Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Athletic Coaching Education

Committee Chair

Kristin Dieffenbach

Committee Member

Malayna Bernstein

Committee Member

James Hannon

Committee Member

Julie Patrick


Very little is known about the professional work of NCAA Division I (DI) coaches, which poses challenges for coach educators to create relevant professional development opportunities for coaches in this context. The present study looked at the full scope of work of NCAA DI FBS head women’s soccer coaches. The aim of this project was to explore the coaches’ perspectives of their jobs to improve our understanding of the contextual nuances of working in a DI environment. In this qualitative study, four participants were interviewed in-person utilizing a vignette-style, semi-structured interview guide. Data were analyzed using an interpretivist- constructivist approach (Sparks & Smith, 2014) and applied thematic analysis (Guest, MacQueen, & Namey, 2012). Higher and lower-order themes were categorized under the following headings: DI contextual characteristics, job responsibilities, coaching processes, knowledge requirements, and job challenges. Key findings included the amount of resources and pressure to win at the DI level, attention given to recruiting, the required managerial skills needed to perform the job effectively, and the challenges of communicating and motivating Generation Z athletes. These findings offer foundational information needed to better understand the professional work of DI collegiate coaching. More research is needed in this area to fill the gaps in the literature about this understudied population of coaches.