruben Nieves, who went 18-71 in three seasons after taking over for Lindy Vivas in 2005. This brings the total number of female head coaches at Fresno State to four (out of fourteen): Margie Wright (softball), Becky Malmo (equestrian), and Angie Cates (golf).

On the other coast, FGCU announced that Jennifer Magley, a woman of color currently serving as an assistant coach at Wichita State, would be new head coach of it women's tennis team. She takes the reigns from Webb Horton, the men's tennis coach, who had doubled as the interim women's team coach for the last two seasons. Also, it has hired LPGA veteran Terry Jo Myers to coach the men's and women's golf team. She replaces former women's golf coach Holly Vaughn, who "resigned" last fall, and men's golf coach Jim Suttie, who will "remain with the program and provide instruction." With these new hires, FGCU now has two female head coaches (not counting Carry Lundy, who is serving as the interim women's volleyball coach in the wake of Jaye Flood's termination) out of 12.

Hopefully, with these new hires, both universities are on the way to establishing a critical mass of female head coaches in their respective athletic departments. This would be a step in the right direction if these univerities want to mitigate and move beyond the hostile and retaliatory environments that female coaches have been subjected to, or allegedly subjectly to (in FGCU's case), there.