Hundreds of student athletes and coaches gathered Monday in Warren Hall at the Earl Warren Showgrounds for a panel discussion and luncheon to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
The panel featured Justine Bosio, head coach of softball at City College, Serela Kay, head coach of women’s water polo at UCSB and Kirsten Moore, head coach of women’s basketball at Westmont.
“While more women are playing college sports than ever before, only 40% of the NCAA [women’s] teams have a female head coach,” said Alison Bernal, co-chair of the event.
After the announcement of the athletes of the week, Moore, Bosio and Kay took the stage for the discussion moderated by KSBL Radio host Catherine Remak.
Remak began the panel by asking each coach about how their teams, all of which are currently in season, reacted to the news of the recent death of Kobe Bryant.
“I think it’s really emphasized the power that sport has,” said Moore, adding that Bryant’s death has been a lot harder for her than she thought it would be.
The conversation shifted to each coach individually, as Remak asked them how they came to play their sport.
Bosio, who has been the head coach of softball at City College for three seasons, grew up playing sports in Santa Barbara.
“I’ve been playing out on those [Dos Pueblos] fields my entire life,” said Bosio.
Bosio played four years at DP before getting a scholarship to Colorado State University-Pueblo as a pitcher. After she graduated, she moved back to Santa Barbara and began coaching at City College.
One of the main topics of conversation during the panel was all that hard work that goes into being a college athlete.
“People talk about what you have to do to be a college athlete, not so much what you have to give up,” Bosio said.
Coach Kay, who has been the water polo coach at UCSB for six years, talked about how it wasn’t until later in her career that she realized that she was smaller than many of her teammates.
“I thought I was six feet tall, so bring it,” Kay said of the confidence that playing gave her.
Kay played collegiate water polo at the University of California Los Angeles before joining the coaching staff at Princeton. In 2002 she heard the head coaching job at UCSB had opened up, and that the woman they hired had a master’s degree.
Knowing this, Kay went out and got three master’s degrees of her own from the United States Sports Academy, the University of California Berkeley and the University of Maryland before finally taking the job at UCSB.
She recently led the Gauchos to a 9-8 upset over UCLA, whom they hadn’t beaten in 25 years.
Coach Moore played her college ball at the University of Oregon after being recruited by the basketball coach, who took notice of her due to her ability to learn how to shoot left-handed after she broke her right wrist.
The main topic of discussion during the panel was the lack of female coaches in collegiate and professional organizations. Coach Moore said that we are finally seeing more and more women being hired in actual coaching positions than ever before, but the number is still low. She highlighted Katie Sowers, who was the first female and openly gay person to coach in the Super Bowl. Sowers was hired by 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan as an offensive assistant coach.
Women are becoming more and more valued in professional organizations, but only 40 percent of female sports teams are coached by women in the NCAA.
“I can remember sitting and recruiting and I’m the only female,” said Coach Kay.
“I think it comes down to women supporting women,” added Coach Bosio.
The panel ended with each coach offering their advice for the high school athletes in the room.
Coach Moore quoted legendary UCLA basketball coach when she said that “the little things that make the big things happen.”
Coach Bosio, who is hoping to get the 0-4 Vaqueros to a conference title this season, encouraged students to “go and find a place that you are going to be happy at.”
“Have 20 seconds of courage, sometimes that’s all it takes,” said Coach Kay.