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When it became evident that the coaches were also teachers being compensated through the School of Physical Education, that issue became moot. Volleyball and swimming were added the following year, with softball and track and field and cross country introduced in subsequent years.
Toward the late s, however, when the Mountaineer women were forced to play stronger schedules, there was a greater need to recruit more talented and more skilled players to remain competitive. That meant pursuing student-athletes of all races. It also meant providing more financial and scholarship support, which was severely lacking in those early years.
Their individual stories are like those old Russian nesting dolls; each one you open reveals another doll, or another story - some uplifting and inspiring and, yes, some sad and unfulfilling. Like it did for many young women of that era, Title IX enabled Cheryl to participate in organized sports for the first time in the mids. Her freshman year in high school she remembered having to use a softball instead of a shot put, and the opportunity to do something like that in college seemed totally foreign to her at the time. It was an opportunity, albeit one under Spartan conditions. What mattered most to Cheryl and her teammates when they became an official University-sponsored team in was they were finally getting uniforms!
And, more importantly, they also had a real coach — Linda King. What a novel concept. I even got a varsity jacket, and I still have it! Horace and his wife, Geraldine, became the surrogate parents to many, many Black WVU students and athletes during that era. I was an Army brat, and my father raised me to believe the only difference between us and a Caucasian person was the amount of pigment in our skin.
We all have red blood. Tanya White-Woods felt the same way growing up 10 miles down the road from Cheryl in Charleston. When she was a little girl, she loved basketball so much that she would pedal her bicycle all over the city looking for pickup games, sometimes going from Kanawha City all the way over to Dunbar. Back then, there were no pick-up games for girls to play so she had to take matters into her own hands. Lowell Harris was a good playground player who ended up at King College. Dennis Harris played at Morris Harvey.
The SSAC eventually reversed its decision and permitted Watson to play in the state tournament, and the Mountain Lions won another state title, so recalls my good buddy and Charleston sports authority Frank Giardina. She held her own playing against us - and she dominated the women.
Her squad finished fourth in the state tournament its first year Women for men in Julian West Virginiaimproved to second in and finally won it in Many of the teams West Virginia began playing in the late s were much stronger, more athletic, more skilled and more seasoned than what they had faced in the WVIAC. Tanya played basketball at Charleston High, but girls games in West Virginia took place in the fall to avoid scheduling conflicts with the boys, which meant that their exposure to college teams was severely limited.
He would watch Boston Celtics games on the weekends and then try to incorporate some of what he learned into those Charleston High girls games on Thursday nights. According to Tanya, Kittie never saw her play in person. She relied on a recommendation from her close friend Helen Haworth, the preeminent female sports authority in the Kanawha Valley at the time. In addition to receiving an athletic grant, Tanya also qualified for a Board of Regents scholarship, which meant Kittie could work the system a little bit. If Tanya was willing to forfeit her athletic scholarship and accept the Board of Regents grant, that meant Kittie could put another deserving player on scholarship — basically a three-for-two deal.
When White-Woods began playing with the other team members, it was clear right away there were ificant stylistic differences. She appeared in 20 games her freshman season, was one of the top players coming off the bench as a first-year player and provided a spark in several of the games the Mountaineers won that season. Kittie had had the basketball team for four years, I believe, and they had basically the same group of girls there.
My year was the first year they really had new blood coming into the program. White-Woods admits there was some gossiping going on within the team that sort of took on a life of its own. She believes that played a role in her being cut from the squad when she was asked to try out again for the team right before the season started in October. White-Woods said she was later asked if she would like to continue her basketball career at WVU, but she felt things had become too awkward for her to continue. Keep in mind, there was no support system in place here or anywhere else to address these types of issues back then.
There were no sports psychologists, no student-athlete enhancement coordinators nor diversity training programs in place for players and coaches. The few times that I tried to discuss these things I was shut down.
The athletic department then consisted of about 25 or 30 employees made up mostly of middle-aged white men. Where was Tanya to go for advice and counseling? And, where could Kittie go to help her better understand the generational and cultural differences now coming into play on her teams? Some of the student assistants working in department at the time were simply not equipped to handle the responsibility of working on a personal basis with, and year-old college players. After her one season playing at WVU, she remained in school for another couple of years until she married her now ex-husband and moved with him to Canada where he played professional football.
Tanya returned to Morgantown to continue her education during the spring semesters before eventually moving to Hamilton, Ontario, year-round. She enrolled at McMaster University and was going to continue her basketball career there until she got pregnant with her son, Julian. Julian, by the way, came to WVU and earned a law degree. He is currently working as human resource director at the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Tanya has also enjoyed a successful professional career. For many years after leaving WVU, she continued to play in AAU and rec leagues, oftentimes driving to Richmond to play games on the weekends before returning to Charleston for work on Monday mornings.
She kept a pair of high-top sneakers in her car and would often change from a business suit into her basketball clothes to play evening pickup games at the local gym.
She remembers once going through preseason practices and then right before the start of the season being locked out of the gym before the first game. Now 61, White-Woods said she played and coached Senior Olympics basketball until a few years ago when her knees became too bad to continue. My brother Adrian attended WVU. College basketball may not have worked out for Tanya, but her brief time playing for the Mountaineers did help many others who came after her. And, Kittie unquestionably learned a great deal from her one-year experience with Tanya.
Junior college star Janice J. Drummonds and Frederick, Maryland, prep sensation Cathy Parson arrived in and enjoyed hall of fame careers at West Virginia. Bradley, from Bradenton, Florida, was a wonderful player for the Mountaineers in the early s and became a WVU Sports Hall of Fame member, as is Georgeann Wells, who earned national fame for becoming the first woman to ever dunk a basketball in a college game.
Three decades later, four-year WNBA performer Bria Holmes is probably the most talented performer to ever put on at Mountaineer uniform. Tanya understands completely that her experience as a college basketball player in the late s was part of a passing of the culture, as you often hear today. But insensitivity matters. Words not chosen carefully can be wounding, sometimes permanently. Something uttered some years ago in passing may have been long-since forgotten, but not necessarily by its recipient.
Which begs the question: Would she have rather come of age 40 years later, with so many more opportunities Women for men in Julian West Virginia women in sports today? Tanya said she once sat down with Kittie years ago, and they had a good cry together. And, most recently, Joanna Thompson became a member of the rowing team innot too long after rowing became an athletic-department sponsored sport at WVU.
Blakemore Passes Away. The use of software that blocks hinders our ability to serve you the content you came here to enjoy. We ask that you consider turning off your ad blocker so we can deliver you the best experience possible while you are here. But it was in when an idea became a law. She simply just wanted an opportunity to continue competing in athletics after high school. Cheryl Nabors lettered two years for the West Virginia University women's track and field team and set a school record in the shot put WVU Athletics Communications photo.
Submitted photo. That meant Kittie needed more of those types of players in order to remain competitive. Tanya said she agreed to do it. Following her freshman season, Tanya did not make the squad in In whom could she feel totally comfortable confiding? But she could never quite give up basketball. But her love and devotion to West Virginia University never wavered. West Virginia's Georgeann Wells was the first player to dunk a basketball in a women's college game on December 21, against the University of Charleston AP photo. Just like those old nesting dolls … when opened, each has her own personal story to tell.
Shirley Robinson - Tennis. Verneze Moore - Cross Country. Yvette Clark - Gymnastics. Valerie and Vanessa Patterson - Swimming and Diving. Stacey Adams - Soccer. Nikki Hardy - Volleyball. Joanna Thompson - Rowing. Ad Blocker Detected.
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