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Dr. Charlotte West: From Athlete to Advocate to Athletic Director: Blazing the Way for Women’s Basketball

Charlotte West was a little worried. She’d been told she has only five minutes to speak at her Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction. “I thought, my Lord, I’ve been involved in competitive women’s basketball for 70 years. I started listing things that I want to say that I’m like, oh my gosh, this should be an hour and a half.”

Born in 1932 in Michigan, West and her sister were adopted by a couple in New York. She spent much of her early years “snow-birding” as her family traveled from upstate New York down to Florida until school administrators put a stop to it. “That out and in several times a year was really interfering with [my sister’s] progress in school. My parents were called in and they said, ‘she needs to be tutored and to put keep her one place or the other.’ So starting in the fifth grade, I did all my schooling in St. Petersburg.”

West’s earliest sports memory is playing 7th grade basketball. “We probably only had three or four games,” she recalled. “But I can remember playing and feeling very empowered.” She so wanted her own hoop and a basketball but, though her parents were supportive – even though neither of them were particularly athletic — it was wartime. “Everything was rationed. If it was rubber or leather, like a basketball would be, you couldn’t get it.” Yet somehow, they managed. “We were on our way to Memphis to visit my father’s relatives where we spent our Christmases and spent the night in Dothan, Alabama,” said West. “We were walking around after dinner and found a sports store and it had a basketball. So my father bought me that for Christmas. I tell you, that basketball got plenty of use.”

Basketball in the land of oranges

West played three years in junior high and three years at St. Petersburg High School. “I had a great high school coach,” she reflected, who “did it for the love of the sport because they didn’t get supplemental pay.” As a player, West describes herself as “Fast. Very, very fast. So I mainly played forward. I did play guard sometimes, when they wanted to substitute different people, and of course I loved the rover because she got to move.” Things changed, though, when she started college. “I went to Florida State and we had nothing,” she stated bluntly. “Nothing.”

Fortunately, St. Petersburg was part of the AAU/Industrial Leagues that swept across the country during World War II. Many companies such as Maytag, Kelvinator, Dr. Pepper and such, sponsored basketball, softball and volleyball teams in an effort to build worker cohesion and brand recognition. “When I was junior or senior in high school St. Petersburg had R.H. Hall (an appliance store company). They would play [teams from] Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa. So I got some early experience with a higher level of play. When I got into college, I played with them a few times when it was convenient to get away from school.”

While at FSU, West completed a double major in Math and Physical Education. “I loved math and I was good in it,” said West, “but I also loved sports and I knew I wanted to teach. And at that time there was a little stigma if you were in Phys. Ed. I don’t know if there was some protective mechanism there or not, but I did my practice teaching in Physical Education in Jacksonville, but I did it with the condition that I could go in and do a class in plain geometry at the high school so I’d be qualified to do both.” After she graduated from Florida State she returned to St. Petersburg to be with her mother – her father had died two months previously – and started as the physical education teacher and, eventually, coach at Boca Ciega High School.

Pushed off the court and into organizing

West continued her studies at UNC–Greensboro, one of the two prominent graduate schools for women in Physical Education (Texas Women’s being the other). “I visited with both chairs of the department and I just liked the connection at Greensboro.” It couldn’t have hurt that there was a local AAU/Industrial team that seemed more and willing to bring on West and her fellow student, Joan S. Hult (who later went on to write A Century of Women’s Basketball: From Frailty to Final Four). The two arranged a tryout during a game and, she recalled, “we clicked. We did really well and [the coach] was excited about us. He said, ‘Now you ladies, you are coming back every time aren’t you?’ I said, ‘yeah.’ Unfortunately, the news didn’t go over so well at the University.

“We got to school the next day and we both had a note in our boxes in our mailboxes in the P.E. Department. The head of the department called us in and she said, ‘I understand that you’re down playing city league basketball and we just don’t let our majors do that.’ She turned to Joan and said, ‘You’re a graduate assistant, so I’m telling you, you will not play.’ She looked at me and said, ‘I can’t tell you that (West was on an academic scholarship) but I think it would be to your advantage not to.’ In typically direct fashion, West countered, “Miss. Morris, I love sports, I love to play and I think it’s a crime that we don’t have more for women.’ So,” continued West, “she puts me in charge of a inter-class tournament for all the PE majors. So we played, but that was her ‘solution.’”

After West completed her Masters in Physical Education and Dance, the same department head directed her to Southern Illinois University because, explained West, “she said they do more for women sports and she knew my intent to work towards varsity athletics for women–which I was told might hinder my professional success.”

Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

Small acorns, great oaks

West arrived at Southern Illinois in 1957 began a 41-year career of advocacy and action in women’s intercollegiate athletics. She coached of the women’s golf team for over 12 years (winning the national championship in 1969), badminton for seven years, and volleyball for one year. She also coached women’s basketball from 1959 to 1975 – all while serving as a professor in the Department of Physical Education. In 1973, she became a full professor (having gotten her doctorate at Wisconsin-Madison in Physical Education with a minor in Educational Measurement) and developed SIU’s graduate program in Sports Management, which she directed until June 1991. From 1960 to 1986, West was director of intercollegiate athletics for women and led the transformation of the department into a nationally recognized program with a budget of more than $1 million for 11 sports. After the merger of the men’s and women’s athletics departments, she served as associate athletics director for one year, interim director for another and associate athletics director for 10 years.

In parallel with her duties SIU, West became heavily involved with Title IX legislation, serving as a consultant for the Health, Education, and Welfare portions of Title IX that related to athletics. Since the NCAA was not willing to sponsor championships for women, West helped do so through the American Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) – and organization for which she also served as president. With the dissolution of the AIAW (1981-82), West continued her work advocating for equity in in athletics by serving on the NCAA’s Committee on Financial Aid and Amateurism, the Committee on Athletic Certification, and the Gender Equity Task Force. She spent five years (1992-97) on the NCAA Council, a 44-member group that governed collegiate athletics and was the first woman member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), eventually being inducted into the NACDA Hall of Fame (2006). The first recipient of the Woman Administrator of the Year Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, in 1996 West was also named the first recipient of the Honda Award of Merit— a national honor given for outstanding achievement in women’s collegiate athletics. She retired from SIU in 1998.

Looking back, looking forward

When she reflects on all she did, the teaching, the coaching, running tournaments and serving on panels and committees, she laughs. “Billie Jean King talked about their efforts in the ‘70s and she says, ‘when I think back I have to take a nap.’ It’s a good line. I think back and wonder, ‘My gosh, how did I live through it? How did I do it?’ But you know, you are driven because you love what you were doing. We could see so much progress. And, yes, we had setbacks, but it just it was exciting. It was an exciting time of seeing your efforts come to fruition.”

