New AD Chaves aware of UND's lack of female coaches
When Natalie Martinson announced last week that she was stepping down after 14 years with the UND women's golf program—the last seven as a head coach—it put UND into lonely company in Division I college athletics.
As of June 30th, UND will no longer have a single female head coach in its athletic department.
Martinson has been the only one for the last five-and-a-half years since Kristen Gay was let go as head coach of the women's soccer team.
According to Herald research, UND will at least temporarily join Arkansas-Pine Bluff as the only NCAA Division I schools without a single female head coach. There are approximately 350 Division I schools.
"That fact is not lost on me," said UND athletic director Bill Chaves, who is three months into his tenure.
The Fighting Hawks will open up the women's golf position for a national search.
When asked whether it's important to have a female head coach in the athletic department, Chaves said: "I don't think there's any question. It's even broader than that. If you can be as diverse as possible in your department, you have a better chance at being better, because you can learn from each other.
"Obviously, with Natalie's impending departure, that fact is not lost on me."
This will be the first head coaching hire at UND for Chaves, who became athletic director in March. Chaves was previously at Eastern Washington, which currently has female coaches in women's basketball and women's golf.
"Sometimes, hires come down to timing," Chaves said. "But I think in broad terms, diversity in a department is incredibly important."
Chaves stressed that he will look for the best possible candidate for open jobs.
UND administrators were disappointed to see Martinson leave. She was popular within the department. But Chaves said she will help with the transition to the new coach.
"Natalie is going to be with us until the end of her contract in June," Chaves said. "She's a great human being. She wants the transition to be as seamless as it can be. We're going to open it up in the next week or so and hope we get a diverse pool of candidates. That's always the goal."