Preferred Name

Lauren Jefferson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Department of Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities


Stephanie Wasta

Edward Brantmeier

Greg Young


The purpose of this study was to examine how high school athletics coaches conceptualize the knowledge, values, and skills of cultural competence, with specific attention to learning processes and influences. In order to serve the increasingly diverse U.S. student population equitably and to the full holistic potential of extracurricular programming, high school coaches must develop a greater comfort with and capacity for exercising cultural competency. A qualitative approach using a grounded theory was applied. Seven coaches and one athletic director were recruited by purposive sampling. The research suggests a process-oriented, chronological model of how experienced coaches begin to work with conflict and challenge within a culturally diverse team environment. The model also reflects the coach’s position both within broader cultural influences and in interaction with other influential human actors. Research findings suggest that more culturally competent coaches are willing to question standard practices of U.S. high school sports culture and how those cultural norms may limit, exclude or alienate their athletes. They learn to develop metacognitive awareness around their intercultural capacities; ask questions and seek information in order to make more informed decisions; and make changes to better serve their athletes with more inclusive, equitable, and beneficial programming. This study contributes insight to coach education development in terms of how coaches learn, grow, adapt, change, and develop cultural competency through experiential learning and reflective practice.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.