Poet Laureate

Can Women Coach Football?

If you don't know, Natalie Randolph is the football coach at Coolidge High School in D.C. Just days before practice started, her start quarterback transferred to Coolidge's rival Dunbar High School, with little or no explanation--his parents graduated from there, so what?-- and thus heaps of media attention and suspicion.

Now, I know this is a very "power-woman" friendly site, and I suspect I'm counted among the "you go girl" populace. But just the idea of Natalie Randolph and her position made me think--screw the quarterback transfer article--so I'm going to throw this question out there, and see who bites.

I'd never really thought about it, but as a Texas-seasoned football player myself, I'd think it's kind of weird to have a female football coach. Not most of the time, but memories like that time I got smacked with a football helmet in the locker room, then decided I should retaliate by throttling a safety, which started a locker room brawl... well, having the head coach there to pull everyone apart and put us in our place was pretty significant to me and the team.

There are other events too, like how my head coaches would tackle players that were being particularly brutal in practice, would really get in there and slam us when showing us how to hit and tackle. This might sound like the thin line between pederasty and violence, but, hey, it's Texas football.

So, if we could for a moment put aside that habit of thinking we call "I can do anything you do and probably better" that's informed most of our occupational geneder perspective these last few decades, let me ask: is a legitimate, female head football coach a viable option? What would she have to sacrifice, if anything, compared to a male coach? What would she do better?

K, thanks for listening.

Randolph (via <a href="http://www.essence.com/news/hot_topics_4/black_woman_named_high_school_football_c.php">essence</a>)


i agree. if i was a guy i think it would be a little weird to have a female coach. nothing against her abilities as a coach, but i think her being female changes the entire team/coach dynamic that occurs when you have a locker room full of testosterone filled teenage boys. it will be interesting to see how they do this season. i will be cheering for her.

CJ's picture

i'd like to see it work out fantastically, obviously...but unfortunately the realities of prejudice and stereotyping involve a lot of subconscious processes, which will likely work again her -- even if parents, coaches, and players will claim otherwise.

msh258's picture

I am witholding opinion on the coaching, since I don't know much anything about what its like to be a football player or coach, and think one of the problems of blanket "feminism" is the idea that anything can be the same for both sexes without any real knowledge or experience with the anything in question (oh wait, did i just support your point?).

Instead, I'm just going to applaud your vocabulary.  I actually had to look up pederasty.  Good job.

sandyliz's picture

I think she could do it, albeit while struggling against stereotyping. But, I alos think there's an appropriate grain of incredulity here. I'm not sure what an alternative example would be, where a man leads a team in a female-dominated sport.


CJ: I'm rooting for her too.

msh: HEY HOW'S GERMANY?!?! I think Randolph's convinced enough people to give her a shot, but not overcoming the bias of a team's leader... damn, that's a blow...

sandy: I actually don't know her credentials off hand, but I think she's equipped with football know-how already. But, yeah, blank feminism is sexist in its own right, and a regular source of manly eye-rolling. And you couldn't follow the etymology of 'pederast'? I'm so latin.

Mr. Mohawk's picture

germany's good so far :-)...had some lonely moments, being as i DON'T KNOW A SOUL HERE...but, i'm getting there. anyways, i started running yesterday, which made me feel much more at home right away. i'm hungry...i want to go to a bakery...damn bakeries will be the end of my paleo self. sigh...

msh258's picture

I once tried to write a bakery sex scene for a movie. Lots of sugar and flour.


Sorry you're lonely. We should have a Skype party.

Mr. Mohawk's picture

I agree with the consensus. From a we-are-all-equal standpoint, this is pretty awesome.

However, I can imagine this being totally awkward for these teenage boys. Besides generally male-female behavioral differences, I can imagine all sorts of sexual confusion/”my mother-figure is my football coach” issues popping up.

Kimberly Rae Miller's picture

i could follow the etymology, but i looked it up for specific meaning.  you're not just so latin, you're so dirty.

re: bakery sex scene? awesome.

@msh - i walked by NYU yesterday and felt very sad that it wasn't to see you.

sandyliz's picture

skype party!!! though, mohawk, you'll be happy to know it's getting better every day :-). and yes, i'm sure nyu is not the same without me...twinklefee?

msh258's picture

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