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1957-1975 - The Struggle to reach critical mass for a successful women's intercollegiate sports at texas begins .

Betty Thompson acts as transition catalyst for  Longhorn women's sports from the Hiss doctrine to the Lopiano Renaissance.  For more on Betty Thompson and Donna Lopiano click on  "Sports" the "Pioneers" and "Athletic Directors".


1957-1961  Josephine Chapman is Women's Director- Pending more info.

Josephine Chapman replace Anna Hiss

1961 -1968  Sheila "Shy" O'Gara is the Women's director- pending

O'Gara takes over the Directorship of the department. She followed Hiss's core values.

1966-1967 Basketball Coach June Walker  

Basketball and volleyball are granted intercollegiate status.

The Club program under UTSA is disbanded. 

In 1966 Coach June Walker has try-outs for the basketball team. The games are played in the women's Gym. There were three  coaches between 1966 and 1973 - Dalton, Hansen, and Page.

Above picture - Mary Neikirk (#10) successfully petition the UT Administration for a intercollegiate women's basketball team. However, women's basketball was denied as a varsity sport.  Girls rules for basketball still were used.




Topping the charts is respect- an appropriate song for the future of women's sports. 







BETTY THOMPSON 1968 - 1975 transitions women's sports From  hiss to Lopiano.

Tessa Nichols stated that Betty Thompson listened to  the women students-athletes who wanted a intercollegiate sports model that copied the men's program over the wish of the key U.T. administrators who disdained the male sports mode.

1967-1968 badminton, golf , and gymnastics were formalized as intercollegiate sports

1968-1969 tennis is  recognized as an intercollegiate sport.

1969-1970 swimming becomes a intercollegiate sport.

Coach Dalton is coach of the Basketball team in 1969, 1970, and 1971

The total annual budget for the 7 varsity women's intercollegiate teams is $3000.

1971 Basketball Coach Dalton -pending more info.

"Girl rules" for women basketball are abolished and replaced with "boy rules".

1972- Basketball Coach Barbara Hansen Pending photos and content

Basketball team reaches regional AIAW tournament but can not participate due to lack of funds.

Title IX is law.  

Top of the chart in 1972 is Stevie Wonder's song Superstition




1973-1974 A very Important year for Longhorn intercollegiate women sports

University of Texas President Stephen H. Spurr requested information about the status of Women's Sports from the Chancellors of several prominent Universities. The responses varied

  • One major university chose not to pursue a women's program;

  • another had no problem with supporting the women's program;

  • another said the intramurals should be adequate enough for women;

  • one said "we are looking into the problem", and finally

  • Michigan chose to develop a women's intercollegiate program that was " strictly amateur" which meant no recruiting and no scholarships . The committee at the University of Michigan was concerned that the men's intercollegiate was to "commercial" and did not want to repeat that mistake with the Women's sports program.

Donna Lopiano agreed with the  University of Michigan and chose to establish a women's intercollegiate program based on education first and sports second.   The University of Texas would not recruit or offer scholarships to women. 


The first AIAW (Association For Intercollegiate Athletics for Women ) Delegate Assembly was held in Overland Park, Kansas from November 4th  through the 6th of 1973 . 

The National championship sports  for 1973- 1974 included"

  • Badminton

  • Basketball

  • Golf

  • Gymnastics

  • Swimming and Diving

  • Track and Field

  • Volleyball



This comment was sent in a letter to the UT President Spurr from Betty Thompson after he rejected the special committees recommendation in the Athletic Council  to merge the women and men's 's program into one athletic department. Instead the Athletic Council suggested a "separate and distinct" department for intercollegiate athletics for woman. On the surface  this decision seems to be positive for the independence of women's sports from men's sports, but in reality this decision made the success of  the new intercollegiate women's athletic department problematic. Starting from scratch to fund the Women's Athletic department reduced the chances of building a successful women's program. Betty Thompson knew that success would require tremendous sacrifices  from both the players and coaches.