For all that was accomplished, West knows that the work is not close to being over. “You know, we’ve documented that men’s participation is growing at a more rapid rate than women. We’re not even close to equity in participation. The budgets are just extreme,” she continued. “The men are just gaining twice as much every year as the women, and people just seem to say, ‘well, as long as the women are getting a little something everything’s okay.’ The administration is going down you know the number of women in athletic director roles has been flat or now starting downwards, which is a huge surprise.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that if it hadn’t been for AIAW, we wouldn’t have had that growth and we wouldn’t have had a billion dollar television contract — all these things that really happened in the 70s. It’s a kind of a paradox for some of us,’ said West. “We worked so hard to give the athletes the benefits they have today, the opportunities. So you rejoice in that. But then you’re saddened by the fact that they don’t know how they got there. No respect whatsoever, you know they expect these benefits which — I’m glad that they’re there for them — but they don’t appreciate them. They don’t understand how you have to continue to strive.” She takes some comfort from a friend who heads the SIU Department of Philosophy. “She said, ‘every great movement rises, and then there is always this falling back.’” West paused a moment. “Just so long as it doesn’t it fall back to where you started.”

******

Historical note: Women’s basketball history owes a debt to Dr. Ellyn Bartges, who earned that prefix through her research on and interviews with Dr. West. “Circle more before you land”: an ethnography of feminist leader Dr. Charlotte West is now posted at IDEALS: Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship.

Additional information: Charlotte West, interviews by Ellyn L. Bartges, audio and print transcripts, Family Memories Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.  Three interviews over six years were conducted, (March 2005, June 2009, and August 2011) .

You’re also invited to check out What about the character of the girls?: Girls and Women’s Basketball in Illinois, 1968-1977.”

Illinois hosted its first Girls’ State Basketball Tournament in 1977, five years after the U.S. Congress passed the landmark Title IX legislation. Title IX led to an explosion in the growth of women’s sports in the United States, dramatically changing American culture in the process. This collection of oral history interviews chronicles that story and the early struggles for both Illinois girls’ basketball (high school level) and women’s basketball (collegiate level) throughout the country. The twenty-six interviews in this collection were conducted beginning in 2004 by Ellyn Bartges, herself a participant in Illinois’ first tournament in 1977. Ellyn designed the oral history project and conducted the interviews as part of her master’s capstone project at Western Illinois University, under the direction of Dr. Virginia Boynton of the WIU History Department.    

In 2010 Ellyn Bartges was interviewed about her own life story and the creation of this oral history collection by Mark R. DePue, Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Oral History program

The page includes interviews with various folks including: Dr. West, Jill Hutchinson, Gail Marquis, Billie Moore, Chris Voelz and Holly Warlick.

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Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Lin Dunn played “like a guy,” built legacy for women’s game

Trace your finger down Lin Dunn’s resume, and the legacy that earned her a place in the 2014 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is quickly revealed.

Drawing on a potent combination of humor, energy, advocacy, vision and straight up orneriness, she created women’s basketball programs at Austin Peay State University (1970-77), University of Mississippi (1977-78) and Miami University (1978-87). She coached at Purdue for nine years (1987-96), where she collected three Big 10 conference titles, made seven NCAA tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteen appearances, and a trip to the Final Four in 1994. In 1997 she transitioned to the professional game, earning Coach of Year honors in her first and only year in the ABL (1998). In 1999, she spearheaded the establishment the new WNBA Seattle Storm franchise, serving as coach and general manager for the team’s first three years. She joined the Indiana Fever staff in 2004 as an assistant. Named head coach for the 2008 season, Dunn led the Fever to the WNBA championship in 2012.

For all that, one has to wonder what might have happened had she been born decade later.

“To be honest with you,” said Dunn, “I was probably was a better player than I am a coach.”

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Honored as ‘Trailblazers’

Charlotte West enters women’s hoops hall today

Former APSU coach Lin Dunn to be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Lin Dunn heads home for Hall of Fame honor

Yolanda Griffith to be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Michelle Edwards, Rutgers’ director of ops, to be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Hall the end of a long journey for Jazz Perazić

Griffin takes U.S. Open break for Hall of Fame induction

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WBCA consultant and longtime CEO Betty Jaynes dies at 68

Betty Faith (Jump Shot) Jaynes, who for 38 years was a leading figure nationally in the sport of women’s basketball and the first executive director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), died today. She was 68.

Jaynes died at St. Mary’s Hospice House in Athens, Ga., after a brief illness.

Jaynes was named the WBCA’s first executive director in September 1981. Her title was changed to CEO in September 1996. Under Jaynes’ leadership the WBCA established itself as a leading resource, voice and advocate for coaches of women’s basketball, growing from 212 members in its initial year of existence to more than 3,000 at the time of her retirement as CEO in November 2001. Jaynes also was a staunch advocate for and defender of Title IX.

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Betty Jaynes,” said Florida State head coach and WBCA President Sue Semrau. “She built the WBCA from the ground up. She helped give coaches of women’s basketball a voice and successfully fought for those of us in this profession to be treated equitably. Each of us who coaches women’s basketball owes Betty a huge debt of gratitude.”

 

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Just got this from Keith Fulcher, Executive Director, Delta State University Alumni and Foundation:

See the attached photos on Coach Margaret Wade. Many are “never before seen” that were just digitized by Emily Jones in the Charles Capps Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delta-State-University-Archives-Museum/149608545092356

Be sure to LIKE and SHARE the Facebook page dedicated to Coach Wade.https://www.facebook.com/coachmargaretwade

From the Facebook page:

(Lucy Harris – Look at those packed stands!)

These photographs were taken by Nanette Laster and donated by her and her brother James Larry Laster. The DSU Archives and Museum is thrilled with this new addition to our University collections. 

And, of course, this allows me to re-post one of my favorite blog entries (and update some of the dead links. sigh):

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Margaret Wade: She’s not just a name on a trophyIt’s been about 75 years since most competitive state high school girls basketball was wiped out and 35 years since Title IX was signed. So how about a little history?

The Wade Trophy is awarded to the best women’ s basketball player in Division I. First offered in 1978, it was named after legendary Delta State coach Margaret Wade (1912-1995).

Many forget Wade the player who, in 1929, played forward and became captain of the Delta State Teacher’s College team. The team, though, was disbanded in 1932 because the administration thought “intercollegiate basketball could not be defended on sound grounds.” Basically, it was unlady-like.

But, like many women of the era who were driven to play, Wade found a place on the court with “semi-pro” AAU teams. In Wade’s case it was the Tupelo Red Wings. She served as the team’s captain and led them to the Southern Championship before a knee injury ended her career.

As a Red Wing, Wade played with Mary Nelle Brumley Chalk and her sister Dew Drop Rowlett, both who have been inducted into the Freed-Hardeman College (TN) Hall of Fame. Clark was part of 1931-32 Freed-Hardeman College team that won the Mississippi Valley Conference despite the fact that they were a junior college competing against senior colleges. Rowlett attended FHC from 1930 to ’32 and was named to the Mississippi Valley Conference tournament team in ’30, ’31 and ’32. FHC’s women’s team was eventually disbanded.

All three women made a careers teaching and coaching, most famously Wade who, in 19 years at Cleveland High School (MS) compiled a 453-89 record. Invited back to Delta State to resurect the program in 1973, she guided the Lady Statesmen to three consecutive AIAW championships (’75-’77) with a team that included the fabulous Lucy Harris.

Chalk taught in the Tennessee school system, and coached both boys and girls basketball at Lexington High School for 20 years. Rowlett attended Murray State, and then started coaching tennis, track and field in 1936 at Kentucky’s Murray High School. One of the founders of the Kentucky Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in 1968 Rowlett was recognized as one of Kentucky’s Outstanding Women in Sports. There’s an interview with her at the Louie B Nunn Center for Oral History.

Rowlett return to FHU as a coach from 1965-1981. In 1979, her sister joined her to help revive the FHU women’s basketball team. The Lady Lions play in the NAIA and have made ten National Tournment appearances since 1997. This year Stacy Myers was the fourth player in FHU history to be named a Kodak All-American.

All hail unlady-like women!

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Cash, Catchings win WNBA sportsmanship award

It’s the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

Kim Perrot, 32, Leader of W.N.B.A. Champions

”Who would have thought Kim Perrot would be a two-time W.N.B.A. champion?” she said when she accepted her second championship ring during a Comets home game on June 22. ”When no one else believed in me, my teammates and the fans stuck with me.”

Perrot, who was 5 feet 5 inches and 130 pounds, was indeed an unlikely professional champion despite a record-setting college career. She held 26 school records at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, where she remains the career scoring leader with 2,157 points. As a senior, she led the nation in scoring, averaging 30.1 points a game.

Kim Perrot

Remembering Kim Perrot – 14 years later

“She was a fighter. I watched Kim for many years overseas. She was the smallest person on the court, but again, had the biggest heart,” recalled Lynette Woodward during a 2011 edition of WNBA Legends Roundtable, along with Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. “This is what the league did for us. It let the world know who she was. Just think, if we didn’t have the league, nobody would know Kim Perrot the way that we do.”

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A while back, Joanne Lannin, author of “A History of Basketball for Girls and Women,” dropped me a note to give me a heads up.

1) She’s working on an updated version of the book

2) She’s also  working on a book about the pioneering spirit of women in basketball and would love to talk to folks who played the game before Title IX was enacted in 1972.

3) She’s started a blog: Finding a Way to Play. Check it out for pieces on Delle DonneShoni

Junior Shoni Schimmel lit up the NCAA women’s tournament last spring with her fearless, exhuberant play for the University of Louisville (that’s her trash-talking Britney Griner at left).By way of her ascent to the national stage, Schimmel has shone a light on the experience of females like her: Native American basketball players who are making a name for themselves beyond the reservation.

Goodrich

Angel, who was drafted 29th out of the University of Kansas, was not the first Native American to make it to the WNBA, but she is the first to crack a starting lineup. Ryneldi Becenti, a member of the Navajo tribe in Arizona, played one game for the Phoenix Sun in 1997 and Tahnee Robinson, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe in Wyoming, played exhibition games during the 2011 preseason for the Connecticut Sun before being cut.

To Native Americans — be they from the foothills of Oregon, the deserts of Arizona or the plains of Oklahoma — Goodrich’s rise to the elite women’s professional level, has been a break in the clouds after many years of playing in the shadows. The experience of Indian girls in some ways mirrored that of white girls, whose opportunities to play competitive basketball were hit or miss until the latter decades of the 20th century.

the fabulous Hazel Walker, and Coach Summitt.

Wait, you suddenly feel the urge to read up on your women’s basketball history? Check out the books on this list.

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Why, look who’s writing about the New York Liberty! Can Laimbeer lift the Liberty?

After the 2012 season, when the New York Liberty finished with a 15-18 record and exited the playoffs in the first round, many fans were disenchanted with management, uninspired by the product on the court and dreading the idea of spending one more summer “in exile” in Newark, New Jersey, awaiting the completion of final renovations on Madison Square Garden.

Then, in October, a ripple of excitement spread through the fan base: It was announced Bill Laimbeer would return to the WNBA as the Liberty’s new head coach and general manager. Laimbeer brought with him an oversized personality, a keen basketball brain and, most importantly, a history of almost instant success. In 2002, he took over an awful Detroit Shock team midseason and transformed it into a championship winner the next year. He followed that up with two more league titles in 2006 and 2008. What might he do with a team that went 15-19 in 2012?

Other folks have been really busy at Full Court. Sharon Crowson says It’s time for Chicago to meet expectations

Stereotypes can be useful because they are frequently accurate. They can provide a useful picture of a situation — but it’s vital to remember that “frequently” is very different than “invariably”.

That distinction is important to remember as the Chicago Sky enter their eighth season. They have yet to make the playoffs and the stereotype of non-playoff teams is that they lack talent — but nothing could be further from the truth.

(Speaking of Chicago, Delle Donne making Chicago homeElena Delle Donne Makes Impressive Debut for WNBA’s Chicago Sky and Sky’s Delle Donne wastes no time)

Kelly Kline says the Upgraded Shock are thinking playoffs

Despite being stood up by Liz Cambage for the second year in a row (they made up), the Tulsa Shock are optimistic about 2013. Thanks to adding significant talent through the draft and offseason trades, the Tulsa season is shaping up to be the team’s best since it arrived in Oklahoma.

“We feel like we have more firepower, bigger guards, better shooting and we have a chance to be a better defensive team,” says coach Gary Kloppenburg. “We basically have a new team.”

Will Indy pick up waived Adair now that Davenport is hurt?

Congrats: Connecticut Sun guard Kara Lawson wins WNBA Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award

Congrats! (Vrooom, vrooom!) WNBA Champion Indiana Fever named Grand Marshal for 2013 IPL 500 Festival Parade

The APs Kareem Copeland writes: Fever prep for WNBA title defense

The defending champion Indiana Fever feel like they are under the radar all over again heading into the WNBA season.

The team brings back 10 players from the 2012 roster and will be trying to become the first repeat champion since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.

They have exactly been the talk of the league so far.

Almost congrats: Brittney Griner, WNBA Phoenix Mercury Player, Nominated For 2013 BET Award and Out WNBA Star Brittney Griner Tells Youth at GLAAD Awards ‘Don’t Hide It. Be Who You Are.’

Speaking of BG, some Baylor message board fans may be turning their back on her, but W fans ain’t: Brittney Griner’s arrival sees 19 percent increase in sales of WNBA merchandise

(BTW, did you catch this Baylor news: WBB coach Damion McKinney resigns and assistant Rehka Patterson also resigns).

Odeen says Diana Taurasi is glad to share Phoenix Mercury stage with Brittney Griner

The spotlight was hers and hers alone.

Was.

It shined on Mercury star Diana Taurasi for years, nearly a decade just in the WNBA. But now comes Brittney Griner, the Mercury’s new No. 1 overall pick — a 6-foot-8 phenom whose personality is just as big as her new teammate’s.

Asked to compare her spotlight to Griner’s, Taurasi didn’t miss a beat.

“It’s a lot taller.”

Ever the optimist: Gemelos still aims for WNBA career with Minnesota Lynx, coming back from 5th repair of ACL

Mechelle says Maya Moore as motivated as ever

The WNBA season hasn’t even begun, but it has already been a championship kind of year for Minnesota’s Maya Moore.

Playing in China for the first time, she led her team to a title there. Then in April, she watched her alma mater, Connecticut, win its eighth NCAA women’s basketball crown.

