Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Michael Bruner - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Marian Meyers

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Stuckey


This study explores the extent to which national newspaper coverage of a successful female coach reflects the broader gender ideology of society. This study looks specifically at the New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today's coverage of six Women's Division I national basketball tournaments in which Pat Summitt coached the University of Tennessee in the championship game. The years included for this analysis are 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2004. This rhetorical analysis examines this print coverage to determine if, consistent with previous research on media coverage of the female athlete, Summitt's traditional gender role is privileged over her coaching role. The results suggest that Summitt is characterized in ways that marginalize and trivialize her coaching acomplishments. The findings also suggest that even as women succeed in the male-dominated world of sport, societal pressures require that they be presented as properly gendered heterosexual females.


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Communication Commons