Even with all the perils that lied ahead for women's intercollegiate sports at Texas, Betty Thompson accepted the job as the interim Athletic Director for women. One of Betty's first jobs was to formulate the first budget request for the new Athletic department.  By her estimates the women's program would need  $94,850 dollars for the first year. That budget request was less the the football programs annual phone bill, but it was rejected and reduced to $50,000 with supplemental funds added from a voluntary student fee for women's athletics.

In addition to intercollegiate sports interim Woman's Athletic Director, in 1973  Betty Thompson  merged men and women intramurals into the "Division of Recreational Sports" with Betty Thompson as Director.

Betty Thompson first two hires for head coaches of varsity sports were Rodney Page for basketball and Pat Patterson for women's swimming.  


Coach Rod Page 1973-1976  45-28 Record

1974- 7-11 Record 

1974  is the first year the women's basketball team received the services of professional trainers, cheerleaders, and the UT band. 

 Betty Thompson starts the process of looking for the women's athletic director. Comments from several Universities are  below.

On December 1, 1974 Betty Thompson sent out a letter asking for applicants to fill the position of the A.D. of the University of Texas Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.  The starting salary was $18,000.  Illinois State , Ball State, Southern Illinois , The University of Massachusetts, and Indiana State posted the job opportunity. 

Cathy Self Morgan entered The Longhorn Hall of Honor in 2004.  She was one of Rodney Page recruits in the first years (mid-70's) of Longhorn women's basketball. The video below tells her compelling story after leaving Texas.

1975 17-10 Record  Coach Page 1975 17-10 Record  Coach Page

  • Texas receives the Babe Didrikson Award from 1977- 1982 for the best overall women's athletic program

  • Scholarships are offered for the first time.

  • The team makes their first plane trip.

  • Team advances to state AIAW tournament

On June 13, 1975  Betty Thompson wrote a letter to President Lorene Rogers expressing her concern about a NCAA report that could undermine the AIAW's ability to continue as the rule making body for women's intercollegiate sports.   

Betty Thompson moved  all administrative functions of the Division of Recreational Sport from Anna Hiss Gym to Gregory Gym Annex.  Betty Thompson as Director won the Babe Didrikson awards for Best Athletic Department in 1975 and 1976. 

Texas also receives the Babe Didrikson Award from 1977- 1982 for the best overall women's athletic program

Title IX  gives women equal opportunity but not equal amenities. Budgets controlled the amenities and the women's programs had very few resources. During road games the team often stayed at a family members' house sleeping on the floor and couches.


The players sometimes had to sleep three to a bed. Pam Hoerster said "We had to buy our own shoes and parents fed us".  

Pam participated in the program's first-ever women's basketball team in 1974-75. Pam's teams had to fight for recognition and accommodations. 

Coach Page even had his mother cook a traditional southern meal of red beans and rice, cornbread, and greens for the team when the Longhorns visited his hometown in Houston.  

Texas women start to practice and play in the Gregory Gym. 

  • Coach Page with the support of Leon Black -the head coach of the men's basketball team- moved women's basketball games from Gregory Gym annex to Gregory Gym. 

  • Coach Black also sharesd some of his budget to buy supplies and equipment for the women and permitted the women's basketball team use of the trainers for games.  He also helped  promote the women's basketball program by allowing the women to play before the men's game.  These kind of gestures increased attendance at the Lady Longhorn games which heighten the morale of the players.      

  • The University of Texas President Stephen Spurr announces the beginning of the Women's Athletic Department with a budget of $50,000 replacing the UT Sports Association. 

 Click on site below to learn more about Coach Page






Picture of the first women's basketball game under Title IX is to the left.











1976 21-7 Record-  Coach Page LAST YEAR

Donna Lopiano is hired as the first Women's Athletic Director. The History of Lopiano's reign as Women's Athletic Director is chronicled on  the "Pioneer" page under "Donna Lopiano" and "Athletic Director. 

Retha Swindell is the first Texas Woman's black player; first Longhorn All American in Basketball, and first black captain.