News Releases 2015-16
November 2, 2016 – Alliance of Women Coaches Announces Partnership with Coaches Inc.
October 12, 2016 – Alliance of Women Coaches Announces Partnership With LGBT SportSafe
May 2, 2016 – Bjornsrud Hands Executive Director Baton to Kahn
December 17, 2015 – Coach from India Participates in NCAA Women Coaches Academy
November 30, 2015 – New Members Named to Alliance Board of Directors
October 28, 2015 – Experience of Coaches at NACWAA National Convention is Transformational
Alliance of Women Coaches Announces Partnership with Coaches Inc.
November 2, 2016
Today the Alliance of Women Coaches and Coaches Inc. announce a partnership that will assist in legal and career counsel.
Coaches Inc. is a sports marketing agency that represents college and professional sports coaches, offering services in contract negotiations, legal consultation, career planning, and marketing and promotional opportunities.
“The partnership with Coaches Inc. is significant for us,” said Alliance executive director Megan Kahn. “If we want to be a game-changer in retaining and increasing the number of women in coaching, we need others in the industry eager to help our cause. Coaches Inc. is well-respected in the industry and is willing to assist us in better positioning female coaches in the marketplace for head coaching jobs. Additionally, it’s an invaluable benefit for our members to have access to legal consultation with Coaches Inc.”
Coaches Inc. will also contribute to the Alliance by providing educational sessions at future NCAA Women Coaches Academies. The NCAA Women Coaches Academy, conducted in partnership between the Alliance and the NCAA, is a unique, transformational in-person learning opportunity for female coaches.
Founded in 2006 by former NFL Coaches Association attorney Dennis Cordell, Coaches Inc. has grown into a dynamic company with an impressive current client list of professional and collegiate football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball coaches.
“We’re very excited to partner with the Alliance of Women Coaches, and look forward to the opportunity of providing the membership assistance in any career-related matters and advancement opportunities,” said Garry Rosenfield, attorney with Coaches Inc. “The Alliance is well-known for enhancing and enriching the professional lives of its membership, which is a passion we share as an organization.”
The Alliance of Women Coaches is the premier organization dedicated to leading the field of women coaches, at all levels, by providing support, resources, and unparalleled events and programs which address the needs and interests of its members.
Alliance of Women Coaches Announces Partnership With LGBT SportSafe
October 12, 2016
The Alliance of Women Coaches and LGBT Sport Safe announced a partnership that will assist in creating inclusive athletic communities for coaches, administrators and student-athletes alike.
Launched earlier this year by co-founders Nevin Caple and Dr. Eric Lueshen, the LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program was developed to create an infrastructure for athletic administrators, coaches, recreational sports leaders and professional sports leagues to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer inclusion.
“The Alliance is proud to take the lead as the first organization to partner with LGBT SportSafe,” said Alliance executive director Megan Kahn. “This partnership is another expression and opportunity for us to live out our mission and values in being a diverse and inclusive community. We are stronger together.”
LGBT SportSafe utilizes a new benchmarking framework to help athletic leadership champion a culture of respect and inclusion. The “3-Peat Model” addresses the importance of Programming, Policy and Public Awareness at all levels of sport, while offering incentives to institutions, teams and leagues that reach inclusion goals. The program, which launched with Founders Club members, University of Nebraska, University of Oregon, and Northwestern University, offers benefits for member institutions that actively engage in inclusion. These include a Gold, Silver or Bronze medallion for the athletic department website, a listing in the LGBT SportSafe national registry of inclusive athletic and recreational sport communities, and exclusive access to Coaches Corner, a comprehensive online resource for LGBT inclusion in sports which provides everything from webinars and model policies to discussion forums and best practices for athletic professionals.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Alliance of Women Coaches. The Alliance has played an integral role in creating opportunities for women, people of color and LGBT coaches to be valued and respected in their profession,” said Caple. “It means a great deal to announce the partnership during LGBT History Month, recognizing the trailblazers who paved the way for this partnership to exist.”
The Alliance of Women Coaches is the premier organization dedicated to leading the field of women coaches, at all levels, by providing support, resources, and unparalleled events and programs which address the needs and interests of its members. The NCAA Women Coaches Academy, conducted in partnership between the Alliance and the NCAA, is a unique, transformational in-person learning opportunity for female coaches. LGBT SportSafe practices will continue to be incorporated into the three Academies conducted annually and attendees will learn best practices and policies critical to creating an inclusive environment.
Alliance of Women Coaches Names Ann Walker as Director of Events & Communication
August 2, 2016
Ann Walker, a former softball and All-American basketball player at Iowa’s Northwestern College before a long career as a coach and athletic administrator, has been named Director of Events and Communications for the Alliance of Women Coaches.
