Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Bethany Peters

Second Advisor

Dr. Joshua Henson

Third Advisor

Dr. Emile Hawkins


Collegiate sport requires significant investments of time and resources from universities, athletes, sponsors, and boosters; however, the leadership and leadership development benefits of collegiate sport remains relatively uncertain (Desrochers, 2013; Hardin, 2015; Wright & Côté, 2003). This study explored the impact of female collegiate team sport participation on self-perceived leadership development and leadership style. Research was conducted using qualitative methods, interviewing 12 former female collegiate rugby athletes, all no more than 3 years removed from their collegiate rugby experience. The aim was to understand how female collegiate athletes experience the process of leadership development, how participation influences an athlete’s perceived leadership style, the influence of coaches and team roles on their leadership development, and how former female athletes display transformational leadership as adults, if at all. The results of the study confirmed that collegiate rugby played a role in the formation of adult leadership styles, yet important questions remain regarding the process of leadership development within collegiate sport. The findings contributed to the body of literature relating to collegiate sport research, specifically female athlete literature. The findings of this study may also directly benefit athletes, coaches, and university administration.