Helix High School in Eastern Oregon is experiencing a first for its Varsity Men's Basketball Team: a head female coach. In fact, a majority of the Eastern Oregon school district, and the entire state, has never seen a female coach a Men's High School sports team before, and it is definitely not going unnoticed in the community. However, before new head coach Brook Garton was hired, the Grizzlies Basketball team won only three games in three years, prompting a necessary change for the team. Hopefully Garton will be that change for the High School and that they'll allow her time to grow her program.
The new Helix Grizzlies' 26-year-old Varsity Men's Baskeball coach Garton is now one of only three female coaches out of the 279 total high school men's basketball coaches in the state of Oregon. In defense of the controversial decision of hiring a female coach to lead the men's basketball squad, supportive Athletic Director Wayne Miller says of Garton, "She's pretty much made her own road and I don't regret hiring her at all," Although the Athletic Director of Helix High is rooting for the success of its' first female basketball coach, lead scorer for the Grizzlies, Riley Sederburg, has a different perspective of being coached by a woman now. "I'd rather have a guy coach," he says to the East Oregonian
newspaper, "A girl coach understand the girls and how they feel, and the guys understand how guys feel." Although in the games since Garton's hire there hasn't been much improvement to the team's record or score, there is already a noticeable different in the attitude on the team compared to year's before. "A lot of times last year's coach would quit coaching after halftime" because how bad the team played, says junior Zack Sundin, "Brook will never give up on us and that's whats important. Its hard having a female coach, but she's making us better at life. She's coaching us into better people through basketball." Statistics are fairly faulty on the number of female coaches that are coaching men's teams today, especially in High School sports. But this particular situation and the controversial reaction to it from the school and community prompts an interesting topic on girls and boys sports and the kids' relationship with their coaches both male and female. With High School being such a crucial time in kid's lives for not just athletic development but also personal and emotional growth, is it better for 'girls to coach girls and boys to coach boys'? In the end, do adult males just understand teenage boys better than adult females? And vice versa? We’ve moved past the “women in the workplace” movement and moved on to extraordinary women who are Speaker of the House and CEOs of major corporations . It will not be unusual for these young men to grow up and report to a boss who is a different gender. It’s not always a boy’s club anymore and there is no better opportunity to condition our young men and women of this than on the court, with their team. Young women have been coached by men for years and these men have found ways to relate to young women more often than not, and have gone on to win national championships. Men and women will always have dramatic differences, but a professional should be judged on how well they can do their job and this applies to coaches as well as corporate managers, regardless of gender. We applaud new head coach Brook Garton for having confidence enough to coach these young men at their level and also A.D. Wayne Miller for getting out of the box and not following gender stereotypes. We wish her, and her men's team, all the success due them.