Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Bill Boozang, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Andrea Wilson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Catherine Beck, Ed.D.


Members of Generation Z now fill not only the dorms of higher education institutions, but also the rosters of each collegiate athletic team. Dubbed by many as the tech generation, they are the digital natives that have—in many respects—grown up more connected than their predecessors, and yet self admittedly lack the relational connectedness that they desire. Coaches and athletic policymakers must recognize the defining relational characteristics and needs of this generation of athletes if they hope to maximize athletic success. Using a qualitative design, this study explored the coach-athlete dyadic relational needs of collegiate Generation Z athletes from various institutions across the Pacific Northwest. Through synchronous semistructured interviews, the relational best practices of coaches who were working with athletes, who had experienced athletic success in their team sport were identified. These relational best practices were preferred by Generation Z athletes and represent the coaching qualities that they believe most impacted their athletic success. Purposive sampling was used to identify the participants for this study, and 12 open-response questions provided the data that through thematic analysis, produced six themes that embody the desired relational coaching qualities of collegiate Generation Z athletes. This study offers relational recommendations for collegiate coaches and athletic policymakers who desire to maximize the athletic potential of their Generation Z athletes.

Included in

Education Commons