POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Loyola University Maryland assistant volleyball coach Kristen Baker attended the Women's Coaches Leadership Forum, presented by the Alliance of Women Coaches, earlier this week.
The Alliance of Women Coaches in partnership with the America East Conference, NortheastConference, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and Patriot League hosted the one-day educational and networking workshop on Tuesday, May 17, at Marist College
With the assistance of funding from the NCAA Office of Inclusion, the Alliance partnered with conference offices to host regional events for women coaches. Workshops were piloted in 2015 in New Jersey with the Big East Conference and in California with the Big West and West CoastConferences. After receiving positive feedback from WCC commissioner Lynn Holzman, Northeast Conference commissioner Noreen Morris felt strongly about offering this development opportunity for her coaches and administrators in the northeast region of the country and was able to collaborate with her fellow colleagues Amy Huchthausen, America East commissioner; Jennifer Heppel, Patriot league executive director, and Jessica Hegmann, MAAC senior associate commissioner in structuring the format for the Leadership Forum.
"When the NEC (Senior Women Administrators) originally discussed the need to provide more professional development for our younger female coaches, I don't think any of us envisioned this level of success! The comprehensive forum far exceeded our expectations with over 100 and 22 presenters from within the four host conferences," said Morris. "It's our hope that events like this hosted throughout the country will help increase the number of female head and assistant coaches at the collegiate level."
With over 100 coaches and administrators in attendance, the Forum sold-out in a matter of weeks and had a waiting list of over 40 coaches wanting to attend. The event featured panels consisting of coaches and athletic administrators, as well as networking and breakout sessions.
"We know from experience that women coaches are looking for three things: information beyond the X's and O's, inspiration to keep them fired-up, and connections with female coaches across sports, across divisions, and across the nation. Our one-day workshops provide all three elements in an environment that is upbeat and fun," said Alliance executive director MarleneBjornsrud.
"The NCAA Office of Inclusion commends the Alliance of Women Coaches and the leadership of the America East, MAAC, NEC, and Patriot League for joining together to provide a transformational learning and networking experience for women coaches. These types of partnerships and quality programming are significant for supporting women to persist in and to be successful in coaching and mentoring student-athletes," said Amy Wilson, the NCAA's director of inclusion.
Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, women coaches, especially at the NCAA Division I level, have plummeted from over 90% women coaching women's teams to 42%. Patrick Elliott,Binghamton's director of athletics and panelist said, "Providing a forum to support development and growth opportunities for female coaches is extremely important in college athletics. I appreciated interacting with many talented aspiring female coaches, and thank the four sponsoring conferences for the opportunity to share in the day."
The Alliance provides educational opportunities and resources to support and retain women in the coaching profession.