THE NAVIGATION TOOL TO HISTORICAL PAGES ON THIS WEB SITE ARE AT THE TOP OF THIS SCREEN SHOWN IN WHITE FONT ON A BURNT ORANGE BACKGROUND.
THE SITES ARE "TLSN", "SPORTS", "GUEST WRITERS", "MISSIONS", "ARTICLES" , "LOST TOO SOON", AND "SENTRY"
Women's Sports History 1896-1977
Anna Hiss Favorite quote "A Sport for Every Girl and every girl in a sport"
Most of the research for the history of Longhorn women's sports was derived from books written about Longhorn sports. All of the books are listed in the credit section on this website.
In addition to these books there is one study and one thesis that discuss in detail the evolution of Women's sports at the University of Texas. Miriam Richards writings delivered as part of the Capstone project in 2012, and Tessa M. Nichols, B.A. thesis written in 2007 titled Organizational Values and Women's Sport at The University of Texas, 1918-1993 add much needed professional depth to the the history of women's sports at UT Austin. Tessa Nichols thesis is one of the first attempts by any individual to historically and empirically discuss the influence of the Longhorn Women's sports leaders Anna Hiss, Betty Thompson, and Donna Lopiano. Miriam Richards link and a summary page of Tessa Nichols thesis are in the credit section and their comments are incorporated into the History of Longhorn sports on the TLSN site.
This link takes you to Miriam Richards insightful work on the history of Longhorn women's basketball. The link is on the the Lutcher Stark Center web site- http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/33089/An-Evolution-Texas-Womens-Basketball/
It is stated in a report titled "A History of Women in Sport Prior to Title IX" Submitted by Richard C. Bell, Ed.D., J.D that prior to the 1870's women sports were recreational rather than competitive. It was believed that each human had a fixed amount of energy. If this energy were used for physical and intellectual tasks at the same time, it could be hazardous (Park & Hult, 1993). Horseback riding for pleasure, showboating, and swimming became fashionable, but women were not encouraged to exert themselves. Such physical activity for a woman was thought to be especially hazardous during the time of month she was “periodically weakened” In 1874, as women were beginning to gain access to higher education, Dr. Edward Clarke published Sex in Education; or, A Fair Chance for Girls, which sparked a tenacious and acrimonious debate about the capacity of women for physical activity. He stated that, “both muscular and brain labor must be reduced at the onset of menstruation” ( p. 102). Manipulating science to reinforce established dogma prevailed for many years in spite of repeated examples of women who were perfectly capable of performing physical feats and intellectual tasks. Many early opportunities for women to engage in physical activity were thwarted as a result of this dogma (Park & Hult).
1896 Stanford and Cal Berkley basketball teams compete for the first intercollegiate championship
The 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris introduces women's events, offering golf, tennis, and croquet.
The history of Women's Sports at the university of texas
Pearl Norvell is Directress of gymnastics.
January 13, 1900 Pearl Norvell organizes the First Women's basketball game at UT. Miriam Richards writings at the Stark Center state that "Ideson and Whitis coed teams played four rudimentary 10-minute quarters in the basement of the old Main Building. Whitis won by a final score of 3-2. This first game set into motion the emergence of basketball as a popular sport at UT, especially among women."
Pearl Norvell is in the center with the ball.
1901- Women's Basketball chooses different rules than men's basketball
- In 1901 the men's basketball game is considered too rough for women so different rules are established. The players are assigned to one of three sections (see diagram below) and once a player is assigned a position she cannot move from that section. Only 3 dribbles per individual are allowed, and the player can only hold the ball for 3 seconds. Full court sprints or fast breaks were not part of the women's game.
- These rules are implemented to reduce too much exertion which at the time many thought could "break something" that might hurt a players chance of being a mother. It is also thought that too much exercise "weakened" the womanly functions.
- Dr. William Howard cautions "no girl with a nervous temperament should go into any athletic contest" because sports place a strain on the nervous system.
