Girls Basketball Interviews
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Girls Basketball Interviews
Born January 12, 1930 in New York and raised in Massachusetts, Dr. Mildred Barnes was involved in sports before the establishment of interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics in the United States. Dr. Barnes coached at the high school and collegiate level, and served in various leadership capacities at the state, regional, and national level. She was involved in the transition from six to five player basketball for women, the 1975 Pan-Am Games and 1976 Olympic Games team selections as well as serving on the AIAW. Dr. Barnes was inducted into the Girls’ Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Growing up in Hinsdale, Illinois, Ellyn played for one of the eight teams that competed in the first state tournaments for girl's basketball. After graduating college with a degree in history, Ellyn was an assistant basketball coach at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte from 1988 through 1994. After challenging the university about violations of Title IX, Ellyn and her partner moved to Macomb, Illinois. Throughout her career, Ellyn conducted twenty-six oral history interviews with coaches, players, administrators, and referees whose stories went hand in hand with Title IX.
Dick Biery helped implement the first girls’ basketball team at Carthage High School in Carthage, Illinois in the 1974-75 school year. He was also the team’s first head coach. He was a successful coach, taking his girls’ basketball team to the Illinois state Girls’ Basketball Tournament four times.
One of the early leaders of girls' athletics in Illinois, Ola Bundy was Assistant Executive Director of the Illinois High School Association. She believed that interscholastic sports should be the same for boys and girls. She worked tirelessly to achieve equality for girls and women in sports.
Cindy Adams Butkovich taught physical education at Richwood High School in Peoria, where she helped launch interscholastic teams for girls in basketball and softball. In 1975, she began working for the Illinois High School Association where she was instrumental in implementing the first Illinois state girls' basketball tournament in 1977. She worked with Ola Bundy during her time at the IHSA and later worked for the men's basketball program at the University of Illinois.
Linda Connelly taught at Mattoon High School in Mattoon, Illinois, where she also coached the girl’s tennis and basketball teams. Although she considered herself young and inexperienced, her 1977 girl’s basketball team made it to the first girls' state basketball tournament in Illinois.
Linda Gollan coached girls’ tennis and basketball at Hinsdale South High School in Darien, Illinois. She helped start the girls’ basketball team despite the lack of enthusiasm from the school’s administration and athletic director. Gollan left Hinsdale South before the team made it to the first Illinois state girls’ basketball tournament, but she proudly watched her former players on television.
In 1974 Christine Grant received a PhD in physical education from the University of Iowa. The previous year, the University president decided to elevate twelve women's club sports to varsity status and create a position of women's sports athletic director; Grant was hired for this position. She served as the president of the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) from 1979 to 1980, the year that it unofficially became part of the NCAA. That change was made official in 1982.
Carol Hubbard was the first girl’s head basketball coach at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois, and was one of the head sponsors for the Girl’s Athletic Association (GAA). However, Hubbard did not think the GAA was a satisfactory option and wanted to establish interscholastic sports for girls.
Jill Hutchison was the head coach for women's basketball at Illinois State University (ISU) from 1970 to 1999. She coached Charlotte Lewis and helped Lewis earn a spot on the 1976 Olympic women's basketball team. Hutchison was an advocate for girls' sports and had a long and very successful career during her time at ISU.
Marian Kneer devoted herself to promoting women's athletics. She grew up playing sports and earned her doctorate in physical education. She used her knowledge to advocate for girls' sports at Peoria East High School, where she taught from 1949-1968. Her work helped girls throughout Illinois, through committees like the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.
Charlotte Lewis was one of the most successful basketball players to ever play at Illinois State University. She was a member of the first women's Olympic basketball team in 1976, and played professional basketball for 15 years, spending time in Italy, Brazil and the United States. She paved the way for many of the women who would come after her in the sport. Her basketball jersey at Illinois State is now retired.
Jim Livengood was hired to be the Director of Athletics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale a position he would hold for two years. While at SIU he oversaw the combining the men's and women's athletics programs into a single program.
Laurie Mabry was a physical education teacher at Illinois State University and sponsored the Women’s Athletic Association there. Later, she was made the Women’s Intercollegiate Director and then the Women’s Athletic Director. In the 1970s, she was the President of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
Gail Marquis was born and raised in New York City, graduating from Andrew Jackson High School, Queens, New York in 1972. She played college basketball at Queens College, and in 1976 was selected to play on the U.S. Olympic Woman's Basketball Team, one of only four African-Americans selected. This was the first year woman's basketball was played, and the team came home with a silver medal. The entire team was inducted into the Women's Institute of Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Long-time woman's basketball coach Billie Moore is best known for coaching the US Olympic women’s basketball team at the 1976 Games in Montreal, where her team won the silver medal. She was also coach at the 1973 World University Games and the 1975 Pan-American Games. Later, Moore was the head coach for women’s basketball at UCLA until her retirement.
Carol Murray worked for Centralia High School in Centralia, Illinois from 1970 until 1993. She began the first girl's basketball team at Centralia in 1976 with little support from her administration. Murray had a successful coaching career at Centralia and even led her team to the first Illinois state basketball tournament for girls in 1977.
Dr. Carole Oglesby served as the commissioner of national championships for the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women
Jean Pankonin taught physical education at Illinois State University where she also coached badminton and tennis. She was also a nationally rated women’s official in basketball and a member of the Central Illinois Board of Women Officials for fifteen years.
Ann Penstone began her career teaching at Buffalo Grove High School in Buffalo Grove, Illinois where she was the head coach for girls’ basketball, golf, and track. She later was the head girls’ basketball coach at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She has also had a long tenure as an official and commentator for girls’ sports.
Carol Plodzien was the first girls’ head basketball coach at Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois. Before the initiation of interscholastic girls’ sports in Illinois, she was the coordinator of the Girls' Athletic Association. In 1977, her team was one of eight teams advancing to the first girls’ state basketball tournament in Illinois. The first championship tournament was at Horton Fieldhouse at Illinois State University on April 1st and 2nd 1977.
Lorene Ramsey was a pioneer in girls' athletics in Illinois. She was a teacher and coach for several different schools but is best known for her 34 year career at Illinois Central College (ICC) from 1968-2002. Ramsey was the head coach for women's softball and basketball at ICC, during the time when women's sports were gaining momentum. She coached several NJCAA National Championship teams. She was influential in getting an interscholastic basketball program started in Illinois.
Starting in1970, Karen Roppa taught at Plainfield Junior High School in Plainfield, Illinois, where she implemented the girls’ basketball and volleyball programs. In 1976, she began teaching and coaching at Plainfield High School. Roppa was an official at the first three girls’ state basketball tournaments in Illinois.
Gretchen Sauer was the coach for the first girls' basketball team at Downers South High School in Downers Grove, Illinois in 1973-1974. She only coached the girls' basketball team for three or four years but she went on to be the head softball coach at Downers South for twenty years. Sauer was an advocate for all girls' sports during this time.
Phebe Scott began working at Illinois State University in 1966. She was chair of the Women's Department at ISU and chairman of the Division for Girls' and Women's Sports (DGWS). She was also an organizer and speaker for the National Sports Institute. Scott's main goal was to educate women about equality in sports.
Cindy Scott was offered a GA position in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Women's Basketball program in 1975. She was hired as head women's basketball coach at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1977. A position that she would hold for twenty-one years.
Lynne Slouber taught and coached at Urbana High School in Urbana, Illinois and Walther Lutheran High School in Melrose Park, Illinois. She was also the girls’ head basketball coach at Hinsdale South High School in Darien, Illinois, where her team was one of eight teams advancing to the first girls’ state basketball tournament in Illinois. The first championship tournament was at Horton Fieldhouse at Illinois State University on April 1st and 2nd, 1977.
Nancy Stiff was the first head girls’ basketball coach at Arcola High School in Arcola, Illinois from 1973 until her retirement in 2005. Throughout her career, Stiff advocated the creation of girls' sports programs and was a major supporter and promoter of girls’ sports in Illinois.
Joan Streit began working at Joliet West High School in Joliet, Illinois in 1975. She was the girls' athletic director, basketball coach, and physical education teacher. Streit was ambitious and had a love for the game of basketball. She wanted girls to have opportunities in sports that she was never offered. Her team was one of eight that advanced to the first girls’ state basketball tournament in Illinois. The first championship tournament was at Horton Fieldhouse at Illinois State University on April 1st and 2nd 1977. Her team won it all the next year with the help of future Olympian and Illinois State star Cathy Boswell.
Sue Strong taught physical education at Sterling High School in Sterling, Illinois where she was also head coach of the girls’ basketball team. Prior to the creation of interscholastic sports, Strong led the Girls' Athletic Association (GAA). In 1977, her team was one of eight teams advancing to the first girls’ state basketball tournament in Illinois. The first championship tournament was at Horton Fieldhouse at Illinois State University on April 1st and 2nd, 1977. Sterling won the inaugural girl's State Championship in basketball.
Ray Torry was a vocal advocate for girls’ interscholastic sports when he held the dual position of Principal of Washington High School in Washington, Illinois and the superintendent for the Washington School System. In 1977, the girls’ basketball team at Washington High School placed second at the first girls’ state basketball tournament in Illinois. Coach Jan Smith's team was one of eight teams advancing to the first girls’ state basketball tournament in Illinois. The first championship tournament was at Horton Fieldhouse @ Illinois State University on April 1st and 2nd, 1977.
Chris Voelz played extramurals at Illinois State where she was mentored by Phebe Scott and Jill Hutchison. She went on to coach girls’ volleyball, softball, and basketball at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Illinois. Later, she became the Women’s’ Athletic Director at the University of Minnesota. After leaving the Minnesota, she combined her love of sport and fund-raising ability to create opportunities for female athletes through the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Holly Warlick played for the Nebraska Wranglers (where she was a teammate of Charlotte Lewis), a Women’s Basketball League team that won the World Championship in 1981. She later coached women’s basketball at Virginia Tech, University of Nebraska, and for decades as an assistant and associate head coach at UT-Knoxville. In the 2012-2013 season Holly took over from her mentor Pat Head Summit as the head coach at her alma mater, the University of Tennessee. Holly was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Charlotte West began teaching P.E. and coaching women's basketball at Southern Illinois University in 1957. During the 1960s she held leadership positions on the National Sports Institution Committee, the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and was the director of women's athletics at SIU. She has been a life-long ambassador for women's sports, and is widely regarded as a pioneer in the women's sports movement for almost seventy years.