Athletics: Hunter Picked for NCAA Engagement Group; Female Coaches Earn 'A'; McGillis Signs on to Diversity

Sydney Hunter, Women's BasketballSherri Stephens, far left, has been USD women's tennis head coach for 36 seasons. She and all of USD's female coaches were recipients of an 'A' grade in a 2019-20 research report.

Hunter to Represent WCC in NCAA Div. I Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete Engagement Group

Senior guard Sydney Hunter has been selected to represent the West Coast Conference as a member of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Student-Athlete Engagement Group, the NCAA announced today.

The group will serve as an amplifying voice for women's basketball on key initiatives, legislation and various issues. The group was formed in collaboration with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and is the first of its kind in the NCAA.

"This is a great opportunity for Sydney to be involved at the NCAA level with the decision-making process for women's basketball moving forward," said head coach Cindy Fisher. "It is important that our student-athletes' voices are heard and that we are taking action."

"The student-athlete perspective is so important on so many different issues impacting women's basketball today. Sydney is a great leader and will be an amazing representative for the West Coast Conference."

The group consists of 32 current student-athletes from each of the conferences that make up Division I women's basketball. Representatives were nominated through the WBCA NCAA Division I Conference Captains program. Each captain submitted the name of a player from their team or conference who they believed would be a good representative for all women's basketball players in their respective conference.

"This is an amazing opportunity, and I am extremely thankful that I get to represent not only the WCC but also student-athletes throughout the country," said Hunter. "It is very important that our voices be heard and this is the first step towards that. These are our experiences, so it is only right that we are a part of the decision-making process during our careers."

The term of service for each student-athlete will coincide with athletics eligibility for competition. Hunter has one year to represent San Diego and the WCC on the Student-Athlete Engagement Group.

Toreros Receive ‘A’ on Women in College Coaching Report Card

USD Athletics received an A in the 2019-20 Women in College Coaching Report Card (PDF), recently issued by the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport in partnership with WeCOACH.

San Diego was one of only 18 Division I schools among the 352 analyzed in the report to receive the highest possible grade and the only member of the West Coast Conference. To receive an A, a school must have at least 70 percent of its women's teams led by a female head coach.

Strengthened by long-tenured and highly successful head coaches, USD has three women head coaches who have been with their respective teams for at least 16 years: Sherri Stephens (36th year, women's tennis), Jennifer Petrie (22nd, volleyball), and Cindy Fisher (16th, women's basketball). The three have combined for more than 950 career wins, 38 postseason appearances and 10 conference championships.

Of all the head coach changes for USD women's teams in the last three years, each hire has been female: Louise Lieberman, women's soccer, Stesha Carlé, women's rowing, and MJ Knighten, softball.

For all women coaches — including head coaches, assistants, directors of operations and graduate assistants — USD received a B in the WCCRC. The Toreros have 17 females among its 26 total coaches for women's teams for 65.4%, the 22nd-highest mark among 352 schools.

The WCCRC tracked 3,555 head coaches for teams at 352 institutions of higher education in the United States that were members of the 32 NCAA Division I conferences.

Grades were assigned with the following criteria: A = 70-100%, B = 55-69%, C = 40-54%, D = 25-39%, F = 0-24%.

According to the report, the percentage of Division I women head coaches for women's teams is 42.3% (1,501 out of 3,555), slightly up from the 2018-19 report (42.1%).

Data for the report was collected from October 2019 to January 2020.
 
The Tucker Center is an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Minnesota leading a pioneering effort to examine how sport and physical activity affect the lives of girls and women, their families and their communities. The WCCRC was created to help increase the percentage of women in the coaching profession, build awareness among athletes, coaches and administrators, and start a national dialogue about this persistent trend. The WCCRC is the only report to assign a letter grade (A through F) for the percentage of women head coaches of women's teams, which provides a visible mechanism of accountability at the institutional level.

USD, McGillis Sign onto Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge

San Diego Executive Director of Athletics Bill McGillis was among the initial 30 Division I athletics directors to sign and support the newly established Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge, which was announced by AthleticDirectorU on Sept. 20.

The Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge (CCDP) is an opt-in pledge by Division I athletics directors to include a diverse group of candidates in the finalist pool for head coach vacancies in men's basketball, women's basketball, and football. The CCDP reflects a commitment to ensure equal opportunity in the hiring of head coaches, and to address the barriers that have prevented full participation of underrepresented minority groups.

The CCDP already counts 30 Division I athletics directors as signatories and supporters of the initiative. These leaders represent 18 Division I leagues from coast to coast, including the: Atlantic 10, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, CAA, Conference USA, Horizon League, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southeastern, Southern, Southland, Sun Belt, West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference.

The Collegiate Coaching Diversity Pledge will be overseen by an esteemed group of independent higher education and sports leaders who comprise the Board of Advocates and the Board of Coaches.

Early this summer, McGillis and USD also committed to the "(Bill) Russell Rule," which requires each West Coast Conference institution to include a member of a traditionally underrepresented community in the pool of final candidates for every athletic director, senior administrator, head coach and full-time assistant coach position in the athletic department.

For all of the latest USD Athletics news and information, visit the website and follow the Toreros on social media platforms: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Contact:

Chris Kutz, Associate Athletics Director, Strategic Communications
ckutz@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-7930