Editor’s note: Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a newsmaker in the WNBA. This week she speaks with Jenny Boucek, who was promoted to Storm associate head coach in January. Boucek is a one-time WNBA head coach (Sacramento) and longtime assistant coach, winning two championships with the Storm. She was an advance scout for the Sonics, the only woman to hold the position in the NBA.
Seattle Times: Sports Illustrated wrote a story about the number of female coaches dwindling and definitely not crossing over to coach men. Since you’ve worked with the Sonics, I’ve always wondered, do you ever want to coach in the NBA?
Jenny Boucek: That would be a dream come true for me. Normally in pro sports, if you have to send your resume, you’re not getting the job. That’s just kind of the way the business works.
Q: Then is it known?
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Boucek: Yeah, but I’m not going to push. I’m willing to work my way up and I’ve made it known that I believe I can help an NBA team. I think I can bring something a little bit different to a team. I’m not looking to be some type of cause. Most of those guys were raised by women and it would be a different voice for them. So, I would love the opportunity to show that women can do that.
Q: Are you talking about doing more than what Nancy Lieberman did?
Boucek: She was in the D-League (2009-11). I’m not focused on the cause. That could be a byproduct of it. I wouldn’t want the attention to be on me.
Q: You’ve done a lot of behind-the-scenes work within the NBA. What were those duties?
Boucek: The only thing official I did with the Sonics was scouting. But Coach (Nate) McMillian let me in their coaches’ meetings and practices. He really just let me be a part of their coaching staff. I was just learning from those guys. (Miami Heat assistant) Ron Rothstein continues to mentor me. When I go back to Miami, people there refer to me as his disciple.
Q: How do you feel about Jimmy Dykes (Arkansas) and Steve Kerr (Golden State) getting jobs after long broadcasting careers and hardly anything within coaching?
Boucek: Men have really enhanced our game, but there are a lot of qualified women that need to get considered. Women aren’t always considered to the extent that they should be. On the men side, they aren’t. But that’s going to happen when our culture is ready for it. And it’s a huge responsibility for whoever gets that opportunity.
Q: Do you think attractiveness plays a role with having women in the men’s locker room as a coach?
Boucek: I can’t speak for what they perceive, but the small experiences that I’ve had in the NBA where I’ve been in the locker rooms with different coaches who’ve let me in for meetings and film sessions, there’s no issue. Not even a gray area. Most (players) were raised by women, so they’re comfortable with strong, intelligent women.
Q: A lot of changes have happened in the male locker-room dynamic, most recently gay acceptance. Do you feel women coaching men is on the horizon?
Boucek: I can’t answer that. It really only takes one person with the courage and leverage to believe it’s going to help their franchise. There are people that do believe in it that haven’t had the leverage to do it. It is going to be a perceived risk and somebody’s got to think it’s worth it.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.