The precedent has already been set several times over. Former NBA all-stars have taken head coaching responsibilities for WNBA teams, Ex-Laker great-Michael Cooper and Ex-Piston greats Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn, just to name a few.
Also, UConn Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma has taken his place in history as a college women’s head coach. Not too long ago, on the flip side, Nancy Lieberman took over head coaching duties for an NBA D-league team.
There are many examples of men coaching women and hopefully there will be many more examples of women coaching men soon, too.
But for Travis Mays, an ex-Longhorn and NBA player, there is still an air of trail blazing in what he is doing because there haven’t been many younger-generation males who are also former players pursuing women’s college hoops jobs.
But Mays has accepted a job this week to become the Assistant (Associate) Head Coach of the University of Texas women’s team. He is returning to his alma mater.
As a former male standout guard from college and the pros, Mays is not taking the traditional route in coaching.
His willingness to learn this profession by coaching women should be applauded. What is neat about it is that he is a recruiter, disciplinarian, adviser, mentor, and coach all at once.
It is a job that influences young women at a critical time in their life.
Mays saw a way to make an impact and develop his skills and he is taking advantage. What will be interesting is to follow his career. He’s been in the women’s game and at other college environments in the past prepping for this newest challenge.
It is pretty easy to figure that if he does what is expected, head coaching opportunities will come his way.
Is Mays thinking of a future in the WNBA as a head coach or will he try to transfer his abilities to the men’s game at some point? These possibilities exist because he has become a trendsetter, grabbing hold of his dreams with an open mind towards all athletes.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com