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Winter 1998
In a League of Their Own
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"I truly loved that man," says Holland of Morgan, who some said wanted to keep down women's sports on campus by keeping them separate. "I think he thought they needed to be on their own for a while to grow," she says.

Holland's first budget was $263,000. ("We spend more than that now on shoelaces," she exaggerates, but just barely -- the current budget for the program is several million dollars.) She used those meager funds to hire coaches at part-time salaries -- many also had to teach at UCLA or elsewhere to make ends meet -- and gave out a few scholarships. Each year, she'd push for more funding from student-registration fees, then add more scholarships and more paid hours for the coaches. Coaches would fund-raise, too: Tobian-Steinmann helped organize celebrity golf tournaments for years, then brought in a corporate sponsor. Holland lobbied for better practice facilities, more out-of-state travel and more media coverage. She hired Daily Bruin sports editor Michael Sondheimer '77 on a trial basis in 1977 to help market the program; he never left. Today, he's associate athletic director for recruiting and is the de facto department historian.

The first coaches Holland hired proved key to the program's success -- such as volleyball's Andy Banachowski '68 (who'd been coaching the Bruin women on and off since he was still a student in 1967 but was re-upped by Holland), softball's Sharron Backus and basketball's Billie Moore. (Holland intuited early on that basketball and volleyball would be the bellwether sports for women, and she was right.) Those three hires alone coached the Bruins to 14 national championships, helped produce a half-dozen Olympic stars and orchestrated countless thrilling moments on grass and hardwood.

Later, track and field coaches Pat Connolly and Bob Kersee would gain international prominence by developing top female competitors for both UCLA and the Olympics -- among them Kersee's wife-to-be, heptathlete/long jumper (and basketball standout) Jackie Joyner-Kersee, now considered one of the greatest athletes of the past 50 years.

Three of Holland's first female scholarship athletes are now enshrined in the UCLA Hall of Fame: basketball's Meyers, who helped put both UCLA and women's collegiate sports on the map by leading her team to the 1978 national title in Pauley Pavilion; track and field sprinter Evelyn Ashford, who competed in four Olympics and won numerous medals; and softball slugger Sue Enquist, who played on the Bruins' first national championship team and has remained at UCLA as a coach.

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