ATLANTA (October 17, 2016) — The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced today the formation of a WBCA Diversity & Inclusion Committee to advise and guide the association’s Board of Directors in enhancing awareness of issues pertaining to diversity and inclusion within the WBCA membership and promoting the growth of diversity within the sport.
The WBCA board authorized creation of the committee at its meeting July 27 in Atlanta. The committee holds its first meeting today by teleconference.
“We are excited to announce the formation of this committee that so perfectly represents the beautiful tapestry that is our increasingly diverse membership,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle M. Donehew. “We were overwhelmed with members expressing interest in serving on this committee, which indicates just how important inclusiveness is to our coaches and our sport.”
“Our bylaws encourage diversity of perspective in our governance,” said WBCA President Coquese Washington, head women’s basketball coach at Penn State University. “The creation of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee is one of many ongoing efforts by the Board of Directors to ensure we remain vigilant in our commitment to hearing, understanding and celebrating all perspectives.”
Melanie Balcomb, director of coaching offensive analytics at the University of South Carolina, will chair the committee, which is initially composed of the following additional individuals:
Joeleen Akin, associate athletic director/senior woman administrator, Georgia Tech (vice chair)
Kai Duncan, retired high school teacher, coach and contest official
- Tracy Ellis Ward, associate commissioner, Big East Conference
- AnnMarie Gilbert, head coach, Virginia Union University
- Shimmy Gray-Miller, assistant coach, University of Florida
- Diane Richardson, assistant coach/recruiting coordinator, West Virginia University
- Norman Rodriguez, head coach, John Wood Community College
- Julie Shaw, head coach, University of La Verne
- Stephanie Stevens, head coach, Gallaudet University
- Mike Terry, assistant coach, Wake Forest University
- Steve Yang, director of basketball operations, George Mason University
- Dana Drew Shaw, attorney, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP
Committee members, all of whom have been appointed to initial terms of one, two or three years, were purposefully selected from the many applicants to ensure representation of the broad diversity of perspectives within the WBCA membership.
“I'm so thankful for the unexpected honor of chairing this new committee,” said Balcomb. “When I heard the WBCA was adding this group I volunteered right away, hoping to share my passion for discussing these important topics. When I got the call to lead the committee, I honestly got choked up. I can't wait to get our 13 members together to lay the foundation for the good work that will come from these conversations both immediately and in the long term."
The committee will be responsible for:
(1) Considering issues of and best practices pertaining to diversity and inclusion that the WBCA membership deems important and providing recommendations to the WBCA board regarding such matters.
(2) Responding to requests for assistance or guidance from the WBCA board or staff with respect to issues of diversity and inclusion that may arise. Examples of such issues may include:
- Topics for WBCA programming pertaining to diversity and inclusion at the annual convention;
- Placement and treatment of content pertaining to diversity and inclusion on the WBCA website;
- Consideration of diversity and inclusion as they pertain to WBCA member benefits; and
- Consideration of diversity and inclusion as a relevant factor in WBCA communications, public announcements and position statements.
(3) Selecting those student-athletes who will participate in the 2017 “So You Want To Be A Coach” program.
Said Donehew: “Our position is and must always be clear: no matter your gender identity, age, race or ethnicity there is a place for you in women’s basketball and in the WBCA.”