Women prevail throughout the world of sports

Back to Article
Back to Article

Women prevail throughout the world of sports

Mike Flores, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Since Title IX, the law that states that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation or denied in any education program or activity, was passed in as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, women and sports have formed an important bond.

Before Title IX, only 7 percent of students in high school sports were female, and women were only 2 percent of the college students participating in sports, according to feminist.org. Slowly but surely, though, women in sports began to grow after President Richard Nixon signed the law.

In 1981, there were 4,776 women’s sports teams in the nation, from Division I to Division III, and over 74,230 female athletes participating in college. Nearly 35 years later, in 2016-17, the number of women’s sports teams in college has grown to over 10,520 squads, and over 215,300 female athletes were recorded nationwide, according to ncaa.org.

Some of the most influential sports figures in the world happen to be female.

The last time an American tennis player won a men’s singles Grand Slam championship was back in 2003, over 15 years ago. But in that same time frame, Serena Williams, one of the greatest female tennis athletes ever, has won 15 singles Grand Slam titles, nine doubles Grand Slams and has four Olympic gold medals.

Mia Hamm, a legendary U.S. women’s soccer player from 1987 to 2004, scored 159 career goals, was named the Women’s FIFA World Player of the Year the first two years the award was given, and until 2013 Hamm held the record for most international goals scored by both men and women. She also led USA to two World Cup championships, five Gold Cup championships, and two Olympic titles.

The U.S. men’s soccer team has never won the World Cup or the Confederations Cup or even the Copa America title.

Another is American race car driver Danica Patrick, who is known as the most successful woman in the history of NASCAR racing. She’s not only been a pioneer to the sport, but she has proven that she can compete and even win against men in the sport.

Patrick is the only woman to ever lead in the Indianapolis 500, and is also the first female NASCAR driver to ever win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pole, winning the Indy Japan 300 in 2008 to make her the first and only female to ever win an Indy Car Series Race.

However, not only have female athletes shown the ability to succeed when given equal opportunities, many other women in sports have flourished as sports reporters, anchors, coaches and in many other positions.

Since 2004, Kelli Masters, a graduate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, began her career in sports law and started representing Olympians with her own agency, Kelli Masters Management.

In 2010, Masters made history by becoming the first female to represent a first-round pick with Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who became the No. 3 overall selection in the NFL draft. Fast forward to today, and Masters is still hard at work, as she now represents 24 athletes.

Although women in sports media still don’t get the recognition or respect they deserve at times, one of the most well-known and best voices in all of sports has had an influence on women all around, who dream of working in the media—current Fox Sports reporter and former ESPN reporter Erin Andrews.

During her entire career, Andrews has been one of the best at her job, but critics will still say she’s only where she’s at because of her beauty—which is a criteria many women still face in 2018. But just like every other female in media, Andrews is much more than just a pretty face.

Andrews’ influence on women in sports media is unmatched; she set the standard for many young women wanting to do what she does.

Andrews is a sideline reporter for the NFL on Fox, a contributor for “Good Morning America” and was previously the co-host of “College GameDay” on ESPN. She also hosts ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Out of all the coaches in sports, the most successful coach in all of college sports is arguably Pat Summit, Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach from 1974 to 2012 before she passed away. When Summit retired, her 1,098 career wins were the most in college basketball history between both men and women coaches.

In her career, she won eight national titles—a record when she retired. Summit was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century. And in 2009, she was placed in the top 12 on the list of greatest coaches of all time in sports by Sporting News.

Needless to say, Summit became one of the greatest coaches in history.

In El Paso, women in sports have also made their influence on the city.

From 2001 to 2016, UTEP women’s basketball was home to one of the finest coaches in the nation with Keitha Adams. At UTEP, Adams went 284-209 (UTEP’s all-time winner) and is responsible for most of the success the program has experienced. Adams led UTEP to all four postseason bids—two in the NCAA tournament (2008 and 2012) and two appearances in the WNIT (2014 and 2016).

Adams coached UTEP to 29 or more wins three times before she left to Wichita State in 2017. Only nine other programs had accomplished that success. She is also the only three-time Conference USA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year.

While the men’s basketball team has the history, the UTEP women’s basketball team is the one that has tasted the most recent success in the past eight years, where Adams was the main component.

In the three major professional sports—football, basketball and baseball—there has yet to be a female head coach. The stereotype that women can’t lead men as a coach will come to an end sooner rather than later.

One of the greatest sports dynasties of the 2000s, the San Antonio Spurs, who have won five NBA championships, have had a woman as their assistant coach since 2014, Becky Hammon.

Hammon, the second female assistant coach, but first full-timer, also became the first female head coach at the Summer League for the Spurs. In that 2014 Summer League season, she led the Spurs to a title against all men coaches.

She recently was scouted for the head coaching job for the Colorado State Rams men’s basketball job, but turned it down.

I am convinced that once legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich calls it quits, the reins to the Spurs will be handed over to Hammon.

It may take some time, but within the next 10 to 15 years, I expect women in sports to keep growing. I expect women’s teams to be aired more nationally, for there to be more opportunities for female coaches and for female reporters to get the respect they deserve.

Follow Mike Flores on Twitter @mikey__flores

Print Friendly, PDF & Email