March Madness is whittling down to the Final Four, which tips off Friday in Tampa, as well as in Minneapolis on Saturday.
One of the most accomplished coaches left in the field is Muffet McGraw, who has led two of her Notre Dame teams to the national championship. (The Fighting Irish face Stanford tonight for a trip to the semifinals.)
My friend Lindsay Gibbs of ThinkProgress went to South Bend, Indiana in February to report on an interesting phenomenon on the Irish bench -- the fact that all the coaches are women.
It turns out that no one may be more aware of a scale-tipping inequality in college coaching. In women's basketball, about 40 percent of the coaches in NCAA Division I are men. Of course, there are zero women coaching in men's basketball. (There is one female assistant in DI men's hoops -- former WNBA player Edniesha Curry at the University of Maine.)
This is a well-written that is thoroughly reported. The numbers are staggering, and it wasn't just McGraw's blunt response: Asked whether she plans to ever hire a male coach again, she doesn’t hesitate: “No.” You will learn something by reading this article.
I don't exactly remember the year, but I'm estimating it was early 1990s. A battle raged on the back page of Sports Illustrated.
Now, this was a coveted room in what, at the time, was the finest real estate in sports journalism. SI was it for me. I read it religiously, pored over the work of writers like Gary Smith, Leigh Montville, Sally Jenkins, Rick Telander and Rick Reilly.
I remember Telander, then Jenkins word jousting with each other over the issue of female sports writers in men's locker rooms... in order to conduct interviews or, you know, do their jobs.
My junior-sports writer heart had been stolen. Jenkins, with her wit, flair and accuracy, ran away with it.
In Summer 1995, I interned with the U.S. Tennis Association and found myself at the U.S. Open. Since we didn't have that new fandangled World Wide Web thing really cooking yet, part of my job was getting on a radio, calling around to other courts at the U.S. Tennis Center and updating scores on a giant whiteboard at the end of the press box.
Given its proximity to one of the two entrances to the press box, this post also afforded me the opportunity to check media credentials. And, when Jenkins walked in one day, rather than check the credential hanging at the end of a lanyard, I totally fangirled. I mean, I damn near accosted the poor woman, excitedly telling her about a research paper I wrote my sophomore year of college about women in locker rooms, inspired by her go-round with Telander. She giggled at me, seemed genuinely thrilled with the story and was nice as can be.
Jenkins left SI, eventually, wrote a few best sellers and is even more beautiful a thinker and writer now as a Washington Post columnist.
Earlier this month, Jenkins' father died.
Now, to most in this business, Sally is Dan Jenkins' daughter. You see, her father was one of -- if not the best sports scribes of all time.
But, the best thing I've read this month is her tribute to her father.
Long reads. Song lyrics. Vignettes. Q&As.
The best thing I read varies like the weather. And, in Southern Connecticut this winter, that is saying something!
I have always loved reading. I think part of that love comes from the fact that it is never the same experience. No story, or analysis, or rendering is the same. No style is the same. No word choice, or turn of a phrase is ever the exact same.
On Wednesday evening, I read this Q&A with USC sociology and journalism professor Ben Carrington. It's the best thing I've read this week.
I saw Carrington speak in Spring 2013 at the University of Texas, which hosted the annual Sports Summit of the International Association for Communication and Sport. He blew me away. So smart and well spoken. I've since read several articles he has written, and books he has edited. He is a talented scholar.
But what struck me about this Q&A is the casual manner in which a brilliant person is discussing a complex issue. That makes it accessible -- something from which others can learn. The topic is salient and so critical. I hope you read it, enjoy it and walk away from it more informed.
Molly Yanity, Ph.D.