Female athletes are doing amazing things.  But women are also having a great impact on sports on the sidelines, in the front office, and in the media.  Let’s take a look at the top 10 women in sports who are making an impact without playing the game.

  1. Linda Cohn – SportsCenter is where roughly 115 million people per month get their sports news, and Linda Cohn has been behind the desk since 1992. She has hosted shows for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and racing – just about everything.  One of the most versatile and popular anchors, Cohn is one of the leading names in sports media.

    ESPN Anchor Linda Cohn

    ESPN Anchor Linda Cohn

  1. Jeanie Buss – The Los Angeles Lakes are one of the NBA’s most storied franchises and is headed by part-owner and President Jeanie Buss. Buss’ father, Jerry, gave her opportunities, putting her in charge of professional tennis team in LA at age 19.  She worked her way up from there as she was named EVP of Business Operations of the Lakers in 1999 and, with her father’s passing in 2013, became team President.

    LA Lakers Team President Jeanie Buss

    LA Lakers Team President Jeanie Buss

  1. Pat Summitt – Pat Summitt is the premier name in women’s college basketball. Coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols from 1974 to 2012, Summitt has the most wins in NCAA history, men or women.   Summitt won 8 national titles and never once had a losing season.  In 2011 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, forcing her to retire from the game in 2012.  Since then she started the Pat Summitt Foundation for Alzheimer’s research and care.

    Coach Pat Summitt

    Coach Pat Summitt

  1. Kim Ng – There has never been a female General Manager of a team in MLB (or any of the major sports for that matter), but don’t bet against Kim Ng being the first. Ng made her way from an intern with the Chicago White Sox to become the youngest Assistant General Manager in baseball when hired by the Yankees at age 29.  She spent 3 years in NY then moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2001.  She was Assistant General Manager and Vice President there until 2011, when she took the job of Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for MLB.  She continues to interview for general manager jobs.

    MLB Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Kim Ng

    MLB Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Kim Ng

  1. Stacey Allaster – The World Tennis Association (WTA), founded in 1973 by legendary female tennis player Billie Jean King, is the principle organizing body for women’s professional tennis, overseeing tournaments and world rankings. Allaster has been the chairman and CEO of the WTA since 2009.  Female tennis players earn more money in endorsements and tournament winnings than women in any other sport.

    WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster

    WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster

  1. Laura Gentile – ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports, and that includes women’s sports. The company launched espnW as a website in 2011, with Gentile the founder and Vice President.  The site calls itself the “home for women who love sports, featuring tips for athletes, community of female fans, and the latest women’s sports updates.” Before espnW Gentile was the Vice President and Chief of Staff at ESPN.

    espnW Founder and Vice President Laura Gentile

    espnW Founder and Vice President Laura Gentile

  1. Kelli Masters – The NFL is the country’s most popular sport, drawing revenue’s $10+ billion a year and rising. With a huge number of hands looking to get a piece of that pie, the least knowledgeable of the business is often the one’s creating the product – the players.  Masters started KMM Sports in 2004 and works as an agent, one of the few women in the field.  She represents dozens of players, including a 2nd round pick in the recent NFL draft who earned a 4 year, $4.36 million contract.

    KMM Sports Founder Kelli Masters

    KMM Sports Founder Kelli Masters

  1. Becky Hammon – Hammon is one of the most influential women in coaching for professional sports. Always having to earn her place, Hammon graduated college and did not get drafted to the WNBA.  She fought her way in anyway, making the NY Liberty on her way to a 16-year WNBA career which included 6 all-star appearances.  In 2014, Hammon became the NBA’s first female full-time assistant coach when she was hired by the San Antonio Spurs, the gold-standard of excellence in the league over the past 20 years.

    SA Spurs Assistant Coach Becky Hammon

    SA Spurs Assistant Coach Becky Hammon

  1. Sarah Thomas – The NBA was only major professional sport with women officiating regular-season games…until April 2015, when the NFL hired Thomas. Prior to joining the NFL Thomas was 19-year veteran and the first woman to officiate a major college football game and bowl game.  Her hire is a ground-breaking moment in the officiating of men’s sports.

    NFL Referee Sarah Thomas

    NFL Referee Sarah Thomas

  1. Lesa France Kennedy – Kennedy is the CEO of International Speedway Corporation, which owns and manages NASCAR race tracks. She is also the Board Vice Chairperson and Executive Vice President for NASCAR.  With NASCAR one of the biggest spectator sports in the world, Kennedy is one of the most influential women in sports business.

    CEO of International Speedway Corporation Lesa France Kennedy

    CEO of International Speedway Corporation Lesa France Kennedy

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