Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lake County Is First Boys Team With a Female Coach to Win a State Title

First, congratulations to the Lake County Falcons, who this weekend won the Tennessee Class A Boys Basketball State Championship. The Falcons' victory was particularly notable because their coach, Dawn Barger, became the first woman to coach a boys basketball team to a state title.

I hesitate to make a big deal about Barger's groundbreaking victory. As a high school swimmer, my boys team had a female coach, Jan Hendricks. (She wore a Viking helmet during big meets. It was awesome.) To my knowledge, no one on the team ever thought that having a woman as a coach was an issue or was even particularly novel. When you're swimmming 10 100s on 1:15 at 5:30 in the morning before school, the sex of the coach is immaterial. Apparently, Lake County's basketball players feel the same way:

"I feel it doesn't matter whether you're male or female because a coach is a coach and she pushes us as hard as any man could," said Lake County's B.J Gauldin, a 6-foot-7 post player who had 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. "She showed us how to run better, getting up and down the court and helped us with our shots. She worked with us just like any other person would."

Some women simply have a gift for teaching and coaching boys, just as some men have a gift for teaching and coaching girls. I hope that more women will get opportunities to use that gift.

Photo by Josh Anderson, Associated Press


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