“Obviously the alums feel a part of it, but that was their journey, their struggle, their learning, their growing, their competing,” Moore said of the 2012-13 Huskies. “It wasn’t an easy season; there were ups and downs. But to see it come together in those two games of the Final Four, it just made me so proud.”

It’s a reminder, of course, that how you finish means everything in sports. And last season, that’s what Moore’s Lynx didn’t do well. After having the best regular-season record for the second season in a row, Minnesota wasn’t able to successfully defend its WNBA title.

From the Yakima Herald: Storm’s Clark not taking anything for granted

Many already have Alysha Clark as a lock to make the final Storm roster for 2013.

Clark, a 5-foot-10 forward, crinkles her face at the idea.

Sure, she was part of the 2012 roster. She even played a key role when injuries and the WNBA’s break for the Olympics pulled teammates out of the lineup.

However, it didn’t land her a guaranteed contract.

An act of faith: Former WNBA player Tully Bevilaqua commits to her partner

Former Indiana Fever player Tully Bevilaqua and her life partner, Lindsay Bevilaqua, are raising two children in Indianapolis and own a gym together in the city.

So when the two, who have been together for 4 1/2 years, decided to get married, they opted for a ceremony in Indianapolis rather than going to a state that recognizes gay marriage.

But in Minneapolis: Augustus looking forward to Minnesota wedding

It looks like Seimone Augustus could get her Minnesota wedding after all.

The Minnesota Lynx star has been planning to marry fiancee LaTaya Varner, but she wasn’t sure she would be able to do it in her adopted home state because gay marriage was not legal. That could change by as early as next week.

The Minnesota House passed a measure to legalize gay marriage on Thursday and there is optimism among supporters that it will pass the Senate and be signed into a law by Tuesday.

”It’s just exciting thing to see so many people support it,” Augustus told reporters on Friday, her first day of training camp with the Lynx after returning from playing in Russia during the offseason.

From Michelle Smith: Mercury ready to rebound

“Last year was the hardest, most difficult thing I’ve ever been through as a player,” said point guard Samantha Prahalis, a rookie for the Mercury last season. “Losing that much, it was tough. People would say to me, ‘Yeah, but you get to play a lot,’ and I would say, ‘No, I want to win.’

 “I was excited to get drafted to come here and play with Diana and Penny and play for titles.”

Just a couple of months later, the clouds parted. Oh, did they ever.

M&M ponder Which team will win the East?

Did you catch this? WNBA Player Puts on Astonishing Shooting Show

Hello there, lady bolter: Alabama introduces new women’s basketball coach Kristy Curry. Here’s her goal: Alabama AD Bill Battle wants women’s basketball to outgrow Foster Auditorium

WATN? Windward’s Vanessa Nygaard will help coach U16 national team. She’s joined by LaDreda Akins (Haines City H.S., Haines City, Fla./Florida’s Finest AAU), Terri Bamford (LaJolla Country Day, La Jolla, Calif./Waves AAU),and Kimberly Davis-Powell (Essence Girls Basketball AAU, Tallahassee, Fla.)

Speaking of USA Basketball: 2013 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team Trials Set To Begin With 33 Collegians – Ten USA Basketball Gold Medalists Return To Vie For Roster Spots

WATN? Semeka Randall named new Alabama A&M women’s basketball coach

WATN? Eastern Illinois hires former WNBA player Debbie Black as new head coach

Another new hire: Billi Godsey takes Iona’s reins

We still don’t know why the position became vacant, but it’s no longer open: San Diego State Hires Stacie Terry

It can be tough to play friends: ND v. Penn State - McGraw challenged by draw

Of all the teams in the Big Ten, there was one team that Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw didn’t want to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference-Big Ten Conference Challenge — Penn State.

That’s because Coquese Washington, who played for McGraw at Notre Dame and was an assistant coach for the Irish for eight seasons, is the head coach at Penn State.

“Of course, we would never schedule a game against Penn State, because I try not to play my friends,” McGraw said.

Yes, Women’s College Basketball is adopting a rule long overdue…

Speaking of rules that were overdue….here was someone who said “No” to banning girls basketball: E. Wayne Cooley, pioneer of Iowa girls sports, dead at age 90

E. Wayne Cooley, a girls’ sports pioneer who left long-lasting marks on the the state of Iowa, died Saturday of natural causes at age 90.

He ran the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the nation’s only statewide athletic association dedicated to girls, from 1954 until his retirement in 2002, overseeing generations of athletes. Under his guidance, the Union expanded from three sports — basketball, golf and tennis — to nine programs.

Flashback to 2007: Hall of fame: Cooley led the cheers

Troy Dannen, current executive director of the IGHSAU, said Cooley has the greatest business mind he’s ever known.

“He’s the epitome of the promoter,” Dannen said. “He always came up with different ways to get people into the building. It was always about more than basketball at the basketball tournament.”

Sports Illustrated came to Iowa after Title IX passed in 1972 to do a story about the effect on the state. The article concluded the change barely caused a ripple, Cooley said.

“We were 15 to 17 years ahead of Title IX,” Cooley said of what he considers his top accomplishment. “I was very proud of that. The girls had everything.”

Generations of Iowans, Branstad remember Girls Union chief Cooley

Cooley was recalled as a musician who once sat in with Harry James’ big band orchestra as it toured Iowa, an avid fan of Winston Churchill and an astute investor eager to put a hot stock tip to work.

“When Dr. Cooley came into a room, things happened,” said Craig Ihnen, executive director of the Iowa High School Speech Association, in a eulogy.

The service was attended by former all-state six-on-six basketball players like Lisa Brinkmeyer and Jan Jensen, Drake coaches Jennie Baranczyk (basketball) and Natasha Kaiser (track) and Northern Iowa director of athletics Troy Dannen. Dozens of longtime coaches and officials paid their respects.

Branstad hails Cooley as a visionary

Gov. Terry Branstad called E. Wayne Cooley a visionary who helped elevate Iowa girls’ basketball to a national phenomenon – some thing that touched Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds directly as a forward for Interstate 35 High School during the heyday of six-on-six era.

During his weekly news conference Monday, Branstad paid tribute to Cooley as a pioneer of Iowa girls’ sports. Cooley, who died last Saturday at the age of 90, ran the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union — the nation’s only statewide athletic association dedicated to girls — from 1954 until his retirement in 2002.

“E. Wayne Cooley was a visionary leader for girls’ athletics,” said Branstad. “He made it phenomenally successful.

“He was a great marketer and promoter,” the governor added. “He’s going to be greatly missed. He has a really wonderful legacy that he leaves in terms of girls’ athletics.”

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1996: VanDerveer leads U.S. women to ’96 gold

At Stanford, Tara VanDerveer and Jennifer Azzi helped transform women’s basketball from a virtual club program into a headliner and a must-have ticket at Maples Pavilion. Of course, two national championships and a pipeline of outstanding talent perpetuated the success and the popularity of the game at Stanford.

But on a national or international scale, women’s basketball had not quite caught up to what was happening in the college game, at least in pockets like Stanford. The U.S. women’s team had produced a series of disappointing results heading into 1996 – bronze medals in the 1991 Pan Am Games, ‘92 Olympics and ’94 world championships.

