November 28, 2023


You are Your Only Limit

Title IX paved an surprising profession route for coaching icon Flanagan

6 min read
Don Flanagan is noticed in a portrait image taken recently at his Albuquerque foothills household. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Don Flanagan remembers his reaction when Title IX very first built girls high university basketball element of the American landscape.

It was the mid-1970s, Flanagan was coaching boys basketball at Arizona’s Window Rock High, and he made a decision to look at the school’s newly formed girls team apply.

“I assumed, ‘This is under no circumstances gonna work,’” Flanagan recalled. “Those youngsters experienced never been coached and the ability stage was so lacking. They had no strategy how to be powerful with the ball. There ended up jump balls on pretty much each individual possession. It was not fairly.”

A number of several years afterwards, Flanagan got personally involved. He signed on to coach girls basketball at Eldorado Substantial School and tipped off one of the most prosperous eras in New Mexico sports activities background.

His Eldorado teams amassed a absurd 401-13 history and received 11 point out championships from 1979-95.

Flanagan did not to begin with see it coming.

“That first group I experienced at Eldorado was not incredibly expert,” he reported, “but they realized swiftly and were being incredibly competitive. When I 1st went to Eldorado, I wished to mentor boys. But soon after two years they came back again and available me a career coaching boys and I turned it down. I was in the right spot.

“Besides, we had a successful streak going.”

Eldorado coach Don Flanagan is demonstrated in an undated image with Eagles player Krista Kozel. Flanagan went 401-13 as Eldorado ladies basketball mentor. (Paul Bearce/Journal file)

Flanagan became a proponent for elevating ladies basketball close to the point out and objected to what he perceived as unequal treatment method. Women state tournaments were being then held at college websites or at Tingley Coliseum, and Flanagan was between these pushing for inclusion at the Pit.

“I’m sure the (New Mexico Activities Association) bought ill of hearing from me,” he claimed. “We never bought to the Pit until 1990, but that very first year, Shiprock and Kirtland Central played in front of 10,000 individuals. It was plainly the appropriate issue to do.”

Flanagan went on to make the College of New Mexico’s unheralded women’s basketball program into a consistent winner with a huge, loyal enthusiast foundation. From 1995-2011, Flanagan’s Lobos went 340-168 and captured 8 combined meeting typical-seaason and match titles.

Now 78, Flanagan acknowledges that Title IX radically impacted his lifestyle and profession route. Current UNM women’s basketball coach Mike Bradbury feels the exact same way.

The federal laws handed in 1972 prohibiting sex-based mostly discrimination at any university getting federal funding proficiently soar-commenced a nationwide sports growth for women and girls. It also developed a large amount more viable choices for coaches – of possibly gender.

“I obtained a track record coaching large school ladies,” Flanagan reported, “and that is how I acquired the work at UNM. Without Title IX, I likely would’ve coached boys my full vocation and who is familiar with if I ever would’ve moved up.”

Bradbury offered similar perspective.

“Title IX has aided so lots of ladies student-athletes and it’s established very good careers for coaches, trainers, officers, you identify it,” Bradbury claimed. “For me, I was likely to university to be a instructor and a mentor, men or women of all ages would’ve been wonderful. But the job I have had would not have been feasible without Title IX.”

Uneven footing

When Flanagan built the bounce from Eldorado in 1995, UNM women’s basketball was in a distinctive stratosphere than the school’s common men’s plan. Women’s basketball had been dropped from 1987-91 and the Lobos went a merged 14-96 in the very first 4 seasons right after the application was reinstated.

Flanagan understood he was getting on a design project, alongside with a community relations assignment.

“Nobody was at the video games again then,” he recalled. “We did everything we could feel of to get persons to appear. All the gamers stayed soon after video games to signal autographs and chat with supporters. In that regard, we truly ended up starting from scratch.”

Flanagan’s gaudy high school qualifications were not richly compensated.

“I manufactured $45,000 my initially year,” Flanagan claimed, “on a one-12 months agreement. Following the time I went and noticed (then-athletic director) Rudy Davalos and mentioned, ‘Rudy, I’m gonna want a elevate.’ I bought $60,000 and an additional just one-12 months agreement.”

