Lois Heeran has retired from her head coach position with the Madison College women’s basketball team. During Heeran’s five years at the helm, she was awarded a Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Junior College-Women Coach of the Year award and is tied for the fifth most program wins of all time.
While Heeran is leaving behind big shoes to fill, she’s leaving more than that. With her retirement, there are now no women head coaches within Madison College athletics, and only four women assistant coaches.
It is important to have qualified staff, but it is also important to have representation.
Coaching is not just about the game. It’s about building relationships and figuring out how to best communicate with your team to have success. Having someone as a head coach that has a similar lived experience as you do can create stronger bonds.
It can also be encouraging in other ways. Having role models that look like you can be inspiring. Seeing coaches that look like you can lead someone to consider coaching as a career. Having these role models is important not only to the college, but also to the community.
In 2020, across all divisions, the NCAA head coaching roles were 84% white and 75% male. This is not acceptable. So many players are not being represented by coaches who can relate to their experiences.
We at The Clarion believe that Madison College Athletics should strive to prioritize diversity during their future searches for coaching staff.