Beyond the Xs and Os: The representation of black college coaches

Publication Date


Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Publication Title

Race', Ethnicity and Racism in Sports Coaching


Steven Bradbury, Jim Lusted, Jacco van Sterkenburg




The purpose of this book chapter is to provide a critical examination of the intersections of race and gender in shaping the lived experiences of Black college coaches in the United States. Extant literature and contemporary realities promote the need for a sociohistorical perspective of the enablers and barriers influencing Black college coaches’ experiences. Capturing these experiences is necessary to redress the “sporting myths of meritocracy and inclusion” (Rankin-Wright et al., 2017, p. 616) that pathologize the coaching disparities of Black coaches as innate to their race as opposed to socially constructed through racialized and gendered sport structures. Statistical data demonstrate Black coaches have been and are currently underrepresented at the collegiate level, particularly in predominantly White and historically White institutions of higher education (PWIHE/HWIHE) (National Collegiate Athletic Association [NCAA], 2019). Employing Crenshaw’s (1991) Intersectionality framework, this conceptual chapter seeks to (a) identify and analyze the structural, representational and political challenges experienced by Black men and women and (b) provide transformative policy and practices to aid leadership and coaches in their retention and success in college sport.


African-American Studies