1,000 WinsFebruary 04, 2009
Happy National Girls and Women in Sports Day! Did you know that when Congress enacted Title IX only one in 27 girls in high school participated in athletics and now it’s one in three? What a change! To celebrate, today girls all over the country will wear a t-shirt or jersey that promotes the sports or activities in which they participate. Many AAUW branches are holding celebrations, and the AAUW St. Lawrence (NY) Branch created an online History of Women in Sports timeline, highlighting important events from 776 BCE to 2009. I’d like to mention two outstanding college basketball coaches as part of my National Girls and Women in Sports Day commemoration.
Just two weeks ago, Sandra Kay Yow, head basketball coach at North Carolina State from 1975 to 2009, passed away from breast cancer. During her illustrious career, she coached more than 700 wins and won an Olympic gold medal as coach of the 1988 U.S. women’s basketball team. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, she was active in raising awareness and money to fight cancer, and her dedication to basketball and life throughout her illness was an example to all. “Kay taught us all to live life with passion and to never give up,” said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports.
Kay Yow’s friend, University of Tennessee coach Pat Summit, is set to make history too with her team’s next win. A coach for 35 years, Summit has won 999 games and may reach 1,000 as early as tomorrow night. No other Division I basketball coach has achieved so many wins. Included among her other accomplishments are starting on the inaugural 1976 silver-winning Olympic basketball team and coaching eight NCAA titles. Both women coached hundreds of young women, acting as positive role models and training several of them to become today’s basketball coaches.
Christine Brennan, the most widely read female sports columnist in the nation, spoke at the Fem 2.0 Conference this week. She talked about the terrible job mainstream media does covering women’s sports despite how important sports are to empowering girls and young women in all aspects of their lives. She encouraged us to contact our local news station and ask for better coverage of women’s sports and to support women’s sporting events by attending and watching them on TV. I always enjoyed attending sporting events in high school and college, but I barely have watched or attended any since graduation. Tomorrow night, however, I will be watching Summit’s Lady Volunteers play Georgia and cheering when she gets her 1,000th win! What are you doing to celebrate women in sports?