“To hire someone of Ann’s experience and caliber is a home-run for the Alliance,” said Megan Kahn, who previously held Walker’s new position before being named Executive Director. “Ann’s passion for developing leaders, her capacity and generosity for supporting coaches, and her tireless work ethic make her a perfect fit. Our members and NCAA Women Coaches Academy graduates will quickly see and feel Ann’s impact on the community of women coaches.”
Ann, who brings over 25 years of experience at the NCAA Division I and II levels at Creighton University, Minnesota State University, the Sunshine State Conference, Nova Southeastern University and most recently the community college level at Clark College, will bring valuable perspective from the view of a coach and an administrator.
“Being a college coach, I’ve lived in other coaches’ shoes,” Walker said. “I’ve had the heartbreak of losing recruits. I’ve had to deal with bosses I didn’t get along with and who were no longer supportive. I know the value that organizations like the Alliance provided me — the networking, the support – and now I can give back in that manner. I can now be a role model, be a mentor, and serve the community of women coaches in a larger capacity.”
Ann served on the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Committee for five years, chairing the national committee in 2008-10. She was also recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) as its 2012 Division II Administrator of the Year.
Ann will organize the Alliance’s national and regional events that help educate, empower, and support women coaches at all levels of athletics. In addition, she will manage the Alliance’s communications efforts through its website and other media platforms. Walker’s hiring completes a reorganization of the Alliance’s staff that began with Kahn’s designation as incoming Executive Director two months ago when Marlene Bjornsrud announced that she would step down after two years in that role.
The Alliance of Women Coaches was founded in 2011 and has become the premier organization that empowers the community of women coaches with the education and resources they need to stay in the game and inspires others to follow in their footsteps.
For more information on the Alliance of Women Coaches, visit www.gocoaches.org.
Alliance of Women Coaches Partners with Four NCAA Division I Conferences to Host Women Coaches Leadership Forum
May 19, 2016
Alliance of Women Coaches Partners with Four NCAA Division I Conferences to Host Women Coaches Leadership Forum
The Alliance of Women Coaches in partnership with the America East Conference, Northeast Conference, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and Patriot League hosted a Women Coaches Leadership Forum on Tuesday, May 17. The one-day educational workshop was held on the campus of Marist College.
With the assistance of funding from the NCAA Office of Inclusion, the Alliance partners with conference offices to host regional events for women coaches. Workshops were piloted in 2015 in New Jersey with the Big East Conference and in California with the Big West and West Coast Conferences. After receiving positive feedback from WCC commissioner Lynn Holzman, Northeast Conference commissioner Noreen Morris felt strongly about offering this development opportunity for her coaches and administrators in the northeast region of the country and was able to collaborate with her fellow colleagues Amy Huchthausen, America East commissioner; Jennifer Heppel, Patriot league executive director, and Jessica Hegmann, MAAC senior associate commissioner in structuring the format for the Leadership Forum.
“When the NEC SWA’s originally discussed the need to provide more professional development for our younger female coaches, I don’t think any of us envisioned this level of success! The comprehensive forum far exceeded our expectations with over 100 participants and 22 presenters from within the four host conferences,” said Morris. “It’s our hope that events like this hosted throughout the country will help increase the number of female head and assistant coaches at the collegiate level.”
With over 100 coaches and administrators in attendance, the Forum sold-out in a matter of weeks and had a wait-list of over forty coaches wanting to attend. The event featured panels consisting of coaches and athletic administrators, as well as networking and breakout sessions.
“We know from experience that women coaches are looking for three things: information beyond the X’s and O’s, inspiration to keep them fired-up, and connections with female coaches across sports, across divisions, and across the nation. Our one-day workshops provide all three elements in an environment that is upbeat and fun,” said Alliance executive director Marlene Bjornsrud.
“The NCAA office of inclusion commends the Alliance of Women Coaches and the leadership of the America East, MAAC, NEC, and Patriot League for joining together to provide a transformational learning and networking experience for women coaches. These types of partnerships and quality programming are significant for supporting women to persist in and to be successful in coaching and mentoring student-athletes,” said Amy Wilson, the NCAA’s director of inclusion.
Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, women coaches, especially at the NCAA Division I level, have plummeted from over 90% women coaching women’s teams to 42%. Patrick Elliott, Binghamton director of athletics and panelist said, “Providing a forum to support development and growth opportunities for female coaches is extremely important in college athletics. I appreciated interacting with many talented aspiring female coaches, and thank the four sponsoring conferences for the opportunity to share in the day,”
The Alliance provides educational opportunities and resources to support and retain women in the coaching profession. “The Leadership Forum gave a group of women the opportunity to start a conversation – a conversation about the very unique experiences and circumstances for women coaches. You don’t realize how necessary these types of forums are until you are in the thick of it,” said Lenika Vazquez, Canisius head women’s volleyball coach.
