Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Health and Sport Sciences

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Hancock, Meg

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Shuck, Brad

Committee Member

Shuck, Brad

Committee Member

Hambrick, Marion

Committee Member

Greenwell, T. Chris

Committee Member

Dannon, Zack

Author's Keywords

Sport Supervisor; intercollegiate athletics; leadership; role theory; LMX


As organizational connectors, athletic administrators who serve as sport supervisors, are integral to the success of intercollegiate athletic departments. However, little is known about the role of sport supervisor or the relationship between sport supervisors and head coaches. Thus, this study seeks to define and better understand the role of the sport supervisor in intercollegiate athletics and explore the relationship between the sport supervisor and the head coach. Through a descriptive phenomenological approach, 22 participants (11 sport supervisors and 11 head coaches) from NCAA Division I institutions were interviewed. Role theory guided the defining of the role while leader-member exchange theory directed the exploration of the relationship of the sport supervisor and the head coach. The findings show the role of the sport supervisor is to be a partner with the head coach by providing support, advocacy, and evaluation of the programs they supervise. Furthermore, the study highlighted the importance of trust in developing a high-quality relationship between a sport supervisor and a head coach. Additionally, sport supervisors need to show care and investment in the program as well as be intentionally present to help build trust with their head coaches. While head coaches can help build trust with their sport supervisor by being transparent. The findings from this study illuminate critical findings for individual programs within intercollegiate athletic departments as well as the department as a whole.