Like many jobs in sports, coaching remains a male-dominated profession, but a few women have found their way into the professional ranks of men’s sports. Former WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon has been an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs since 2014, and Kathryn Smith became the NFL’s first full-time female coach while working with the Bills in 2016.
Still, WFAN’s Mike Francesa thinks it would be “impossible” for a woman to be a head coach for a team of men.
On Wednesday, a caller asked Francesa if the radio host expected to see someone like Hammon take over a team in his lifetime. Francesa dismissed the notion as being outside the realm of possibility, saying Hammon had “no shot” to become a head coach.
“To be the head coach of an NBA team?” Francesa asked. “No shot. The odds on that are a million-to-one, and if it wasn’t the most dominant coach in the league doing that, I don’t think anyone else would hire a woman right now.”
Hammon was hired by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in 2014 after attending team practices and meetings the previous year. In 2015, she coached the Spurs’ NBA Summer League team, leading it to the Las Vegas Summer League title.
“I think it’s an honorable thing, but the bottom line is what you’re asking her to do is an incredibly difficult thing to do,” Francesa said. “It’s not something that makes sense to even aspire to.”
The caller mentioned his daughter who has an interest in sports, but Francesa was adamant that she would have no avenue to professional coaching.
“Here’s your thing — you have decided that your daughter should be allowed to manage a professional team. Let’s be honest, your daughter, maybe she’ll become a great athlete. Maybe she’ll become a great executive. But the problem is there’s not gonna be an avenue for her to manage a major- league men’s team,” Francesa said. “First of all, do you know how difficult it would be for a female to manage 25 men? Or 50 men? Do you know how impossible that would be?”
The caller answered that it would be tough, to which Francesa responded, “It wouldn’t be tough. It would be impossible. You’re gonna tell me that you would think a woman could walk in to an NFL team and coach as a head coach, 15 assistants and 50 to 60 men?”