Caroline Perry, Padres make history. But more must be done.

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The announcement that Caroline Perry would become the San Diego Padres’ chief operating officer and its third-highest ranking executive is one more sign that male pro sports leagues are slowly grasping the folly of excluding half the population in determining who should get demanding jobs.

Perry, a graduate of Fallbrook High, Stanford and Columbia Law School, is eminently qualified and widely admired. It’s great that she reacted to the news by expressing joy at the message that her promotion would give her young daughters about what they might accomplish. But in another sense, it’s maddening that this is where the U.S. is in late 2022. Perry is one of only five senior women executives in Major League Baseball — and only one of those five, Florida Marlins general manager Kim Ng — is entrusted with a key role in her team’s on-field and personnel decisions. The biased notion that men are best suited to coaching, developing and evaluating male athletes remains entrenched.

But a breakthrough on a par with past decisions to integrate major college and pro sports could be near in one pro sport. Becky Hammon, named the WNBA’s coach of the year in August after her first season guiding the Las Vegas Aces, has a resume that should make her a favorite for an NBA coaching job. In 2014, she became the first paid woman assistant coach in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs. In 2015, she guided the Spurs’ team of young prospects to the NBA Summer League title, and in 2018 she became top assistant to coach Gregg Popovich.

Hammon has earned her chance to keep moving up. So, of course, has Caroline Perry. May these and other inspiring role models keep breaking barriers.

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