Mircea Handru is an assistant soccer coach at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio. A native of Romania, he’s played, coached and referred youth, collegiate and semi-professional soccer. He’s been actively involved in youth sports and part of the Ohio North Olympic Developmental Staff.
Dean Jackson is the sports information director at Trine University in Angola, Indiana. With more than 20 years experience as writer and broadcaster he’s covered thousands of live events in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Keiana Mitchell in addition to success as a youth and high school player was a four year soccer player at Ohio State. She also was named to the Big Ten academic all-conference team and was an OSU Scholar-Athlete. Additionally she has coached more than 150 female soccer players and has served as an intern at the Women’s Sports Foundation and the University of Minnesota.
Alexander Scott is an Information Technology consultant working largely with non-profit organizations around Washington D.C. He’s also a personal trainer and a strength coach. He has extensive experience in coaching youth sports. He is married with four children.
Trine University commissioned MKDA to investigate the gender diversity of their coaching staff and to determine a appropriate response to their concern. The board of trustees is concerned that the ratio of female head coaches to male coaches should be more reflective of society and proactively be more reflective of Title IX regulations.
Trine has expressed a commitment to become a leader in gender equality in Division III athletics
Trine is compliant legally and attitudinally to field teams that adhere to the spirit of Title IX legislation.
MKDA Consultants provided two different surveys to gather information about gender equity and related topics of the subject between the male and female coaches.
The first survey was directed and available towards female players only (high school seniors that are looking to continue their sport and academic career at a university, current college players, and ex-college players).
The second survey was directed and available towards athletic faculty members who included head coaches, assistant coaches, administrators, and athletic trainers who work in college athletics. Both surveys were 100% confidential.
Regina Sullivan is completing her ninth year at the University of Minnesota as
Senior Associate Athletics Director. She is the primary sport administrator and
the Senior Woman Administrator. She works with the Faculty Athletics Oversight
Committee for Intercollegiate Athletics (FAOCIA) and is on the Advisory Committee
on Athletics (ACA) Subcommittee for Equity and Diversity.
MKDA: Do you feel that male and female coaches are treated equally and have the same opportunities to be respected by players, other coaches, and administrators in the athletic department? Sullivan: I believe that we have made a lot of progress over the years in respect to the opportunities women have over the years. However, there is still a much higher predominance in male to female coaches. Male coaches are being paid on a different salary, players and parents believe that male coaches will do a better job, and female coaches are often portrayed as being too aggressive.
MKDA: What do you think college athletic departments can do to increase diversity in the athletic department?
Sullivan: I believe that in the hiring search you have to be more proactive. Here at Minnesota we try to make contact with a number of women and minorities in addition to the regular hiring process. Also, we need to encourage women to apply for jobs since statistics show that they self-select themselves out of positions.
MKDA : Do you have any other suggestions on how to improve upon equality in the athletic department?
Sullivan : I think it is important to hire women as assistant coaches so that they have the opportunity to work under successful coaches and programs. It is also very important during the hiring process to see the potential in a candidate and to not always equivocate what is on paper to the success of a hiring candidate.
Short term: Trine should be in a continual process of building a network to link to and attract the top coaches, male or female in all sports.
Mid Range: Trine needs to explore ways to build coaches internally. Develop a training system that encourages and empowers current assistant coaches and promising athletes to be coaches. This would include the development of a mentorship program.
Long Term: Develop a strong Senior Women’s Administrator position that champions women’s issues. This position must provide vision, leadership and motivation to provide strong direction to these initiatives