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Coaching changes begin

Gail Goestenkors started it this week when she left Duke to take over the women's basketball program at Texas.

As if the coaching merry-go-round in women's basketball wasn't going to be interesting enough this spring, Goestenkors has officially kicked off hunting season for athletic directors.

Duke is now one of several high profile women's programs looking for head coaches -- along with Florida, LSU, Michigan and Penn State. Among local interest, Duquesne and Fairfield are in the market, too.

The popular feeling is that the big name openings will create a bidding war, driving the salaries of women's head coaches up -- possibly as high as some in the men's game -- and creating a new possibility of leverage for other coaches at the mid-major level.

As an aside, it would be nice to see not only the salaries for women's coaches increase, but the total packages become more "family friendly." It's long been documented that many qualified women leave the coaching ranks because they can't strike a good work/life balance.

On the men's side, coaches have long asked for perks in their contract -- country club memberships for instance, have become almost routine when signing a contract. Now might be a good time for coaches en masse to ask for things like on-site child care for them and their staff. It could be an opportunity to change the work culture and allow both men and women -- dads and moms -- to be good coaches and good parents.

---Amy Moritz

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