An examination of community diversity, perceptions of the profession, and team behavior from the diversity of basketball coaches
Imperiale-Hagerman, Stephen Mario
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The society of the United States is becoming increasingly diverse, with the institution of higher learning following this trend, albeit slowly. Diversity encompasses differences and similarities in human population. According to the 2010 United States Census, drastic shifts in population diversity are occurring especially with Hispanics and African-Americans who make up growing proportions of the population (Lichter, 2012). Yet, even in the face of growing racial diversity, many institutions of higher education still firmly cling to antiquated hiring practices, where the outcome appears to be based more on race and gender attributes and less on ability. Two of the most visible institutions still entrenched in these practices are professional and collegiate sports. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate coaching diversity in the form of three studies that focus on community diversity, perceptions of the coaching profession, and on team behavior based on race and gender of basketball coaches. In the first study, the diversity of the community housing a college or university was examined through Meyer and McIntosh's Diversity Index and this was compared to the racial and gender diversity i found on the coaching staff of National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division I women's basketball team. The major finding of this first study was that more diverse communities were associated with greater diversity on the coaching staffs. In the second study, 91 coaches from NCAA Division II women's basketball teams completed a survey to elucidate their perceptions of the coaching profession. Division II coaches were used because they represent a coaching sample that has been ignored in the research. The results showed the following: a) white coaches had lower turnover intentions, b) white assistant coaches had the greatest perceptions of support and c) diversity in the athletic department was significantly related to positive perceptions of the profession. In the third study, team behavior for National Basketball Association (NBA) teams were compared to the race of the head coach. Teams making the play-offs, coached by an African-American head coaches, were found to have the highest levels of persistence confirming the notion that a team is a reflection of the head coach.