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

Published on October 7th, 2019

New York, NY (September 10, 2019) – The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) announced today its inaugural class of grant recipients to receive support from its new Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching. A total of $200,000 has been awarded to 10 universities and colleges to support a female coach on the rise, assisting with living expenses, professional development and mentorship. The awarded schools hail from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, II and III, as well as schools from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The institutions will use funding to support coaching fellows across a myriad of women’s sports including field hockey, wrestling, basketball and volleyball, as well as softball and strength and conditioning.

WSF created the VanDerveer Fund to directly address the alarming decline of women in coaching. In the 1970-71 academic year, 90% of all head coaches for women’s college teams were women. By 2017, 45 years after the passage of Title IX, women’s share of these positions in women’s NCAA sports had dropped to 40%. While women’s representation as head and assistant coaches of women’s sports can vary by sport, this under-representation is systemic and cannot be attributed to just one sport or division. Furthermore, women of color are particularly under-represented in the coaching ranks, making up just 5.6% of head coaches of women’s sports, and only 3.5% of all head coaches, men’s and women’s teams. [As reported by NCAA in 2017.]

“The lack of female coaches is so alarmingly evident across all levels of education – from youth sports to high school and to the collegiate and professional levels,” said WSF CEO, Deborah Antoine. “A coach is often one of the most important adults in a young person’s life, outside of their family, and the lack of female coaches and mentors has far-reaching consequences for the development of girls. Our Foundation felt it imperative to address this head-on, and who better to honor than the extraordinary Tara VanDerveer.”

Inspired by legendary Stanford University women’s basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, WSF designed the Fund to honor her legacy by providing schools with the opportunity to create fellowships for aspiring female collegiate coaches, giving them the support needed to jumpstart their careers. The fellowships will emphasize hands-on training and mentorship with established collegiate coaches as well as professional development and networking in order to identify paths to advancement.

“I’m thrilled for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s launch of this inaugural class of female coaching fellows,” said Tara VanDerveer, head coach of women’s basketball at Stanford University. “I’ve seen a lot of positives over my career in advancing women in sport, but the continued decline of female coaches is concerning. This program is a powerful way we can help reverse this trend. Providing avenues for women to pursue coaching is something that is very important to me and I am deeply honored that the WSF chose to set up this fellowship program in my name. I am excited to see the impact it will have on empowering tomorrow’s leaders.”

Full list of 2019 recipients:

Bryn Mawr College, Strength and Conditioning

Carroll College, Basketball

California State University, San Bernardino, Volleyball

Life University, Wrestling

Moravian College, Basketball

Saint Anselm College, Field Hockey

University of California, Merced, Basketball

Villanova University, Softball

Wellesley College, Volleyball

Williams College, Softball

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

#  #  #

About The Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation is a powerful voice, catalyst and convener dedicated to ensuring all girls and women have equal access to sports and physical activity and the tremendous life-long benefits they provide. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we seek to strengthen and expand opportunities for all girls and women to participate in all sports at all levels through research, advocacy, community impact and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and has positively shaped the lives of more than 3 million youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes. To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org, or follow us at @WomensSportsFdn on Twitter, @womenssportsfoundation on Instagram and at www.facebook.com/WomensSportsFoundation.

Media Contact:

Patty Bifulco
Women’s Sports Foundation