As two of many female former managers for the Duke Men’s Basketball team, we want to respond to Friday's article “Why doesn’t the men’s basketball program have female managers?”

Nothing in our treatment, either as applicants for the position or managers, suggested any bias or discrimination towards women. Our gender was a non-issue to the coaches, players, and staff, and we were always treated with the utmost respect, fairness, and support. We were given our own uniforms, hotel rooms and locker rooms. The article cites problems of “special accommodations,” but we can attest that the program successfully addressed this for us years ago. Our experience with the program was overwhelmingly positive. We find it difficult to believe that things could have changed so dramatically since our departures. Instead, it seems that the current lack of female managers appears attributable to a lack of interest—Mr. Jackson explained that the sole female applicant this year dropped out.

It appears as though the article is making a case for bias based on the comments of a few unsuccessful interviewees. Any interview with a world-class organization will be intimidating, and an interview with college basketball’s top program is no exception. The interviews are conducted at a table, in a chair, and yes, the interviewers are largely male. But any successful applicant will spend nearly every day for four years surrounded by men: in meetings, on buses and planes, and on the court. We were once in the anonymous applicant’s shoes and it was challenging, but no more challenging than it was for any of the male candidates.

Working as a basketball manager was an incredible opportunity, and uniquely prepared us to succeed professionally after graduation. Based upon our experiences, we encourage anyone, male or female, to apply. There has always been, and still is, a place for qualified and capable women within Duke Men’s Basketball. 

— Kate Wheelock, B.A. ’13, J.D. ’17 and Jenny Kelemen, B.A. ’11, Harvard Business School ’17