It’s long become an accepted part of girls basketball that the sidelines will likely reflect an even split between male and female coaches. It has never been the case for that to occur in boys basketball.
Suddenly, that script is being flipped in and around the nation’s capital.
As reported in this terrific feature from the Washington Post, no fewer than five different boys basketball programs across D.C., Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia feature female members of the coaching staffs. The teams include Lindsay Horbatuck at traditional independent school power Landon (an all boys school in Va.), Catholic school St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.), Springbrook (Va.), Northern (M.) and Wise (Md.).
While the inclusion of women on male coaching staffs is a strong step in the right direction, it hardly ensures that they will get a chance to lead a program from the top down someday. Just ask Springbrook assistant Miriam Tesfamikael:
“It’s definitely a boys’ club out here,” Tesfamikael told the Post. “It would be extremely easy if I just jumped into girls’ basketball right now. … No one would even bat an eye. The walls are so much taller with boys’ basketball.
“Even if I want to do this, there are all these guys ahead of me who may or may not be more qualified. Do I really want to put this time and energy into a program when I already know I’m going to face issues being a woman?”
Issues or not, what the DMV-area assistants are accomplishing could very well be what paves the way to one of them like Tesfamikael taking the reins at a major boys program. The time is coming, and the momentum created now could very well mean that the next time a boys program in the D.C. area needs a coach, they get a call.