In the last twenty years, opportunities for women in intercollegiate athletics have grown exponentially. Unfortunately, women still represent a small number of head coaches in intercollegiate athletics, creating a disparity in numbers between female college athletes and female head coaches. This disparity has led to an imbalance for female college athletes searching for female role models and mentors. This study investigated the mentoring experiences of NCAA Division III female college athletes based on their lived experiences with both male and female head coaches. Using Mentor Role Theory (MRT), a set of qualitative responses were collected and analyzed. The participants highlighted career and psychosocial functions of MRT, with responses emphasizing positive and negative experiences with their past and present head coaches. Overall, female college athletes noted the importance of both career and psychosocial functions in their experiences with both male and female coaches. However, the college athletes’ experiences with their female head coaches were predominately positive, whereas, the participants were found to hold mixed experiences (both positive and negative) with their male coaches. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for Division III athletics, mentor role theory, and the importance of the coach/athlete relationship.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License