Percentage of Female NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches by Conference
By Aseem Rastogi and Keith Geswein
Earlier this year, Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said that she would only hire female assistant coaches. Since the ratio of female to male coaches has been an ongoing discussion in women’s basketball, we decided to look at the data to better understand the full picture.
Based on our thorough analysis of each NCAA Division I women’s basketball coaching staff,* we found that 63% of head coaches are female. The percentage of female head coaches has increased slightly each year since the 2015–16 season.
We have broken down these numbers for all 32 conferences. None of them have all female head coaches, but five are close.
The Missouri Valley Conference, Southern Conference, Northeast Conference, America East Conference, and Ivy League have only one team with a male head coach. Every other conference has at least two male head coaches.
We also analyzed the data for the traditional power conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, AAC, and Big East) and found that 62% of head coaches in those conferences are female. However, if you exclude the Big East (where 2 of 10 head coaches are female), that percentage jumps to 68%.
We saw a wide range of percentages when we looked at all the conferences together. The MVC and NEC have the highest percentage of female head coaches (90%), while the Big East has the lowest (20%).
As you look at this data, keep in mind that there are no female head coaches at any level of NCAA men’s basketball.
We also analyzed numbers for assistant coaches and found that 67% of assistants are female. The Horizon League has the highest percentage of female assistants (83%) while the SWAC has the lowest (43%).
There are a few important notes about the five conferences with only one male head coach:
- Since the Missouri Valley Conference and Northeast Conference have 10 teams and nine female head coaches, that gives them the highest percentage. The America East Conference has a slightly lower percentage of female head coaches because it has nine teams.
- The Ivy League and Southern Conference currently have one team with a male head coach. However, they also have one team without a coach. Princeton is looking for a new head coach after Courtney Banghart accepted the head coaching job at North Carolina on April 30. In the Southern Conference, Western Carolina has a head coaching vacancy to fill as well. So, depending on who those schools hire, the Ivy League and Southern Conference may soon have more than one male coach.
There were some interesting facts as we looked at this data:
- Three conferences have the same number of male and female head coaches. The Big 12 and West Coast Conference each have five female and five male head coaches. The Ohio Valley Conference has six head coaches who are female and six who are male.
- Five conferences have more male head coaches than female. Those are the Atlantic Sun, Big East, Horizon, MEAC, & Summit.
- The Atlantic 10 and SWAC are the only conferences with more male assistant coaches than female assistants.
- Out of 351 teams, 44 have a female head coach and three female assistant coaches. That means 12.5% of teams have all-female coaching staffs. (There are some teams that currently have less than three assistants. As these teams fill those positions, this number will change.)
Here are the numbers for each conference.
We will be keeping an eye on these conferences to see if one of them will have all female head coaches in the next few years.
* This information was compiled between April 20 and 30, 2019. We used information about the coaching staff that was available on each school’s official women’s basketball page. To verify that those lists were up to date, we also checked recent news stories on each school’s WBB page and each school’s official WBB Twitter feed.