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Winter 1998
In a League of Their Own
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Title 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.

Soon 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.

A second 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.

"I can't tell you if anybody ever read it," she says, "but it was the start of trying to organize ourselves."

Vice 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.

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