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Why aren’t more female coaches in charge of pro teams?

Last updated April 1, 2021

By Tina Underwood

Sarah Lorge Butler, writer and editor for Runner’s World, examines the dearth of female coaches for professional running teams in the wake of two high-profile jobs that recently went to men. In roughly two dozen professional distance teams in the country, scant few women occupy or share the head coaching position, Butler says. Furman University’s Rita Gary, assistant coach for track and field/cross country programs, was tapped for her comments.

Gary, now in her ninth season at Furman, was the 2018 USTFCCCA Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year, and she served as the Team USA women’s coach for the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championship. She has coached 14 teams to a top-35 finish at the NCAA Championships, highlighted by seven top-15 team finishes. Gary has also coached teams to three region championships and 16 conference titles.

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