Turned Left wrote:
To the (presumably white) young man/men who have begun to agitate on this thread that women and minorities have somehow kept you from being ideally employed, and whom I will probably see sulking at the bar at the convention during the women’s panel…
In NCAA track female student-athletes make up 51% of athletes, but just 18% of head coaches and 28% of assistant positions [that oversee women’s programs – men’s staff numbers don’t bear repeating]. Of those women’s programs, minority women make up 40% of female rosters, yet only 4% of head coaching jobs in women’s track. As you can ascertain from these numbers, that means (predominately white) men hold approximately 80% of all positions on the field. Your own compliance office submits these numbers annually, this is all available online.
As a sport, we have an immense and troubling disconnect between the demographics of our athlete base, and the eventual leadership in the field, despite what a few press releases have given the impression of. Our outstanding minority young men and women are not finding their way to the profession once they are done building accolades on our coaching resumes that advance our careers. This is disheartening, and should be viewed as an issue for our field to solve, not one for our current coaches to perpetuate through conduct on or offline.
As professionals in sport, we have both the capability and responsibility to be better.
This foundation being set - should you not be getting hired as an odds-on favored demographic in the field, with an apparently very strong resume of accolades, it more than likely speaks to your deportment and character; the intangible and unmeasurable aspects of demeanor and presentment of self that as a program director we observe constantly. This could be evaluated over time through conversations you had with a director three years ago, your behavior when another staff observed you speak to an athlete at a meet, emails you exchange with a search committee, HR, etc. I would highly suspect your attitude on the internet is transparent in the way you handle yourself, conversations, and tone in real life and either no one has ever called you on it or you failed to learn, so you continue.
Every high-level coach I know paid dues in menial, sometimes volunteer/GA, assistant positions for years, sometimes over a decade. Their resumes were beyond outstanding long before they arrived as the head of a great program. But no matter the era having an outstanding resume in any field is not a short cut to the end game. The benefit of track and field is that while you serve in your continued capacity as an assistant the sport uniquely offers immense opportunity to build your resume through the accumulation of conference, regional, or national athlete honors, and professional development.
On the note of connections - Connections are your responsibility to make. Make them at meets, at coach education opportunities, attend conferences of the track, academic, and administrative variety. Take an assistant AD to coffee and ask what they look for in a hiring decision. Making a network is not about kissing ass, it’s about finding a way to make a work-relationship mutually beneficial. A higher-up in any field is not going to send down a branch of good faith for you just gifting them with your presence.
These points aside, I hope that you find the validation you seek, which is clearly both professional and personal. But do know that humility and a willingness to learn are currently two of the most under-represented attributes in the employment market these days. Displaying more of both, and less ‘diet racism’ and sexism, may actually allow you stand out in the hiring process and thereby find that job you desire.
May you, your athletes, and your program have immense success both on the track and in classroom; best of luck in your upcoming season and continued job search.
Do you have a shorter version? This is too long to be interesting.