News / USA

WNBA is Woman’s World, Guided by Men

Half of women's basketball league coaches are men

The Los Angeles women’s pro team’s newest coach - and the 6th out of 12 male team bosses - is Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant.
The Los Angeles women’s pro team’s newest coach - and the 6th out of 12 male team bosses - is Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant.

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Ted Landphair

“We Got Game.”

That’s what the Women’s National Basketball Association - or WNBA - promised when the league was formed in 1996.

It set out to prove that women play an exciting, team-oriented game - albeit with fewer egocentric chest thumps and high-flying dunks of the basketball than muscular male players deliver.

The WNBA has survived with little television exposure into its 15th summer, thanks to extensive financial help from the male professional league and solid attendance in a few of its markets.

Other cities have not embraced the women’s game so well, however, and several WNBA franchises have folded over the years.

Donna Orender, who retired as WNBA commissioner after last season, said the best available coaches should be hired, period.
Donna Orender, who retired as WNBA commissioner after last season, said the best available coaches should be hired, period.

While the women’s pro game has been especially attractive to female fans - and an inspiration to female players who finally have a place to make a living at the sport - it has also drawn many male spectators, who say they appreciate unselfish play.

But an irritant for some in the league is that half of the 12 WNBA head coaches are men.  Already this year, the Los Angeles Sparks franchise fired its woman head coach and replaced her with a man - the father of Kobe Bryant, the superstar guard of the L.A. Lakers men’s basketball team.

Some of these coaches are former professional players who are using the women’s league as an entrée to coaching.  Others are retreads, having been fired from men’s pro or college teams. They all say they love directing hard-working female players.

One sign that the WNBA may finally have 'arrived' as a sports fixture: last year’s champions were featured on a Wheaties cereal box.
One sign that the WNBA may finally have 'arrived' as a sports fixture: last year’s champions were featured on a Wheaties cereal box.

And what do women WNBA coaches think?  

“There are a lot of great women’s coaches who haven’t gotten a chance,” Anne Donovan told the Washington Times newspaper a few years ago when she coached the Seattle Storm.  She was replaced by a man, moved to the New York Liberty team, left for a college job, and was succeeded by yet another male head coach.

League presidents, who have always been women, are appointed by the male National Basketball Association’s commissioner.  

No woman has ever coached a men’s NBA team or a top-level men’s college team. So it’s a sore point for some that a majority of the coaches of women who “got game” - and more than one-third of women’s college teams - have deep voices, facial hair and, in quite a few cases, receding hairlines.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid