Recent developments in coaching gender equality causes Carmel to analyze its own coaching staff


HUDDLE UP: Head women’s volleyball coach, Matt Fishman, discusses strategy with his players. The women’s volleyball team is one of the many female teams at CHS with a male coach.


Recently, female coaches have been dominating headlines everywhere for attaining coaching positions on male professional sporting teams. Becky Hammon was not only hired as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, but also led them on to victory during the NBA’s Las Vegas summer league tournament. Along with Hammon, the Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter as an assistant coaching intern during the preseason, making her the first female coach in the NFL. In addition to the NBA and NFL, men’s tennis and the NHL have also seen women coaches joining their organizations.

Despite these national advances in gender equality in coaching, at CHS, five out of 21 varsity head coaches are female and they all coach female teams. According to Athletic Director Jim Inskeep, this is because few positions are available in female sports and female coaches often find it harder to stay in the profession uninterrupted by personal affairs.Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.22.28 PM

“This year, a lot of the openings we had for the school year with our athletic teams were not in female sports,” Inskeep said. He went on to explain how CHS has occasionally hired females to coach for male sports, such as the recent hiring of tennis assistant coach Casey Walker.

When hiring, Inskeep said he looks for a strong communicator  who has an understanding of the game rather than gender. “We just want to get the best person possible to work with our kids,” Inskeep said, “sometimes those happen to be female coaches and sometimes male coaches.”

Softball coach Emily Good said, “We do have both male and female interest when it comes to openings.” She explained how qualification and experience trump gender in the hiring process but she said she would like to see more women coaching.

“We have just as much passion,” said Good about female coaches, “I wouldn’t work any less than our male head coaches.”

According to cheerleader and senior Kaley Dickerson, Good isn’t the only female coach with high expectations for her team. “(Cheerleading coach Lisa Knipp) holds us to the standard of football players,”  Dickerson said, “we’re cheering for them so she’s holding us to the same standards for our competition season as well.”

Dickerson explained that practice is serious and they are held to high standard, especially since they are defending state champions in the Time Out/Game Time Division. “Just because we don’t have a guy coach to yell at us and push us around doesn’t mean that our practices aren’t just as hard,” she said.

Carly Cason, varsity volleyball player and senior, said she has found all coaches want their athletes to work hard. “Male coaches are more centered around the training and the physical aspects of games,”  Cason said. “Female coaches are more mental.”

However, Dickerson said she also has found coaches, regardless of gender, hawwwve student athletes’ best interest as a main focus. “They’re both really hardcore with getting you the skills you need,” Dickerson said.

According to Good, there are stereotypes and perceptions of being more emotional that go along with being a female coach, as strictness goes along with male coaches. “I think that if you are really passionate about your job and your performance,” Good said, “then, as a head coach, you have a little bit of both characteristics.”

Good said she can relate to her players more as a female, which, she said, some people see as a bad thing, but she said it is a positive because she can define why it might be affecting their performance.

Good also explained a coach, male or female, must differentiate between the time to sympathize with student athletes and when to be stricter. “You have to maintain that professionalism.”

“We can do some things and talk about some things that we wouldn’t be able to if there was a guy coach,” Dickerson said, “she can relate a lot more to what we’re going through.” Dickerson explained how as a female Knipp is able to understand more about what is going on with the girls on the team.

Cason said a male coach does not affect the team’s dynamic. “When we want to open up, we just put our coach in that position,” Cason said, “I don’t think, dynamically, very many things would change (with a female coach.)”

Inskeep said he does believe female coaches allow for a different experience for student athletes. “I believe it’s a huge benefit to our program,” he said. However, Inskeep also said all coaches are held to the same standard and all play for the saScreen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.22.43 PMme team, CHS.