Gender Pay Gap: Are Female Coaches Paid Less Than Their Male Counterparts?

Despite the 1972 Title IX legislation requiring equal pay in all educational institutions funded by the federal government, the gender pay gap in sports coaching seems to be widening, according to an article earlier this year by the Centre Daily. Not only do female coaches make less money, they also make up less and less of the athletic coaching staff at colleges across the country.


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Increasingly, male coaches are taking over female athletic teams as improved funding and the popularity of women’s sports makes the jobs more lucrative. In some cases, men are given preference over women by athletic directors (most of which are also male) in charge of hiring. In others, women have been fired and replaced by male coaches in seemingly transparent acts of “boys’ club” cronyism.

As shown in the accompanying graphic on, salaries for women’s team coaches rose only incrementally in the 17 years from 2003 to 2015, while men’s salaries have more than tripled to over half a million dollars in the same time period.

Although the disparity between men’s and women’s pay remains, USA Today says the increase in salaries for female sports teams has garnered greater interest from male applicants for coaching jobs.

Another reason men began going after these positions is that compliance with Title IX led to female athletics merging with the NCAA as well as a greater number of women’s college sports teams overall, making the coaching jobs more prestigious.

Now, women make up only 40% of the coaches of women’s sports teams, whereas they accounted for 90% of them in 1972. In some schools, like Indiana’s ten Division I schools, that number is as low as 32 percent. In addition, their representation as coaches on men’s teams is “miniscule” at only two percent, according to the USA Today article.

While it is true that women are making more today than in decades past, the increasingly high profile of women’s sports coaching jobs has made them vulnerable to gender discrimination in hiring practices, and they still make less than men. says the average men’s head coach at Indiana makes five times more than the average women’s head coach. At Penn State, head coaches of men’s teams make an average $549,000 per year – more than twice what women’s teams coaches make at $220,000 – in a trend that “holds true throughout the Power Five” conferences of top-performing teams.


Author: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.