With the 1996 Olympics to be held in Atlanta, a concerted effort was made to raise the profile of the women’s team, which paled in the public’s imagination to the resounding success of the 1992 men’s Olympic team – the “Dream Team.”

No, really, I mean it — read Tara’s Shooting from the Outside and Sara’s Venus to the Hoop. The games don’t start for a few days. You have time, and it’ll give you a truly rich understanding of what’s going on in London.

1997: Nothing like the Reign – The Seattle Reign 1997 (Look! It’s Tari, Tari, Tari! She must be psyched about her cousin, Tayyiba Haneef-Park)

Flash forward, from FIBA’s Paul Nilsen: Thinking of Sanchez when The Games begin

When the eagerly anticipated Olympics finally swing into action later this week, my thoughts won’t only be with those ready to step out in London but also those who missed out – and none more so than Argentinian legend Carolina Sanchez.
 
Four years ago, when Argentina failed to punch their ticket for Beijing, it was a painful experience in more ways than one for the veteran. A broken nose caused a premature exit from the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and rubbed an unnecessary dose of salt into a deep emotional wound.
 
And, perhaps even more agonising and disappointing than what she endured in 2008, was the way in which she recently bowed out of international basketball altogether last month.

More from Paul and FIBA: Serbian straight talking from Jokovic

Even accounting for the cynics who will hint at political motivations whenever representatives of any Federation speak, Jokovic is direct, very much matter-of-fact and that’s a hugely appealing quality.
 
“I suppose that we have started repairing the long-term consequences of inaction and the neglect of women’s basketball,” she admitted.
 
“We have improved the financial situation, set up the system, laid the foundations to build something that we will all be proud of.
 
“But, it takes maybe two Olympic cycles of serious work to get closer to our former successes.

A great tweet from Paul: Paul Nilsen@EuroLeagueWomen

I’ve no time for the bigotry, prejudice and intolerance shown towards our women players. You know who you are. Shame on you. You’re blocked!

Paulo Kennedy: Will the Opals be first class?

Julio Chitunda: What next for Mali?

From Doug: US coaches not marching in Olympic ceremony

Don’t expect to see Geno Auriemma or Mike Krzyzewski marching with the U.S. delegation Friday night at the opening ceremony.

They aren’t allowed because Olympic organizers decided to cut down the number of people marching to shorten the ceremony.

“It really was something special to do, but to be honest the Olympics are about the athletes,” Auriemma said. “No one really remembers who the coaches were. No one remembers who coached Jesse Owens.

“I’m OK with it. The focus is, as it should be, on the athletes. They are the ones who got here and deserve the attention and praise.”

Important tweets from Doug:

With Ichiro’s trade to the Yankees; Sue Bird is now the longest tenured athlete in Seattle sports.

Turkish women’s basketball team got a strong sendoff to its first Olympics. Music blaring and 70 members of hotel staff waving Turkish flags

Just the stats, m’am: Cumulative stats from USA Basketball.

Also from USA Basketball: USA Women’s National Team Ready To Roll Into London

Geno Auriemma (head coach, USA and University of Connecticut)
Is this team shaping up to look as you expected? Yeah, I think so. We just talked a little bit about how we can’t be great at everything because we just don’t have the time to be great at everything. If we did have a couple months together, we could be great at everything because the collection of players that we have is phenominal. But the things that I thought we’d be good at, we are very good at. The flexibility that we have, the versatility that we have with this team is exactly what I thought it would be. The leadership is exactly what I thought it would be. People buying into their roles is exactly what I thought it would be. So yeah, the only downside is I wish I had three months with these guys, even three straight weeks, because it would be a lot of fun to watch.

Oi! Some Aussie video with LJ.

From Swish Appeal: 2012 London Olympics Preview: Turkey

From Lee/Full Court: London 2012: Russia — As usual, an enigma

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Gary Blair, Texas A&M
From the Dallas Morning News: Texas A&M’s Gary Blair part of women’s basketball Hall of Fame class

“The honor is humbling, and I feel I should be thanking players, assistant coaches and administrators for their belief in me instead of receiving accolades for what I consider a team award,” Blair said. “The roll call of the people that are in the Hall of Fame is mind boggling. So many of them have helped shape my life in coaching as mentors, role models, and players I have had an opportunity to coach or compete against.”

Jim Foster, Ohio State
From Mel: Foster entering Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

“It’s hard to get a grasp on the magnitude of the honor when you’ve still only recently gotten the news,” said Foster, who was informed three weeks ago by Carol Callan, the president of the Hall’s board of directors.

Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Mississippi

Jennifer Rizzotti, UConn
From Lori Riley at the Hartford Courant: Jen Rizzotti Going Into Women’s Basketball Hall Of Fame

“Jen has done more to create interest in playing basketball among girls than any other person I know,” Auriemma said. “She deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. She deserves to be in every Hall of Fame. I know she’s in mine.”

Annette Smith-Knight, Texas
From the Statesman:

“This is a privilege that comes with a lot of surprise, too. At my age, you start to think that all of the awards and honors are in the past,” Smith-Knight said. “This announcement brings such a smile to my face and brings a flood of emotions and wonderful memories of my career at Texas.”

Sue Wicks, Rutgers
From the Star-Ledger: Rutgers great Sue Wicks elected to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and an old Q&A:

WB: Have you considered how Rebecca’s injury impacted your career?

SW: Rebecca was playing 35 minutes the year before, so those minutes just came to me. I think I still played a “role” for the team. But you never know what would have happened. Maybe (new coach) Richie Adubato wouldn’t have like Rebecca’s game. That’s sports — you never can say, “Well what if this happened, what if that happened.” You’d lose so much sleep. (Laughs)

It’s a lot of luck in sports — to land on the right team, and to be there and at the right moment. You have to work hard every day until your luck arrives. Because luck does come, it’s just that sometimes we’re not prepared for it.

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Courtesy of Kim, I’ve transferred the Women’s Basketball Library to the WHB. Check it out — and send along any additions….

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There have been some concern that, with Kim closing her womensbasketballonline.com site (and it is just that – closed) that the Women’s Basketball Timeline she hosted (and I put together in a fever induced summer of googling) would disappear.

Kim and I have chatted, and she sent over the files. I’ve turned them in to a new page (see here) on the blog.