“The Women’s Coaches Leadership Forum served as an excellent platform for us female coaches to share, learn and connect with each other around the collegiate coaching profession,” said Casey Brown, Holy Cross head women’s soccer coach. “There was a lot of added-value in sharing the experience with similar conferences and across all sports, and I know I was especially proud to represent Holy Cross and the Patriot League with this special opportunity.”
What They’re Saying About the Forum
“It was amazing to see and hear the passion, commitment and aspirations of the attendees as they talked about their roles as coaches, mentors and role models. Forums such as this are critical to ensure we continue retaining and recruiting women into the coaching profession and the work of the Alliance is a huge piece of this effort. I’m proud that our four conferences collaborated with the Alliance on this forum and look forward to even more opportunities in the future.”
-Amy Huchthausen, commissioner, America East Conference
“This was a great opportunity for a group of accomplished women to come together and share their ideas. I was particularly interested in hearing the thoughts from the younger generations in attendance. Gatherings
like these go a long way towards allowing the next group of leaders in college athletics to reach their full potential.”
-Theresa Grentz, head women’s basketball coach, Lafayette
“The positive collaboration and efforts to bring together many great coaches and leaders in the four conferences was not only phenomenal, but allowed women across all sports to share dialogue and solutions on our most relevant and current issues within our leadership spaces.”
-Becky Carlson, head women’s rugby coach, Quinnipiac
“Thank you Alliance of Women coaches for putting together, along with the NEC, America East, MAAC, and Patriot League, a fantastic Forum. As an AD it was inspiring to share ideas, commonalities, concerns, stories, and creative ways to solve problems. More importantly it was a great way to empower and bring in amazing women coaches to network and gain new support systems.”
-Irma Garcia, director of athletics, St. Francis Brooklyn
For more information on the Alliance of Women Coaches or the Women Coaches Leadership Forum, visit gocoaches.org.
Bjornsrud Hands Executive Director Baton to Kahn
Leadership Transition to Begin August 1
May 2, 2016
Marlene Bjornsrud, who has served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Women Coaches for the past two years, will step down effective Aug. 1.
Bjornsrud, who has strengthened the organization’s business foundation during her tenure while fine-tuning its programs to support and advocate for women college coaches, will serve as Director of Strategic Relationships during the transition to new Executive Director Megan Kahn.
“I was honored when the Alliance offered me the opportunity to build the coaching profession that I love so much,” Bjornsrud said. “Now, having accomplished the goals the Board of Directors and I agreed upon, my goal is to support and mentor new leaders like Megan in carrying this important work forward.”
Cecile Reynaud, President of the Alliance’s Board of Directors, said “We have been fortunate to have Marlene lead us for the past two years. We will miss her leadership. Her experience in working with non-profit organizations allowed us to put sound policies and procedures into place. She has grown the membership tremendously and has established strong relationships with the NCAA, National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators, various sport coaching organizations and many others.”
Kahn has been with the Alliance for four years, most recently as Director of Events and Communication. A former college assistant basketball coach in Texas, she has worked as an athletic administrator with the Atlantic Coast and Atlantic 10 conferences and formed her own consulting company.
“The fact that Marlene wants to stay on in a new role speaks to her passion for this work,” Kahn said. “I adore Marlene both personally and professionally. She just has this amazing ability to connect on so many levels. The Alliance is now in a unique position to be true difference makers, to create awareness and change cultures. I feel blessed with this opportunity to lead the Alliance in its important work for every current female coach and every young girl who may follow in her footsteps.”
An important aspect of the Alliance’s work is establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with the NCAA, the governing body of college sports, and with athletic administrators at the institutions where women coaches work.
“Marlene is a passionate advocate for women coaches and brought that passion and dedication to her leadership of the Alliance,” said Dr. Amy Wilson, Director of Inclusion for the NCAA. “Megan is well-positioned to guide the Alliance to continued success and I look forward to continued partnerships with the Alliance team to provide meaningful educational opportunities for women coaches.”
“Marlene is a true servant leader and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and work with her,” said Patti Phillips, CEO of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators, better known as NACWAA. “We are excited for Marlene’s next venture and equally excited for the energy and expertise that Megan will bring to the position.”