Flanagan mentioned he was eager to settle for the meager fork out for a prospect to get his foot in the door as a school coach. He did, even so, make a case for upgrading women’s facilities.

“The locker place they experienced when I started off was worse than the 1 at Eldorado,” Flanagan stated, “and the men’s locker area at that time was new. After 6 decades of me complaining, they eventually crafted us a improved one.”

UNM head coach Don Flanagan retains up the selection a single to the crowd after cutting down the internet right after his Lobo women of all ages received the 1998 WAC tournament. (Jaime Dispenza/Journal file)

Golden option

Dilapidated locker area and comparatively little paychecks apart, Flanagan said he was specified all the important resources to establish a thriving software at UNM. Title IX expectations of equal treatment method have been regarded and satisfied.

“The administration informed all the coaches, ‘We have a guide here and it’s the Bible,’” Flanagan stated. “Women received the similar points the men got in phrases of fitness center time, equipment, uniforms. We hardly ever experienced a issue.”

Flanagan also found out a beneficial commodity when he arrived at UNM – expertise. The Lobos went 14-15 in his 1st campaign, then turned the corner and posted 14 consecutive successful seasons, like 11 with 20 wins or more.

“The crew I inherited was quite excellent,” he reported. “That assisted us get issues turned around immediately and gave us a prospect to establish.”

Flanagan’s Lobos captured the creativeness of local admirers, and the system immediately earned a place amid the countrywide attendance leaders. Nonetheless, Flanagan frequently picked up static from naysayers in New Mexico and somewhere else.

“We had to fight the notion that women’s basketball was somehow inferior,” he explained, “even nevertheless we attracted a whole lot of supporters. I consider at the time we went to the NCAAs and as soon as we hosted it, that manufactured much more individuals pay out focus. They noticed how superior women’s basketball seriously was.”

Making it spend

Under Flanagan, UNM women’s basketball turned a steady attract and a money maker for the school. As a consequence, salaries steadily elevated to supply coaches a much more-than-comfy residing.

Following building $45,000 in his initially season, Flanagan experienced a base salary of $210,000 in addition $100,000 for media and advertising obligations when he stepped down in 2011.

Lobo women’s head mentor Mike Bradbury, remaining, reacts to Jaedyn De La Cerda hitting a 3-pointer throughout motion this earlier time at house vs. Boise State. Bradbury’s college coaching occupation commenced inauspiciously at Chattanooga. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Bradbury, whose base wage is $270,000 this yr, admits he didn’t harbor lofty occupation expectations when he was asked to aid out with women’s basketball as a college scholar at Chattanooga.

“Not at all,” he said. “Thirty many years ago we were being driving vans 4 to five hrs to women’s games. Gamers had a single set of uniforms that we washed soon after each and every match, and a single pair of basketball shoes if they ended up blessed. It wasn’t like that for men’s groups. The good thing is, instances have modified.”

Bradbury commenced to consider a career coaching women’s basketball only just after a fellow member of Chattanooga’s staff still left for a head coaching position. Four assistant work opportunities and two head-coaching jobs later, he arrived in Albuquerque in 2016, succeeding Yvonne Sanchez.

Wanting back again, Bradbury mentioned he’s glad to have ended up coaching women’s basketball.

“Men’s coaches make more revenue,” he claimed, “but there are upsides. Most women’s players really don’t arrive in imagining about participating in pro basketball they want to make the most of their college or university careers. Furthermore, I sense like there is a extra own facet, which you respect right after a although.”

Flanagan agreed.

“When I commenced coaching, having a scholarship wasn’t even a enthusiasm for ladies,” he claimed, “it took place so rarely. Now, so several ladies have gotten the chance to engage in college basketball and get whole scholarships, and that goes back again to Title IX.

“It gave me a possibility to have a job executing a thing I beloved, but so lots of girls and women of all ages have actually benefited from it. Which is it’s best success.” All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.