It was fun reviewing the Timeline (and it’s cool that, because the site is searchable, so is the Timeline), but I shudder to think how many of the links are broken and/or missing. And, of course, there are odd gaps in the contemporary history because neither Kim nor I had the time or brain space to keep it up these last few years. Now? Well, I guess I know what my summer 2012 project is…

I invite any and all of you to peruse the beast. Send me links. Make corrections. Suggest additions. Forward it to your Athletic Directors! On my way back from Kentucky, I ran into the very personable AD of a DIII college — he was on his way to Denver to talk alcohol and drug abuse policy. We got to speaking about what he’s finding on his campus — women team athlete’s dropping from teams, if they’re not playing during games (and occasionally becoming superb solo athletes). I brought up the history of female athletes being pushed away from team sports in to solo sports — using Gertrude, Sonja and Babe as examples, and contrasting it with women’s basketball…No surprise, he had NO idea of the history of women’s basketball, much less the “one step forward, two…maybe three steps backward” process its been simply to offer women the same right to play basketball as men do. Consider this little gem from 1919:

Tennessee: Dr. Mary Douglas Ayres Ewell, graduate of Sophie Newcomb College for Women in 1917, played under Clara Baer. Mary Ayres returned to Knoxville in 1919 and was named coach for the University of Tennessee girls’ basketball team. In March 1920, UT women students, with Ayres’ approval, requested “equal rights and privileges” with male athletes including team travel to other colleges for athletic events, increased funding for the women’s program, and representation on the Athletic Council.

Happy birthday, Title IX.

By the way, I’ve asked Kim if I can host some of her fabulous resources: the women’s basketball library and Media Tips in particular. If there’s anything else you’re going to miss, holler (womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com) and I’ll see what can be done to fill the void.

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Kim Callahan has decided to shut down her site, womensbasketballonline.com.

I would classify Kim high up in the ranks of what a friend recently identified as “amateurs who are more professional and passionate about the women’s game than most who are paid to cover or work in it.”

Those of her who’ve known her since the site was called “Chicks with Balls” can only gape and the number of early morning hours she spent gathering all the articles published online and organizing them in to one, readable page. And let’s not forget the endless extra hours she spent tabulating attendance, hunting down wnba media and team contact information, crafting her “lessons for advocacy” know as Media Tips, or hosting the women’s basketball timeline (information that has been sourced by various media outlets, big and small, not to mention numerous college students and a diverse group of history-curious individuals).

Ask her a question, and Kim has never failed to respond, either offering her information or directing you to the person who could offer you an answer.

Most people are lazy about their passions. They’ll indulge in them, but they rarely advocate for them. Kim did nothing BUT advocate.

I will miss her presence on the ‘net as much as I’ll miss her pointed humor and her constant support. The loss to women’s basketball is immeasurable.

Hey, Kim? “Chicks with Balls” rules!

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this time from Oklahoma: Pioneers with game

They’d play men’s teams — mostly a collection of area coaches, some military base teams and even some NFL players competing in the off-season to stay in shape.

And at times, not only win, but embarrass them.

“We played men and we played full court,” said Myrtle Wallace Frost of Checotah, her once strawberry-blonde hair now silver. “That was quite the transition from the days of 6-on-6 where almost to when I graduated, you could dribble and stop once before having to pass.”

A three-time all-state selection at Checotah High School, Frost, now 82, averaged “25 to 30” points a game and once scored a state-record 61 points in a game as a 5-foot-10 forward. She took her talents to the Missouri-based squad in the fall of 1948 where her pivot play in the block and hook shot with either hand marveled onlookers of the day through 1953.

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From Twin Cities/Pioneer Press: Bob Sansevere: Hall and fame find All American Red Heads, women’s basketball pioneers

Ever hear of the All American Red Heads? If you have, you know a bit more basketball history than most. (Why yes, Bob, readers of the WHB are quite informed! :-))

“This wasn’t a big outfit. This was a mom-and-pop outfit,” said former Red Heads player Diane Martinson, who lives in Lonsdale, Minn. “Ole Olson started it in 1936 and had it for 10 years. It was called the Red Heads because his wife had a beauty parlor and they were promoting the beauty parlor and the team. Back then, it was all marketing. We always wore makeup, always wore dress clothes. If you went on a date, it always was a double date.”

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From the fundraising site indiegogo:

Who else is involved

Debbie Antonelli, one of the nation’s most esteemed women’s basketball analysts, has agreed to narrate the film.  Bill Jackson, an Emmy-winning Hollywood sound mixer, has agreed to do the sound mix for the film.  They are both very talented and I’m excited to have their help.

Missed the first post about this documentary by Angela Gorsica Alford (Vandy/USA Basketball)

Granny’s Got Game is a documentary film about a senior women’s basketball team in North Carolina. These seven fiercely competitive women in their seventies battle physical limitations and social stigma to keep doing what they love. They started playing 6-on-6 basketball in the 1950s but stopped after high school as there were no opportunities to keep playing in those pre-Title IX days.  Now they must learn a new, physical style of play while overcoming the skepticism of their peers. The team has had great success together over the last two decades, winning a multitude of medals in tournaments across the country.  Just like so many younger sports teams, this one includes a bossy captain, a guard who never runs the plays correctly, a tentative post player, and a benchwarmer who wants to play more than anyone.  As teammates and friends, they support each other off the court through the difficulties that accompany aging, such as breast cancer and widowhood. These women are more than a team…they are a family. The film follows them for a yearlong season culminating in a nearly disastrous trip to the National Senior Games Championship in Houston, Texas.

If you want so support the film (donation amounts start at $10) click here.

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With a h/t for the reminder to Nate & Swish Appeal, the list of the nominees: Title IX Trailblazer Tribute For The National Association of Collegiate Women’s Athletic Administrators’ 40th Anniversary Contest:

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX on June 23, 2012, NACWAA invited athletics departments, conference offices and organizations across the nation to nominate and celebrate a trailblazer who has made significant contributions in the area of gender equity. We are pleased to announce that 25 trailblazer tribute videos were submitted and are now available for viewing on the NACWAA YouTube Channel. Direct links to each entry are listed below.

The video with the most views during the designated two-week viewing period (April 9-23, 2012) will win a $9,000 gift from the NACWAA Foundation Fund in support of its women’s athletics programs and/or female staff professional development.

America East Conference – Pat Meiser
Auburn University – Meredith Jenkins
University at Buffalo – Nan Harvey
Cornell University – Digit Murphy
Capital University – Dixie Jeffers
Dartmouth College – Josie Harper
University of Dayton – Ann Meyers
DePaul University – Jean Lenti Ponsetto
Fresno State University – Margie Wright
Hollins University – Lanetta Ware
Illinois State University – Laurie Mabry
Kent State University – Judy Devine
Lone Star Conference – Kathleen Brasfield
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Northeast Conference – Christie Rampone
Northwestern University – Kelly Amonte Hiller
University of Oklahoma – Marita Hynes
Pacific Lutheran University – Sara Officer
Princeton University – Chris Sailer
Southern Illinois University – Charlotte West
University of Texas – Jody Conradt
UCLA – Ann Meyers Drysdale
Wiley College – Janet P. Eaton
William Smith College – Pat Genovese, Aliceann Wilber and Sally Scatton
West Virginia University - Kittie Blakemore

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To the All American Red Heads, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2012

If you want more information on the All American Red Heads, go here.

A few years ago I interviewed AARH coach Orwell Moore after the passing of his wife:

The death of Lorene “Butch” Moore, 76, this past April in Caraway, Arkansas marked the passing of an important link in the slender chain of women’s basketball history. Moore amassed 35,426 points in 11 seasons with the All-American Red Heads – a team that barnstormed across the United States between 1936 and 1986.

