Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Sport Management

First Advisor

James M. Gladden

Second Advisor

Carol Barr

Third Advisor

Linda Griffin

Subject Categories

Sports Sciences


This dissertation examined the critical role of human and social capital in the evolution of the NCAA Division I men's collegiate basketball product over time. Specifically, it sought to understand the characteristics of coaching networks that were consistently successful in perpetuating leader development over time, thereby theoretically replicating positive performance outcomes over long time spans. Interviews, content analyses and a literature search were performed to evaluate factors such as the processes of identification and selection of assistant coaches, the learning systems associated with their leader development, the strategies for their career advancement and growth, and the support structures of ongoing mentorship and professional networks that are important subsequent to their external promotion. Mixed methods were employed in the study. First, a quantitative analysis was performed in the early phases of the research project to identify the relevant coaching networks to be evaluated as well as to assess statistical relationships between five measures of coaching networks and success outcomes. This analysis was followed subsequently by qualitative ethnographic methods in relation to the selected coaching networks. The final output was the development of a conceptual model to be utilized for future research. Apart from some limited exploration by members of the popular press, there are no empirical studies known by this author that have examined characteristics of successful coaching networks and development systems.