The Alliance of Women Coaches was founded in 2011 by Judy Sweet, a former athletic director at the University of California, San Diego and NCAA senior vice president, and Celia Slater, former head women’s basketball coach and senior woman administrator at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. The Alliance has become an important and trusted voice, resource and community for all women coaches.
Before coming to the Alliance, Bjornsrud was executive director of the nonprofit Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative in San Jose, Calif., which she founded with Olympic and World Cup soccer stars Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy. BAWSI called female athletes to service as mentors and role models for school-age girls in high poverty communities.
She began her professional career as women’s tennis coach at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, moved to Santa Clara University as an athletic administrator and then became general manager of the San Jose CyberRays, a member of the first women’s professional soccer league in the United States. In 2013 she was honored in Switzerland by the International Olympic Committee with its Women and Sport Award for the Americas.
For more information on the Alliance of Women Coaches, visit gocoaches.org.
Coach from India Participates in NCAA Women Coaches Academy
December 17, 2015
Anjana Turambekar grew up in a small village in India where few girls played soccer and her parents didn’t want a daughter who did.
Getting from that environment to her current position of the All India Football Federation’s grassroots manager for the entire country meant forfeiting her family’s support and fighting through social taboos that few women in American sports today have ever encountered.
Her story and her ability to share it are why the Alliance of Women Coaches was so pleased that Anju, as she likes to be called, was invited by the U.S. State Department to participate in the NCAA Women Coaches Academy Dec. 7-10 in Denver. Meeting with so many American women at all levels of sports administration is why Anju was happy to be here.
“My biggest joy at the Academy is Anju’s impact on American coaches,” said Marlene Bjornsrud, the Alliance’s executive director. “Her level of gratitude, her coming from nothing. It shows everyone here that the community of women coaches is really a global community.”
“We all face common struggles,” said Amy Wilson, the NCAA’s director of inclusion, which focuses on international issues in a portfolio of concerns including women, LGBTQ, minorities and students with disabilities because foreign students are athletes at U.S. colleges and universities, which also hire foreign coaches.
“Women in coaching, internationally, face the same issues we do here,” Wilson continued, giving the declining number of women in administrative and coaching positions as an example. “Bringing diversity to academia is important. We don’t have the same kinds of boundaries we used to have. We’re really in an era where we can work together.”
As a player Anju participated in India’s U-17, U-19 and Senior Women’s national championships, played for Pune University in the All India Inter University Football Tournament and represented her home state of Maharashtra at the high school national championships.
Kelli Davis, who manages the Sports Visitors Program through the State Department’s Office of Sports United in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, picked Anju from the alumni of previous sports exchanges with whom she stays in contact.
“Her compassion and her love for inclusion in empowering young women and girls through sport is why Anju was invited,” Davis said.
Since being named to her current position two years ago, the 28-year-old woman whose own family and village tried to discourage her love of sports and soccer has developed and implemented a grassroots development plan for 11 Indian states, organized 87 soccer festivals for more than 8,000 kids and conducted workshops to train more than 650 coaches.
“I feel proud to say that whatever I am today is because of sports,” Anju said. “I came out of the house; I came out of the village because of sports. Sports empowered me to study life. Sports kept me going to achieve something in life. Once it was hard for me to speak to one or two people and now I am comfortable speaking to 50 or 100 people at a time all because of sports.”
Soccer has taken her to Britain and Holland for advanced coaching training and to the United States on a previous visit, sponsored by the State Department, when she was a guest at the NCAA Women’s College Cup in San Diego.
“There are no boundaries to the community of women coaches,” Bjornsrud said. “We all, regardless where we are located, are stronger together than we are as individuals. Every woman has something to offer and every woman has something to receive.”
Anju said the Academy was another chapter in a “wonderful, wonderful life.”
“In the States you have great sporting culture that I enjoy,” she said. “It’s really good. In the States I think there are so many opportunities to grow. Going back to India, where they really lack in education and sports opportunities, I hope to show how one can grow in modern world. When you have that culture of opportunities, when have that confidence from sports, you get chances to learn and explore.”
For more information on the Alliance of Women Coaches and the NCAA Women Coaches Academy, visit gocoaches.org.
New Members Named to Alliance Board of Directors
November 30, 2015
The Alliance of Women’s Coaches is pleased to announce four new members of our Board of Directors whose terms begin this month.
- Charmelle Green, Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at The Penn State University;
- Tim Hall, Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County;
- Amanda (A.J.) Janney, Head Field Hockey Coach at Indiana University; and
- Lori Kerans, Head Women’s Basketball Coach and Senior Woman Administrator at Millikin University.
