It's a small sorority, only a handful strong. But the number of women coaching high school football increased by one two weeks ago when Natalie Randolph was named the head football coach of a high school team in Washington D.C. It brought to mind a question I remember asking some fraternity brothers of mine who were on the Stanford football team in 1994: When will we see the first female head coach of a Div. 1 football team? Their unanimous answer: Never.
I remembered that when I stumbled across an online column today lamenting the loss the boys of her team will allegedly feel because their head coach is not a man.
If coaching was merely a technical process where an expert (the coach) taught certain game-specific skills to players, the gender issue might not matter. But coaching is more than that. Coaches–I mean the best kind of coaches–teach far more than the game. They provide an example to their players of strength, character, and grace under pressure. In the process, a good high school coach teaches boys how to be men. He can address them as men and encourage, cajole, and push them to behave in a way befitting men.
Of course, what comes to mind is whether the same argument would be made by some if the head coach was a gay man. My guess is it would.
Do you think women should be kept from coaching football? Do the women of UConn basketball lose something because they're coached by a man? And do gay coaches face the same potential criticism if they come out of the closet?