Moore and her husband, Orwell, 84, joined the Red Heads in 1948 – she as a player, he as coach. The Red Heads played full court basketball by men’s rules, playing 175-200 games a season. Made up of high school All-Americans and college standouts and sporting “red” (real and dyed) hair, the players were serious about winning: From 1936-73, they never won less than 100 games a year. In 1953, they won 134 games. In 1972, multiple All-American Red Heads teams won 558 games and lost 84 – all against men’s teams. “We wanted to show the crowd that we could play basketball,” says Coach Moore. “And if you couldn’t play basketball, you better stay home.”

Crisscrossing the heartland of the country, the Red Heads won over fans with a combination of skill, charm and showmanship. During the half-time show, for instance, Moore would get on her knees and sink 25 free throws in a row. She could also dribble up and when she went for the lay-up bounce it off her head and into the hoop. A great pivot, Coach Moore remembers his wife as “a dynamic basketball player with a dynamic personality and a lot of quick wit.” At about 5’7″, Moore was an uncanny passer who drove opponents to distraction with her shooting ability.

Coach Moore recalls one particularly memorable moment during a game when Moore had already scored 33 points. “The boy who was guarding her – when they threw the ball in to her at pivot – he just grabbed her up and run her out of bounds,” laughs the coach. “He ran her off out of fun and called, ‘Time out! You’re out of bounds!’”

Being part of the team was a deep source of pride for both Coach Moore and his wife. Honored by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 1996, the All-American Red Heads have a permanent exhibit in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. It’s something Coach Moore knows in his heart the players deserved, not just because of their skill, but because of the sense of team and family they had.

“I want to be remembered as a Christian,” Coach Moore remembers his wife telling him. “I want to be remembered as a citizen of the United States. And I want to be remembered as an All-American Red Head.”

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(thanks to Nate) via a link on Swish Appeal: The Asian American Basketball Leagues That Helped Create Linsanity

“Basketball emerged in a segregated setting,” says Kathy Yep, a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., who spent her childhood playing in Asian American leagues just south of San Francisco. Yep is also author of the book “Outside the Paint: When Basketball Ruled at the Chinese Playground.” “People were segregated by law in terms of immigration, citizenship and marriage, and then de facto white privilege regarding housing and employment. It made sense for them to have their own leagues in part because of the segregated environment of that time period.”

When, in 2004 or so, I obsessively worked to put together the Women’s Basketball Timeline, I remember reaching out to Professor Yep as I teased out information about Japanese-American leagues on the West Coast in the 20′s & 30′s, games played (and photographed) in the internment camps during World War II, and Chinese-American teams in Massachusetts as part of the Settlement House movement. There was more stuff on the men’s teams, but there was also information on women’s leagues and players. Cool to see she has a book capturing this fascinating vein of basketball history.

Hmmm… I need to take a summer and refresh a lot of those old links…. sigh. Like that’s going to happen.

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to top off your Sunday: When she took the floor with famed Harlem Globetrotters the crowds were hooked

Picture this: A double-deck bus barnstorming the northern United States and Canada with the Harlem Globetrotters filling the upstairs and the Texas Cowgirls, a women’s basketball team, riding below.

The Globetrotters, featuring Wilt Chamberlain and Meadowlark Lemon, were black. The Texas Cowgirls were white.

The years were 1957 and ’58.

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The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame announced their inductees for 2012: Nancy Fahey (coach), Nikki McCray (player), Pam McGee (player), Inge Nissen (player), Robin Roberts (contributor) and Dawn Staley (player).

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but was too crazed this year to give the WBHOF inductees the attention they deserved.

Mechelle didn’t miss Val, though: As usual, Val Ackerman leads the way – Former WNBA president among six Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame 2011 inductees

Ackerman, an attorney who went to work for the NBA in 1988, was instrumental in helping shepherd in the existence of the WNBA. But she really does not take any credit for that; rather, she praises Stern.

“He made it happen,” Ackerman said. “He’s one of the most important figures in the history of women’s sports, and I don’t think he ever gets enough recognition for that.”

I appreciate that sentiment, and I hope Stern is also honored one day in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. But I’ve always thought that Ackerman was a pivotal figure — the right person at the right time — in women’s sports history, too.

She would never say that. I seriously doubt she has even thought about it. Ackerman is your standard high-achieving over-scheduler; someone who probably needs two Blackberries just to keep up with all her activities.

Mel has some notes on the ceremonies, but yet again I can’t make the dang page load.

Check HoopFeed for a great round up of the coverage, including

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TV Alert!

Tonight, 9PM EST on TLC: Off the Rez

And another add-on: From NPR – Mother, Daughter Prove Themselves ‘Off The Rez’

Saturday’s TLC documentary, Off the Rez, is a coming-of-age story: a drama about generations, sports, sweat, winning, losing, sacrifice, triumph and love. It’s a lot to get through in 86 minutes.

Add-on: The Miami Herald has a review: Plenty of net gains and personal losses for a budding sports star

A couple of years ago, women’s basketball fans all over the country were perplexed by Shoni Schimmel, the fireball guard who was slashing high-school opponents to ribbons all over Oregon. Practically every recruiting service in the country ranked her among the top 10 players, and dozens of colleges were begging her to join their programs. But Shoni ignored them all. She wouldn’t even take phone calls from coaches. The first date for signing a scholarship letter of intent passed, then the second, and still there was only mysterious silence from Shoni.

If fans could have seen the hours of footage being shot by director Jonathan Hock for his documentary Off the Rez, they might have understood. It’s a soul-searing tale of a teenage girl burdened with the dashed dreams and unfulfilled expectations of an entire people scarred by insults and betrayals committed years, even centuries, before her birth. It’s 120 minutes of anguished brilliance, and if you don’t watch it you’re flat-out nuts.

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From the Missourian: One of first pro women’s basketball teams recognized for blazing the trail

In the beginning, it was all about the hair. 

It was hard to notice anything else about the tall, striking women. Their bright red, coiffed hair drew blatant stares — and that was the point. C.M. Olson, who lived in Cassville, already owned a men’s barnstorming basketball team that played in small towns throughout the country, the Terrible Swedes. The women were his next basketball project. In 1936, he decided he would assemble a women’s team — the All American Red Heads — to promote his wife’s string of hair salons in Missouri and Arkansas.

The team, which went on to play until 1986, will be honored on June 11 as a “Trailblazer of the Game” at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.

Olson’s wife played with the Red Heads:

Coach Moore recalls one particularly memorable moment during a game when Moore had already scored 33 points. “The boy who was guarding her – when they threw the ball in to her at pivot – he just grabbed her up and run her out of bounds,” laughs the coach. “He ran her off out of fun and called, ‘Time out! You’re out of bounds!’”

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this time from Lois Elfman writing for Diverse: ‘Off the Rez’ Debuts at Tribeca Film Festival

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is reviewed over at SportsPage Magazine by Tara Polen: “Off the Rez” Inspires, Though Off the Mark

Of note: “Off the Rez” will air on (TLC) on Saturday, May 14th at 9pm.

