What The University of Cincinnati Athletic Department Teaches Us About How To Treat Women In The Workplace

The university has topped the Women in College Coaching Report Card for five straight years

Cincinnati Bearcats head volleyball coach Molly Alvey

As Cincinnati Bearcats head volleyball coach Molly Alvey paced the sidelines last season, the new mom was focused on her team. She had no stray thoughts about whether her baby son Isaac was napping on schedule or lingering concerns about what he was eating, she says, because he was in the stands of every match.

Thanks to Cincinnati’s policy that pays for young family members and their caretakers to accompany coaches on the road, Isaac learned to clap as Alvey and husband Phillip White, associate head coach, helped propel the Bearcats to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.

The road trip childcare policy is just one aspect of the family-friendly atmosphere at Cincinnati that has led to the school’s fifth straight A on the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport’s annual Women in College Coaching Report Card.

Decision makers at other colleges are taking note, says report card author Nicole LaVoi, asking how Cincinnati attracts and retains female coaches at double the rate of most institutions. At Cincinnati, 80 percent of women’s varsity teams are led by female head coaches. The national average has been hovering at around 40 percent, down from over 90 percent in 1972 when Title IX mandated a leveling of the playing field for male and female athletes.

With only 22 percent of NCAA Division I schools earning an A or B (University of Central Florida was on the only other A), there is much room for improvement. We asked the Bearcats how they do it. The result is more common decency than radical policies. Here’s what they told us:

Forget Balance

“Work/life balance has evolved into work/life integration,” says Maggie McKinley, executive senior associate director of athletics. “Hiring, retention, and true career development require constant monitoring and being aware of the whole person. Understanding wants, needs, and goals of the total person provides the best opportunity for success.”

If she hadn’t been able to have Isaac nearby, Alvey says, she likely would have been “pulled away mentally from being in the moment of volleyball.”

Equally important, Alvey says, are the intangibles that don’t cost money. Everyone in the department knows little Isaac by name. And when Alvey sees pictures from the games, she is happy to see Isaac sitting on the laps of players’ family members. “That stuff is really important; it shows people really do care and like you as a person,” she says.

And it works: Alvey was named the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.


The Bearcats’ football strength coaches recently ran 6 a.m. workouts for the women’s soccer team, athletic director Mike Bohn says. “It was really inspiring for the whole building,” he says, and it helps create an atmosphere where everyone is valued—and people want to stay.

After the session, which included tug-of-war and tire pulling, one player tweeted, “Have never felt #OneTeam like I did this morning. S/o 2 @GoBearcatsFB staff 4 making us better & my teammates for the grind @GoBearcatsWSOC.”

Cultivate Talent

When Mandy Commons-DiSalle, then an assistant coach, applied for the Bearcats head coaching position for the women’s and men’s swimming and diving team in 2014, she sought advice from one of the few other women in the country who coach Division I men. They ran through various interview scenarios to navigate how she might allay concerns about a woman coaching men. “And to be honest, it never came up,” says Commons-DiSalle, who became Bohn’s first head coach hire at Cincinnati and is now in her seventh year with the Bearcats. “It’s about finding and identifying the next up-and-coming leader, male or female,” Bohn says.

Deepen The Search

Bohn makes it sound simple, but making diverse hires does take a concerted effort, McKinley says. Search committees at Cincinnati are strategically “composed of a diverse group of people who have diverse networks, resulting in interviewing and hiring from a deeper candidate pool,” she says. Organizations such as Women Leaders in College Sports are also helpful in identifying female candidates.


McKinley herself ran the 400-meter hurdles for the Bearcats from 1996-2000 as part of the first recruiting class after women’s track and field was re-implemented in 1995-96. “I directly benefited from the University of Cincinnati being conscious of increasing opportunities for females,” she says. At the time, there were only a few women in the athletic department, which she joined as an intern in 2001. She credits the institution with recognizing her potential and realizing that they could benefit from her experiences.

Off The Court

Making connections with women in leadership positions across campus is important, Bohn says, in continuing the atmosphere of confidence, encouragement, and support beyond the playing field.

While the Bearcats can brag about their athletic improvements—the women’s basketball team posted its best record since the 2005-06 season and finished a best-ever tied for fifth in the American Athletic Conference; the volleyball team earned the American Athletic Conference’s first-ever at-large bid into the NCAA tournament; indoor track had its first individual national champion; three athletes have been named All-American so far this year—they would also be happy if their report card success prompted a win for women.

“I would believe that our efforts would be contagious,” Bohn says. “It is something special.”

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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