In a League of Their Own
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IX in 1972, of course, changed everything. Back in the late '40s,
Tobian-Steinmann spent her days immersed in synchronized swimming
in campus aquacades. In subsequent years, women students attended
various sports classes or competed on intramural and club teams.
The federal education statute required schools to commit equal resources
to male and female students, thus spurring universities to action
in the arena of women's sports. At UCLA, the chancellor's office
quickly saw it was time to comply with both the letter and spirit
of the law, which meant the formation of the women's athletic department.
after, in 1974 -- a year marked now as the beginning of the modern
era of UCLA women's sports -- Ann Meyers '79 was given the first
full-ride women's athletic scholarship in basketball. But the department
didn't boast the most auspicious beginning. Former track athlete
Shirbey Johnson, who'd been in charge of both intramural and intercollegiate
sports as well as coaching several teams, including my basketball
squad, was named interim director, but was then passed over for
former Olympic gold-medal diver Micki King. King accepted the job
-- only to turn it down a week later.
search was more successful, landing Judith Holland, a coach and
administrator at California State University, Sacramento, in the
summer of 1975. "The men's program at UCLA had been so good for
so long -- I wanted to duplicate that for the women," recalls Holland,
who would stay at the job for the next 20 years. That first summer,
however, she spent slaving away on a manual for coaches.
can't tell you if anybody ever read it," she says, "but it was the
start of trying to organize ourselves."
Chancellor Norman Miller '39, Chancellor Charles Young M.A. '57,
Ph.D. '60 and even legendary men's athletic director J.D. Morgan
'41 were strong supporters of the department.