New Syracuse athletic director Mark Coyle will inherit a department that employs the lowest percentage of female head coaches for women's teams among all schools in the seven major conferences, according to data obtained from each school's athletics website.
Following softball head coach Leigh Ross' resignation earlier this month, Syracuse now employs only one female head coach for its 11 women's teams. That is the smallest fraction of women's teams with a female head coach at any school in the American Athletic Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference, Big East Conference, Big Ten Conference, Pac-12 Conference, or Southeastern Conference.
SU also has the second-lowest percentage of female head coaches for women's teams among all schools that are either FBS programs in football or members of the Big East in basketball. Of those 138 schools, only Louisiana Tech, which employs zero female head coaches, has a lower percentage.
|School||Female Head Coaches of Women's Sports||Women's Sports||Percentage of Women's Sports With Female Head Coaches|
|San Diego State||8||12||66.7|
|New Mexico State||3||11||27.3|
|San Jose State||3||12||25|
During Daryl Gross' tenure as athletic director, Syracuse hired 11 new head coaches for women's teams -- two for tennis and one for every other sport. SU hired only two women; the school appointed Ross to take over the softball team in 2006 and Ange Bradley to do the same for field hockey later that year. Ross resigned on June 3, leaving Bradley as the only remaining female head coach.
Twice under Gross, Syracuse hired men to replace women as head coaches for women's teams. In August 2007, Gary Gait took over the women's lacrosse team following the departure of Lisa Miller, who resigned just two months after being named Big East Coach of the Year. In July 2010, SU hired Justin Moore to replace Kris Sanford as head coach of the women's rowing team.
Roughly four years later, SU hired a male (Younes Limam) to replace Luke Jensen as head coach of the women's tennis team. Jensen resigned three matches into the 2014 season after the school investigated concerns raised by players regarding his behavior, according to the Daily Orange. Three players told the Daily Orange that Jensen "made hurtful comments to them, threatened their scholarships or acted in ways that made them feel uncomfortable." One player told the newspaper that Jensen "rubbed cream on her legs without her permission."
|Sport||Year||Coach Hired||Coach Replaced|
|Cross Country/Track & Field||2005||Chris Fox||Andrew Roberts|
|Softball||2006||Leigh Ross||Mary Jo Firnbach|
|Tennis||2006||Luke Jensen||Mac Gifford|
|Women's Basketball||2006||Quentin Hillsman||Keith Cieplicki|
|Field Hockey||2006||Ange Bradley||Kathleen Parker|
|Women's Lacrosse||2007||Gary Gait||Lisa Miller|
|Ice Hockey||2008||Paul Flanagan||N/A|
|Women's Soccer||2008||Phil Wheddon||Patrick Farmer|
|Women's Rowing||2010||Justin Moore||Kris Sanford|
|Volleyball||2011||Leonid Yellin||Jing Pu|
|Tennis||2014||Younes Limam||Luke Jensen|
Currently, softball is the only Syracuse sport with a head coaching vacancy, though Mike Bosch is serving as the team's interim head coach. If SU brings on a male for the full-time position, it will mark the seventh straight time the school has filled a head coaching vacancy for a women's team with a man.
This time, however, the decision won't be one made by Gross, who resigned as Syracuse's athletic director in March. His resignation came two weeks after the NCAA levied sanctions against SU following an eight-year investigation into the athletic department that Gross oversaw.
Last Monday, Syracuse introduced Coyle as Gross' replacement. Coyle will officially succeed interim athletic director Pete Sala on July 6.
During his time as Boise State's athletic director, Coyle hired three head coaches -- two males and one female -- for women's teams. Most recently, he hired Cindy Ball as head coach of the school's softball team.
Syracuse Athletics declined to comment on this story during the current transition in leadership.
(Click here for more information about the data used in this story.)