“I have long admired the work of the Alliance of Women Coaches and its commitment to inspiring, empowering, and developing women coaches,” said Green, “I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Alliance Board, and continuing the good work that has made a positive impact on many.”
Green was an all-America softball player at the University of Utah, graduating in 1991. After working in a recreation program in Salt Lake City and creating an advisory board for developing an arts program for inner city youth, she was named assistant softball coach at Notre Dame in 2001.
After four years in coaching, during which she earned her masters degree at Indiana University South Bend, Green moved into athletic administration at Notre Dame as head of the Office of Student-Athlete Welfare & Development and the sport administrator for women’s swimming & diving. She was hired at her current position at Penn State in 2011.
Hall, who earned his bachelors in sports administration from the University of Toledo in 1994 and masters from Kent State University in 1998, said he was “both humbled and honored to be asked to serve.”
“The Alliance of Women Coaches is a fantastic organization,” he said, “one that truly lives its mission by working unfailingly to advance the promotion and impact of women in the coaching industry.”
Prior to coming to UMBC in 2013, Hall held a series of fundraising and administrative positions at Youngstown State University, Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Eastern Kentucky State University, Kent State and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Hall has also held positions with the NCAA including, most recently, chairing the Committee on Women’s Athletics in 2014.
Janney is in her first season as Indiana’s field hockey coach after 10 years as head coach at Temple.
“Being part of the Alliance and attending their events has really changed my career,” she said. “It’s helped me look at my profession in a different light and understand how empowering the position of coach is.”
Janney is a 1999 graduate of Wake Forest University, where she lettered all four years, and a former member of the USA National Indoor Team. She was an assistant coach at James Madison University and the University of Pennsylvania before being named Temple’s coach.
Kerans said she’s “a happy recipient of good things from the Alliance” who now stands on the shoulders of women coaches who preceded her. “I see the Alliance as a way to have an impact; it means I have some skin in the game.”
She was a basketball and softball player at Millikin, from which she graduated in 1985. After earning her masters at Illinois State University, she was named Millikin’s basketball coach and over 29 years compiled a 286-131 record with an NCAA Division III national championship in 2005.
For more information on the board of directors, please visit gocoaches.org.
– Gina Krahulik, NACWAA Director of Leadership and Education
Experience of Coaches at NACWAA National Convention Is Transformational
October 28, 2015
Asha Jordan and Sahar Nusseibeh went to the 2015 National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators convention as guests of NACWAA and returned feeling a greater sense of connection between women coaches and women administrators.
Their transformational experience took place Oct. 11-13 in Tampa, Fla., during meetings, socializing with other women in college sports and hearing the inspirational stories of women in leadership such as Sheila Johnson, the NACWAA Honor Award recipient.
Johnson is the only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams, the WNBA Washington Mystics, NBA Washington Wizards and NHL Washington Capitals.
“The experience was unbelievable,” said Jordan, who begins her second season as women’s basketball coach at Portland, Oregon’s Lewis and Clark College in November. “It was nice to be in a large space with hundreds of women there – it was a feeling of just connectedness and empowerment being in groups of women who were really passionate about college athletics.”
Which is exactly what NACWAA hoped she would experience, said Gina Krahulik, its director of leadership and education.
“It’s important for us just to be able to expose more women to our industry, to connect,” Krahulik said. “We champion women leaders. Our partnership with the Alliance is important for both of us to be able to grow. We are in this business together.”
Jordan and Nusseibeh, who is beginning her third year as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University, are recent graduates of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy. They attended the convention on scholarships as part of its growing partnership with the Alliance.
“I had my eyes opened,” Nusseibeh said. “The number of women in coaching positions is dwindling, and the people who hire coaches are administrators. It’s extremely important for coaches to look outside our coaching silos and connect with administrators. They want to help women in coaching and they have the power to do that.”
Jordan said her takeaway was that both the Alliance and NACWAA have similar philosophies.
“Both see themselves as organizations of change,” she said. “We’re working for the same causes. At end of the day, we’re all on the same team.”
At the forefront of both organizations’ concerns are that women reverse their declining numbers in college coaching, Krahulik said. One of the ways NACWAA hopes to do that is by helping women into more leadership positions such as athletic directors and conference commissioners.
“When you’re on college campus,” Krahulik said, “women tend to be in the minority in athletic departments. We want women to leave our convention knowing they are a very vital part of collegiate athletics and to change them to be better.”
Nusseibeh said the convention made her aware of her role beyond coaching a team.
“I realized ‘Hey, I’m a woman. This is what’s happening to women,’” she said. “Years from now when I am a head coach somewhere, that will be my soapbox. I will use my position to continue to educate and make young women aware of what we need to do and be.”