Carol Jue was coaching her husband’s basketball team, consisting of men in their 40s, when she called out to one of the players.
“How come you can’t make a layup in the middle of the court all by yourself?” she said.
Afterward, the player approached Jue, who is head coach of the Chapman women’s basketball team, and said that he understood what she was doing as a coach, but he could just never take yelling from a woman.
This incident still sticks with Jue today.
“I don’t know how to express how I felt about it, because even now, I don’t know whether he was praising or insulting me,” Jue said.
While Jue has had similar experiences – for example, with male coaches who lost against her refusing to shake her hand or acknowledge her as a head coach – she would still say she’s led a charmed life.
Her 250 career wins at Chapman are the most in the team’s history, and she balances married life and motherhood along with leading one of Chapman Athletics’ most consistent programs.
“I married the right guy who would support me wholeheartedly to coach,” Jue said. “If it wasn’t for his support and him being like a full-time mom and dad to the kids during (basketball) season, it just wouldn’t work. He was raised by all women, so he knows how to act.”
According to Jue, Chapman tries to do the best it can when it comes to gender issues, with there being a higher number of women’s athletics teams than men’s, at the moment.
“Even today with transgender issues, we’re educated about all that,” Jue said. “When we were younger, you had to figure it out on your own, so Chapman’s doing a good job trying to teach us about it.”
Jue, who also teaches the women’s self-defense class at Chapman, has tried to take the class beyond a regular instructor-student interaction by maintaining open communication with her students about any issues they have on their minds.
“This class not only teaches self-defense, but Coach Jue is so open to talking about any other topics we have,” said freshman creative writing major Bella Marler-Mulvenna. “One class, we talked about love. So it’s not just like, ‘punch this Styrofoam head,’ it’s so much more personal.”
When she walked into the class one morning, Jue said she saw one of her students clearly distraught and venting to her classmates. She found out that the student’s ex-boyfriend had just begun dating someone else and she was upset about it. Jue immediately decided to have them sit down and just talk about it.
“I don’t want to disregard anyone’s feelings, and maybe they can’t talk about it with their peers,” Jue said.
“Sometimes, they might need to hear something that may lift their day.”
Jue recounted a similar incident while coaching the basketball team.
Because of her family background, Jue said she believes more in opportunities than in gender. She said that she’s the kind of person who aims to get things done as opposed to focusing on what the problem may be.
“I was honored with being the only Chinese-American in the NCAA … but I didn’t think that was a big deal. I just loved being a coach,” Jue said.
Jue believes that despite the offhand comments she’s received from men she’s coached or the cold shoulder male coaches sometimes give her, her visibility as a female Chinese-American coach is making an impact on young kids out there.