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This 156 page dissertation by Robin G. Cash, Ursinus College Class of 1972, was submitted to the faculty of Fielding Graduate Institute in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Human and Organizational Systems.

The dissertation explores a women’s way of coaching and being in sport that existed prior to Title IX. It considers a shift from an organic to a mechanistic coaching approach. An alternative model based on the concept of organicism and underlying principles of relational power, life-affirming actions, and inclusiveness of all beings is presented. This new model emerged from three sources: (a) personal experience; (b) material from 18 interviews with former student-athletes of Eleanor Frost Snell, who coached at Ursinus College from 1931 to 1972; and (c) the literature of systems theory, systemic thinking, and Chinese philosophy. The life-affirming organic model re-visions sport, where sport is an important site for transformation not only of our individual selves but also of our human cultures.

Publication Date



Fielding Graduate University


Santa Barbara, California




Eleanor Frost Snell, women in sport, team development, leadership, coaching, Ursinus College, biography


Educational Methods | Health and Physical Education | Higher Education | Leadership Studies | Sociology | Sports Studies | Women's Studies


A portion of this dissertation was published in a different form in the Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, Volume 15, Issue 1, April 2006, pages 56-73.

Miss Snell's Way: A Life-Affirming Organic Model Created in Sport



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