Former WNBA player Tamara Moore becomes only female head coach in men's college basketball

“Now, it’s time for me to show you guys and show people that women are just as knowledgeable as men to coach the game,” she said.
Image: Tamara Moore of the Houston Comets during a game in 2007.
Tamara Moore of the Houston Comets during a game in 2007.Barry Gossage / NBAE via Getty Images file

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By Wilson Wong

Former WNBA guard Tamara Moore’s career reached new heights when she was hired as the men’s basketball head coach at Mesabi Range College in Virginia, Minnesota, making her the only woman to be the head coach of a men’s collegiate program in the country now.

“Now, it’s time for me to show you guys and show people that women are just as knowledgeable as men to coach the game,” she told ESPN. Moore is the first African American woman hired as a head coach for a men's U.S. college basketball program.

Her rise to head coach started from an early age. In high school, she was Minnesota’s Miss Basketball winner in 1998, later playing for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was named 2001 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection.

After college, Moore spent six seasons in the WNBA from 2002 to 2007, playing for seven different teams throughout her career before playing overseas. She was the girls’ basketball coach at Edison High School in Minneapolis before accepting her new position as the men’s basketball and softball head coach at the junior college.

Moore, 40, said that coaching men doesn’t faze her, and that she hasn’t been asked how male players will respond to her.

“I can use my recruiting calls in this process as an answer to that question: I didn’t even get that question once,” Moore said. “My resume speaks for itself.”

Moore isn’t the first woman to coach a basketball team. In the 1990s, Kerri-Ann McTiernan became the first woman in the country to be the head coach of a men’s college basketball team at Kingsborough Community College in New York. Moore’s hiring also follows a record 11 women who served as assistant coaches in the NBA 2019-20 season.

However, a woman has never been the head coach of a Division I or NBA men’s team.

Moore hopes that will soon change.

“I’m honored to coach on any level,” said Moore, who told ESPN that her ultimate goal was to become Division I head coach. “I’ve never been doubted about my coaching ability. I just think it’s all about opportunity. The message, with my hiring, is that the ceiling is now broken, and let’s just take it even further.”