2020 Class of Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching Grants Awarded by the Women’s Sports Foundation

Published on September 10th, 2020

New York, NY (September 10, 2020) — The Women’s Sports Foundation today announced the second class of recipients for its Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching. Named for legendary Stanford University women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, the fund will provide a total of $200,000 to 10 colleges and universities across the country, spanning the three NCAA divisions. The funding will be used to support coaching fellowships during the 2020–21 academic year for women in a variety of sports as well as strength and conditioning.

WSF began awarding grants from the VanDerveer Fund in 2019 to address the lack of women in coaching positions at all levels of sport. Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, the percentage of women in head coaching roles for women’s NCAA sports has steadily declined from 90% in 1970–71 to 41% in 2019. Black women are particularly underrepresented, comprising a mere 3% of all NCAA women’s head coaching positions. This underrepresentation is systemic and cannot be attributed to just one sport or division. With the fellowships created through the VanDerveer Fund, WSF aims to create a pipeline that will give women the mentorship and experience needed to pursue a career in coaching.

Fellows hired by the educational institutions that receive a grant from the VanDerveer Fund are given mentorship from an established collegiate coach, as well as hands-on training and professional development opportunities. Through these transformational experiences, aspiring women coaches are able to jumpstart their careers and contribute to growing representation of women in the coaching space.

“We are so inspired by the great work that our VanDerveer Fellows have done within their respective institutions, and we are excited to continue supporting talented young women in the coaching pipeline,” said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “Coaches play such an important part in young people’s lives and development, and it is imperative that girls in sports have strong women role models to look up to. WSF is proud to honor Tara VanDerveer’s legacy with these impactful grants.”

The collegiate sports landscape has changed drastically this year due to COVID-19, with many institutions postponing seasons, canceling competitions, and shifting to virtual training. Undaunted, the inaugural WSF VanDerveer Fellows class of 2019-20 used these unique circumstances as an opportunity to learn and develop their coaching skills. Fellows were involved with everything from one-on-one training sessions via Zoom to developing at-home strength training programs for athletes without access to a gym. Members of this year’s class of 2020-21 will build on those examples of creativity and flexibility. Some will also have the opportunity to run practices and work with athletes in-person, as protocols allow, even if their teams are not participating in intercollegiate competition, as a result of canceled competition.

Though the VanDerveer Fund is still relatively new, it is already having a lasting impact. All 10 of the inaugural Fellows class of 2019-20 plan to continue building a future in sports. Eight of the fellows intend to continue their coaching careers, and several will retain the positions they held as WSF VanDerveer Fellows. Others plan to expand beyond the coaching space, pursuing careers in elite athletics and sports media.

Full list of 2020 recipients:

Clark UniversitySoccer
Loyola University MarylandTrack & Field
Metropolitan State University of DenverBasketball
Mississippi Valley State UniversityBasketball
North Carolina Central UniversityGolf
Oberlin CollegeBasketball
St. Catherine UniversityStrength & Conditioning
University of California, San DiegoBasketball
University of MichiganSoftball
Wellesley CollegeVolleyball

For more information about the VanDerveer Fund, please click here.

About The Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has positively shaped the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We’re building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports. To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.

Media Contact:
Patty Bifulco
Women’s Sports Foundation