JUCO Hires Only Female Head Coach in Men's Hoops

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Tamara Moore became the only current female head coach of a men’s college basketball team when she was hired by Mesabi Range College.

ESPN reported that Moore, a former WNBA player, accepted the job at the junior college in Virginia, Minn., on April 7. Moore, who had been the girls’ basketball coach at Edison High School in Minneapolis, will also coach the Mesabi Range softball team.

“Now it’s time for me to show you guys and show people that women are just as knowledgeable as men to coach the game,” Moore said of taking over the Mesabi Range men’s basketball team, which compiled a 6-19 record in 2019-20.

 “We’re excited to see what Coach Moore can do at Mesabi Range,” National Junior College Athletic Association spokesman Tristan Spears said, according to ESPN.

Moore played basketball at the University of Wisconsin before being picked 15th overall by the Miami Sol in the 2002 WNBA draft. She averaged 4.4 points per game in the WNBA from 2002 until 2007, then played overseas. The Minneapolis native was the 1998 Minnesota Miss Basketball honoree and spent time with the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA.

Moore has broken barriers before, according to ESPN. She was the first woman to play in the Minneapolis inner-city, all-star classic game. A women’s game has been formed since then. She has also owned the OBA League, a semi-pro men’s league. She is now the first African-American woman to coach a men’s college basketball team.

According to the Associated Press, there were 11 women assistant coaches in the NBA entering the 2019-20 season. CBS Sports reported that Kerri-Ann McTiernan was the first woman to coach a men’s college basketball team when she led Kingsborough Community College (N.Y.) in the 1990s.

“For me, it’s not new, just being someone that’s always tried to push the game forward,” Moore said. “Looking at Becky Hammon and Teresa Weatherspoon and Swin Cash, all women I played with or against in the WNBA, who opened the door for this opportunity. The biggest thing for me is those doors led to this door.

“The message, with my hiring, is that the ceiling is now broken, and let’s just take it even further.”

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