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Q (aka Nate) has: 2011 International Women’s Day: ‘In The Game’ Documentary Looks At The WNBA & Title IX

Kartemquin – which produced Hoop Dreams, arguably the best documentary of all-time – is partnering with Girls in the Game, 1World Sports, Women’s Sports Foundation, and the National Women’s Law Center to launch a 2012 campaign aiming to shine a spotlight on the expanding under-representation of urban and low-income girls of color in U.S. athletics. At the center of that effort, which will coincide with the 40th anniversary of Title IX, is a documentary In The Game by veteran filmmaker Maria Finitzo, who may be most well known for her award-winning 2001 film 5 Girls.

And although the film is framed around Title IX’s 40th anniversary, it goes well beyond the standard legislative narrative and looks at the achievements that the WNBA represents and the aspirations of urban high school girls who make daily sacrifices just for an opportunity to play organized sports.

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An important history lesson from the NCAA that captures some of the passion and heartbreak that was the NCAA’s 1981 takeover of women”s championships from the AIAW. (Though there’s not a lot of discussion of how the NCAA fought tooth and nail against Title IX)

Charlotte West, an AIAW supporter and administrator at Southern Illinois, said she was “uncomfortable” throughout the debate. Grant had perhaps one of the most emotional speeches of the Convention, pleading with the delegates for “simple fairness” and “adherence to the concept that those to be governed have a right to directly determine by whom they are governed.”

“This is an opportunity for you to send a message to the leadership of this organization, and to the hundreds of women who cannot speak for themselves, that you will not take the women against their will,” she said.

Grant and fellow AIAW loyalists reported hearing pockets of booing in the crowd while they spoke and finding ugly caricatures of themselves scribbled on slips of scratch paper. (Frank and others deny hearing boos, saying the conduct in their immediate area was professional.)

“We all like people to get along, and goodness knows we had very different points of view in the AIAW,” West said. “We’d get up and argue, and you might vote one way and I’d vote another, but we were still very close colleagues. It was an entirely different feeling on the NCAA Convention floor. It was us against them.”

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From DePaul: Byears was the Total Entertainment Package – Hall of Fame Inductee a Must-See On and Off the Court

It’s hard to imagine that anyone with the nickname “Tot” could average 24.5 points and 11 rebounds over a basketball career.

But during her two-year stint at DePaul, Latasha Byears was anything but a small amount.

Byears’ grandmother initially gave her the nickname “Tot” when she was a child. But “Tot” took on another meaning while playing for the Blue Demons: Tough Ole’ Tasha.

“Tasha had a real tough exterior,” said women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno. “But what a great young woman she is—like a daddy’s little girl. She never played dirty, but also didn’t take anything [from opponents].”

This might be a good time to mention that the WNBA.com page seems to have rediscovered its history — just in time for the 15th anniversary! Now, will the have the courage to publicly acknowledge and honor the teams that have come and gone?

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First, turn up the volume!

Then, from Graham: Wendell Hudson takes Alabama home

However big the crowd for that game against Florida, the first since renovations were completed, far more people followed another first at Foster nearly five decades ago. Hudson was among them, a middle schooler in Birmingham watching on television with the rest of the nation on June 11, 1963, as Vivian Malone and James Hood arrived to register for classes, the first African-American students at the state school where the sons of slave owners sought higher education little more than a century before. Instead of passing easily through the door that day, their path was blocked by Alabama Gov. George Wallace, an avowed segregationist making a symbolic stand for the old ways that kept the university all-white nine years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Education ruled segregated schools unconstitutional.

Wallace’s “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” was, as this National Public Radio story from the 40th anniversary of the event explained, at least partly a choreographed endeavor and ended with Malone and Hood successfully registering for classes inside Foster after Wallace had his chance to publicly rail against the proceedings. Of course, few knew all that at the time, and the black-and-white photographs of Wallace defiantly obstructing Malone, Hood and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach remain some of most indelible images of the entirely real cultural conflict that unfolded in Alabama and across the South.

For a young man watching from 60 miles up the road in Birmingham, it was another crack in a crumbling wall.

From LZ Granderson: Black (and every other color) is beautiful  – The meaning found in Dr. Martin Luther King’s words and actions takes many forms

Black … is beautiful.

If reading that sentence makes you uncomfortable, then you’ve probably missed the point of Dr. King’s legacy.

If reading that sentence makes you feel superior, then you’ve definitely missed the point.

In all my years of studying the life and words of Dr. King, the one message that is abundantly clear is that you can love yourself without hating others. In fact, it’s easier to do so when you don’t.

The rest of this column are the random thoughts of an observer of race, sports and life.

I will share those thoughts with you now.

I’ve been looking for the voices of black female athletes and commentators on ESPN.com, but they’ve been hard to find. Over at espnW Adena Andrews has “Looking for answers in the house of Dr. King”

Marion Jones was on the panel (interesting choice?). Robin did some hosting, Chamique attended.

At the NVDaily, Brian Eller has Sport’s pioneers won’t be forgotten, where he writes about the amazing Althea Gibson.

From Vickie Fulkerson at The Day: For Moore, Huskies an honor to play on Martin Luther King Day and from John Altavilla at the Hartford Courant: Maya Moore On Playing Again On Martin Luther King Day

From me, a shout out to those pioneers I know about (because there are SO many I don’t know about):

Ora Mae Washington, (PA) of the Germantown Hornets, Philadelphia Tribune Girls, Savoy Colts, and Olivet Baptist Church. She rocked the basketball court (and tennis court) from the 1920′s to the 194o’s.

Institutions like Bennett College (NC). From Rita Liberti‘s article from the Journal of Sport History, “We Were Ladies, We Just Played Basketball Like Boys”: African American Womanhood and Competitive Basketball at Bennett College, 1928–1942

Bennett is a fascinating exception to the pattern of elite black colleges discontinuing basketball for women during the 1930s and, as a result, provides a unique opportunity to examine African American women’s sport history. I intend to explore the tension between a middle-class ideology, which partially supported traditional conceptualizations of gender relations, and the support Bennett gave competitive female athletic participation in basketball. Although disagreement existed within the black community concerning the propriety of female involvement in competitive basketball, Bennett College enthusiastically supported a team, becoming one of the most successful basketball programs in the nation by the mid 1930s. However, by the early years of the 1940s Bennett discontinued intercollegiate basketball, and instead focused energy and resources on intramural and play-day events. I submit that this transition not only reflected a middle-class ideology which precluded women’s participation in rigorous athletic activity, but also illustrated the multiple—and often contradictory and shifting—roles of black middle-class women during this period.

(BTW, if I recall correctly, Ora Mae and company visited Bennett — and kicked their collective butts.)

Missouri Arledge, Philander-Smith College (Ark), first black woman to play in an AAU Tournament. She was also the first black AAU All-American (1955).

Colleen Bowser, Raytown Piperettes, (Mo.) and Marian E. Washington, West Chester State University ( Pa.), first black women to play for the US in International competition (6th Women’s World Championiships, Sao Paulo Brazil, 1971). Many know Coach Washington’s resume is littered with “firsts.”

Lusia Harris, Delta State University, (Ms.) helped the Lady Statesmen three national titles (’75, ’76, ’77). Oh, and she scored the first-ever basket in Olympic women’s basketball competition.

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