WCS 2018 Final Report & Evaluation

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 10:00am

Each year we send out a post WCS survey to get feedback. To read this year's report see below.

 Report and Evaluation: 2018 Women Coaches Symposium

Organized by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota,
in partnership with Gopher Athletics & The Alliance of Women Coaches

Friday, April 20, 2018

TCF Bank Stadium, DQ Club Room, University of Minnesota

The purpose of the Women Coaches Symposium (WCS) is to provide high quality educational programming and professional development, an avenue for networking for women, a space to build community among women coaches, and a way to increase and retain women in the coaching profession. To help promote the WCS we launched a new website WCS.UMN.EDU.

The fifth annual Women Coaches Symposium was an overwhelming success with 94% of attendees reporting that they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they enjoyed the symposium. Symposium attendance held strong at 350 women and this year we welcomed 52 student-athletes, a handful of male allies, 14 vendors, and over 30 sport administrators including conference commissioners, athletics directors and club/camp directors from all sports and all levels of competition.


meet people

WCS Attendees during Networking

& Speed Meet

Almost all participants (96%) would recommend that a colleague attend, nearly everyone (98%) indicated that the WCS is a unique professional development opportunity and over 95% of participants stated they would attend the WCS in future. The size, value of the event, quality of our speakers (all of whom are women), relevancy of topics, high-level partnerships, sponsorships, and women-centered focus of the WCS distinguishes it from other events in current coach education programming. To our knowledge, it is the largest event of its kind in the United States, and perhaps the world.

Strong support and collaborative partnerships helps the WCS grow in scope and strength each year. This year the WCS boasted our strongest support of vendors and partners.

The symposium opened with a welcome from Directors from each of the events’ main sponsors― Julie Manning of Gopher Athletics, Megan Kahn from the Alliance of Women Coaches, and Nicole M. LaVoi Co-Director of the Tucker Center. The morning included a breakout presentation on “Mindful Coaching: Tools you can use right now!” with Dr. Missy Price, as well as two panel sessions: “History in the Making: Championship Women Hockey Coaches” with Ronda Engelhardt, Gabby Billing, Sami Reber, and Kristi King, and The Art of Negotiation” with Lori Kerans, Julie Manning, and M. Dianne Murphy.

The fifth annual Jean K. Freeman keynote in honor of Jean, who served for 31 years as the women’s swimming and diving head coach for the Gophers from 1973-2004, before passing away in 2010 from cancer. Freeman was a highly successful coach, cared deeply about her athletes, and was beloved by all. The goal of the Jean K. Freeman keynote is to bring in a highly successful, high profile female coach who reflects the same values and commitment to striving for excellence while maintaining good sportsmanship. This keynote increases the visibility, marketability and national reputation of the WCS. Head Women’s Swimming Coach for the Gophers and Hall of Fame Gopher swimmer, Terry Ganley made remarks about the impact Jean made on athletes, the swimming world, and coaches.




Susan Teeter

The Jean K. Freeman Keynote Speaker this year was Susan Teeter. Teeter is the former head coach of the Princeton women’s swim team. In her 33 years there, Teeter established herself as one of the most decorated swim coaches in the country. Princeton’s all-time leader in wins, Teeter tallied over 220 team victories and guided her program to 17 Ivy League titles. Her legacy earned her an American Swimming Coaches Award of Excellence for four straight years, from 2006 through 2009. In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious College Swim Coaches Association “Lifetime Achievement Award”. Most recently, Teeter was elected President of the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association by her colleagues. She was also named USA Aquatics Sports’ Most Outstanding Woman for 2015. Her keynote address, “Are you willing to ask for H.E.L.P.?” was a hit at the WCS.

After lunch, a series of breakout sessions including “Tackling the Tough Issues Together”, “Experiential Learning: More than Fun & Games” with Molly Grisham, and “Strategies to Improve the Confidence in your Athletes” with Dr. Cindra Kamphoff convened. Dr. LaVoi rounded out the day with her newest talk on “Changing our Narrative Together: #SHECANCOACH”.

The day ended with our highly popular raffle and a few words from Beth Bass of adidas.

After the event, coaches convened at across the street for a happy hour sponsored by adidas and Buffalo Wild Wings. Happy Hour was a resounding success!


In our post-event evaluation, we asked coaches what they liked best. Feedback included:

  • Very organized, well attended, good energy throughout the day.
  • The chance to meet so many awesome women coaches!
  • The visibility to other female coaches. So often we feel like we're alone or the "only ones" because we get so dispersed throughout the community and different sports, but it was so fun to be in a place where we could network and acknowledge that there are many of us working with athletes as a female.
  • The multiple networking opportunities, as well as a plethora of coaches from many different levels. The vendors were amazing too!
  • The information that was shared was relevant and there are many things that I can take back to my school and incorporate in the programs I coach. I thought the breakout activity was great to meet other coaches in the same sport you coach.
  • Love the networking opportunities!
  • The 5 min talks were a nice addition and change of pace.Good balance between breakouts and keynotes.
  • That the focus was on women, how to stay strong in a male-dominated environment. Just being there made me feel better about my choice to become a coach and keep on coaching.
  • My favorite part about the Symposium was talking with other coaches.
  • Loved the negotiations session, the partner tables and the ability to connect with new people.Information was great and it was energizing being around other likeminded women.
  • Great speakers... enjoy seeing other women in our shoes and hearing their story.I like the one day event... short and sweet but lots of good information and connecting with others.
  • 1. The organization: super well organized, everything ran smoothly.2. The climate: welcoming, open, fun. 3. The content: diverse, room to exchange ideas in a safe environment.


Attendees also told us their top-3 “take-aways” from the Symposium. Feedback included:


  • Schools and athletic directors need to be intentional about hiring women coaches. Coaches play a significant role in building confidence in their athletes. Coaches need to be intentional about building team culture through activities as well as "talk".
  • Change the narrative. Get women leaders in a room and watch them lead! Ask for help.
  • Loved the keynote about the Summit. I have a similar group of women who I am connected to and appreciate the encouragement of women to join together to make change in areas they are passionate about. - We need to continue to find ways to change the narrative about women coaches in our conference. Research from the Tucker Center has been very helpful in assisting us and making important conversations happen. - Women need to have opportunities to connect with and learn from other women in coaching. We will have plenty of ideas from WCS to take away and implement into potential programming for our conference.

The day before the 2018 WCS the Alliance of Women Coaches held its annual Board of Directors meeting in the Gopher Athletics new Athlete Village. Many board members attended and/or presented at the WCS, making the programming even stronger!

Board members (L to R) pictured below: Lori Kerans, Dr. Cecile Reynaud, Dr M. Dianne Murphy, Megan Kahn.

AWC board