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Attacks on women's hockey coach as ludicrous as diminishing John Wooden and Red Auerbach

Some fans, and even the radio announcer for the UMD men's hockey team, are saying women's hockey national titles and sports victories by these women aren't as impressive as the men. The school's actions reflect this attitude.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

When we posted a column by Pat Griffin about the "war on female coaches," some people didn't take kindly to it. Griffin was responding in part to the announcement that the Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth would not retain their head women's hockey coach, Shannon Miller, largely (the school claimed) due to cost.

Miller has been a wildly successful coach for the Bulldogs, winning five national championships and posting yet another winning record with the team this year, despite her looming dismissal.

That dismissal, coupled with Miller's clear success, prompted some people on Twitter to speculate that the five national championships Miller has won at UMD aren't as meaningful or "impressive" as the one title won by the men.

I kid you not:

UMD impressive

UMD parity

Bruce Ciskie, the radio play-by-play man for UMD men's hockey, said he wouldn't "go all the way there" in response to the assertion. He contributed his own analysis as to why the success of the men's coach is equal to or greater than that of the women's coach despite fewer victories and national titles:

UMD Bruce

UMD Bruce chat

By the same arguments that these men are making, John Wooden was not nearly the coach that Roy Williams is. Wooden's 10 national championships are more than the next two men - Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp - combined. Yet Wooden's titles all came in the 1960s and '70s, still the nascent years of big-time college basketball. Roy Williams? He's won only two, but all of them in the last decades. Williams is clearly Wooden's coaching equal, if not his superior, right?

The Boston Celtics don't really have the record for NBA titles. By count the Celtics have 17 and the Los Angeles Lakers (formerly of Minneapolis) have 16. Yet 11 of the Celtics' titles - mostly under coach Red Auerbach - came before 1970; 11 of the Lakers' titles have come since 1970. So the real NBA championship record-holder is the Lakers! Heck, the Celtics' 17 titles is essentially just six, tied for second with the Chicago Bulls, right?

In 1989 the NFL implemented the first policies of free agency. That has made it a lot harder to win Super Bowls. So I guess we can just scrap the Super Bowl titles before that, making the New England Patriots the all-time Super Bowl champions with four titles! Since it's gotten so much harder to win in the NFL, their four titles easily eclipse the four won by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s. The Jets, Chiefs, Colts and Raiders have never won a real Super Bowl, right?

Then there's this claim that came from one of the men:

UMD chat hockey

How "much more recent" was the men's title? Well let's see. That was 2011. The most recent women's title? 2010. One season. Of course, to this Minnesota hockey anointed expert, the last two or three women's titles probably didn't even count, since they're not equal to UMD's lone men's title.

And how much better have the men been, since the "women's play hasn't been as good recently"? Well this year the men's record is .609 and the women - well look at that - are .621. Last year the men were .500, and last year the women were, you guessed it, .500.

So when the women win more games or have an equal record, their "play" is deemed as not good compared to the men.

"It takes the same work and effort and leadership and coaching to get to a national championship in both programs," said Helen Carroll, who was the head coach of the UNC-Asheville women's basketball team when they won the national championship in 1984. Carroll is now the director of the Homophobia in Sports Project of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "You can't devalue the women's program, because they have done it five times."

While this all may seem like a joke, these two men are simply saying what's in the minds of administrators at the Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth and so many other male sports fans across the country.

Miller, who has won five national titles, had a salary this season of $215k. The men's coach, with his one national championship, earned more: $235k. Breaking down their salaries by national championship, to the Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth a women's national championship is worth $43k. A men's national title is worth $235k. That's math, people.

Even though it was just a couple hockey fans and the UMD's hockey announcer putting out the idea that a women's title isn't worth the same as a men's title, people at the school - along with so many in our society - are sending the message loud and clear that they agree.