Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the area of social and behavioral sciences in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota where she is also the Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. She received MA (’96) and doctoral degrees (’02) in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport psychology/sociology from the University of Minnesota. After completing her graduate work, Dr. LaVoi was a Research & Program Associate in the Mendelson Center for Sport & Character at the University of Notre Dame (2002-‘05) where she helped launch the Play Like a Champion character education through sport series, and was also an instructor in the Psychology Department. LaVoi was an Assistant Professor of Physical Education and the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Wellesley College (1994-’98), and the Assistant Women’s Tennis Coach at Carleton College (1991-’93).
Through her multidisciplinary research she answers critical questions that can make a difference in the lives of sport stakeholders—particularly girls and women. As a leading scholar on women coaches LaVoi has published numerous book chapters, research reports and peer reviewed articles across multiple disciplines. Her seminal research includes the annual "Women in College Coaching Report Card," which is aimed at retaining and increasing the number of women in the coaching profession, and a groundbreaking book "Women in Sports Coaching" (2016). She also collaborates with colleagues on media representations of females in sport, including co-producing an Emmy-winning best sports documentary with tptMN titled Media Coverage & Female Athletes: Women Play Sports, Just Not in the Media (2013), and Game ON: Women Can Coach (2018). As a public scholar she speaks frequently to sport stakeholders around the globe and serves on national advisory boards for the Sports Advocacy Network of the Women’s Sport Foundation, espnW and WeCOACH (formerly the Alliance of Women Coaches). She is also the founder and director of the annual Women Coaches Symposium held on the U of MN campus which serves over 350+ women coaches of all sport and all levels. LaVoi focuses her research on the relational qualities of the coach-athlete relationship, the physical activity of underserved girls, the barriers and supports experienced by female coaches, and media representations of girls and women in sport.
LaVoi played four years of intercollegiate tennis at Gustavus Adolphus College where her team placed 4th (’89), 2nd (’91) and won the NCAA-III National Championships in 1990. She is a two-time NCAA Academic All-American.