Episode 068: The Athletics Of Being Gay – Coach Julie Shaw

JulieShawReady, set, let’s play ball. But what if being an athlete, and there are hundreds of thousands of them out there, meant you couldn’t be “out there!” In other words, you didn’t feel like you could be “out” on the field, the court, the rink…wherever your athletic passion takes you. You couldn’t be you, your truest self, your gay self.

In schools, colleges, and professional sports across the globe, this fear of being outed as a gay athlete is ever present, even in what is becoming a forward thinking world. So how do you play the sport or make it a career and still be true to yourself? For starters you get advice from someone who’s living their truth, in the world of Athletics.

Today’s guest, on The Coming Out Lounge, is Julie Shaw, Head Women’s Basketball Coach for Laverne University, located in Laverne, California, a suburb in the greater Los Angeles area. Accomplished athlete and four time letter winner from UC Riverside, Shaw is not only an accomplished athlete in her own right, she’s made her way in collegiate athletics from athlete to awe-inspiring coach who just happens to be a lesbian. Join us as we explore the fouls shots, and winning baskets of being an out, proud athlete and coach in a world trying to hold you back from being the most authentic you.

Show Highlights

  • What does it take to do things the right way and be transparent in sports as a lesbian?
  • Discover how safe space climates can be created to make athletes feel comfortable in themselves
  • All most athletes need is someone who can talk to them with normalcy.
  • Tweetable: Find the strength to speak, even if your voice shakes
  • Own your story is 99% of the battle

More about Julie

Julie Shaw, formerly an assistant coach at Gonzaga University, enters her second season as the head coach of the women’s basketball team at La Verne.

In her first year, Shaw guided the Leopards to a 13-12 overall record and 8-8 in SCIAC play. Under Shaw’s guidance, Lindsey Foster earned a spot on First Team All-SCIAC while Emily Myers was selected to the Second Team.

A Southern California native, Shaw arrives to La Verne from Gonzaga University, where she completed two seasons as an assistant coach. In both seasons, the Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference regular season title and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament.  In 2012-13, Gonzaga captured its ninth consecutive WCC crown and finished with a 27-6 overall record.  The Bulldogs reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen in 2011-12.

Prior to Gonzaga, Shaw served as an assistant at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she was an assistant coach for six years. At Cal Poly SLO, she worked mainly with the post players and served as the travel coordinator, assisted in the organization of the program’s community outreach endeavors and acted as a link between the Mustang players and the academic services department.  Cal Poly SLO went 97-82 during Shaw’s six years, including 58-34 in the Big West.

Shaw previously served as a graduate assistant coach with the University of Redlands during the 2004-05 campaigns. Prior to her time at Redlands, she was as an assistant coach at Vista del Lago High School in Moreno Valley.

An accomplished student-athlete, Shaw was a four-year letterwinner at UC Riverside after graduating from J.W. North High School.  She departed UC Riverside ranked second all-time in appearances (110) and free throw attempts (366), third in rebounds (792), fourth in scoring (1,303) and sixth in field goals (469).  During her tenure at UC Riverside (1998-2002), Shaw was a 2001-02 All-Big West Conference honorable mention selection and a member of the 2002 Big West All-Tournament Team. Shaw played professionally in Portugal the season following her graduation.

Academically, Shaw was recognized as a Big West Scholar-Athlete as a senior.  Shaw also earned the Highlander program’s Lindy Award for commitment to community service, served as president of the UC Riverside Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and attended the NCAA Leadership Conference.

Shaw recently earned her Doctorate in educational leadership and administration from UC Santa Barbara.  She completed a psychology degree from UC Riverside and earned her master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Cal Poly SLO in June 2007.

Julie is also faculty member for the Alliance of Women Coaches, also sitting on their coaches council, as well as a part of the LGBT Sports Coalition.


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