Competition for Coach Norvell's Longhorn team consist of high school teams and the Austin YMCA. Women are instructed to not seek Individual recognition for their athletic skills.
Miriam Richards says that "At the end of the 1902 season, The University's chose the first "all-star" team. The team receives recognition from the Texan, Cactus, and University Record publications as the varsity squad. Pearl Norvell serves as the coach and has eight players compete against the "Town Girls." The UT all-star team wins 7-4, with observers paying a 10-cent admission fee. However, men are not allowed to watch so many peered through the windows of the gym and cheered."
Miriam Richards states "With enthusiasm for playing basketball growing, Director Aden and the Dean of Women -Helen Marr Kirby- keep a close eye on developments of basketball at UT. Basketball teams are not allowed to play off campus and several contest are cancelled due to unidentified "unfortunate incidents" in the inter-class games.
In October 1903, the Woman’s Building opened as the University’s first residence hall for women. Many lawmakers were opposed to spending $50,000 on construction of a dorm for women thinking that college women needed more supervision therefore should stay with Austin families. A tie vote in the House required the Speaker to cast the deciding ballot to approve funding.
The basement of the Woman’s Building was a gym with pool, exercise area, dance classes, basketball, and running track.
Louise Wright replaces Pearl Norvell as Director of Physical Training. She helps organize a student run Women's Athletic Association to coordinate all UT women's sports.
She is instrumental is starting the tradition of awarding letters to Tennis players in 1904 and basketball players in 1906.
Texas women host their first out of town competition. The Texan promotes the game as a contest between Baylor and Texas ,but the game is actually against Belton High School. Texas wins 12-6.
Physical training at U.T. becomes a requirement for all women students.
Louise Wright is instrumental in starting the tradition of awarding letters to qualifying women Tennis players.
1905-1921- Eunice Aden
Eunice Aden is named named Director of Physical Training
Eunice Aden is instrumental in building a outdoor basketball court and the women's gym. She also continues to build on the tradition that recognizes players accomplishments with "T" sweaters and blankets.
Miriam Richards research states that "Under the guidance of the Director of Women's Physical Education, Eunice Aden, recreational activities expanded". Basket ball teams are formed for each class (freshman, sophomore,... etc.) During this period basketball was the only sport with an intercollegiate component, but it is still primarily an intramural and inter-class event. "T" pins, letter sweaters, and a "Texas blanket" are awarded to those students who achieve the highest levels of participation based on a point system which is considered a significant achievement for female athletes on campus."
"Letters" are approved for Women's basketball
The Texas women's basketball team plays Its First Intercollegiate Game Against Southwestern University On Feb. 18th, 1907. Texas Loses 19-18.
1907 Tennis Club
Image of the 1908 women's varsity team is from the Dolph Briscoe Center
1909 and 1910
1914- North Hall for Women's athletics
N. Hall known as the "shack" was acquired for women's athletics. Here is where the UT women's basketball players practice and play for over 15 years. Staying true to the ideals of the time, N Hall has little standing room for spectators- particularly men.
Thru the mid-1920s women were expected to dress fashionably and only allowed to clap, sing, and wave pennants. Yell leaders led only men in cheers. Any women caught "yelling" brought swift condemnation from the Dean of Women.
It was considered “un-ladylike” for co-eds to get too rowdy so they only watched the football rallies. Yell leaders directed the group (sorry, ladies – men only!) in cheers. “Texas Fight!” and “Go, Horns, Go!” were not among them. Instead, one of the most popular was the Rattle-de-Thrat Yell:
The program included rousing speeches by the head coach and team captains, UT president, and several deans. Students performed skits that often poked a little fun at the faculty.
1920 Longhorn Sports
The "T" sweater
1921-1957 Anna Hiss Heads The Women's Physical Education Department.
In 1919 and 1920 Anna Hiss supports the creation of the W.A.A. a student let Women's Athletic Association. Tessa Nichols states in her thesis that "the promotion of student involvement in the governing bodies of women's collegiate sport was one of Hiss's strongest and most commonly overlooked convictions."
Top of the charts 1921
Texas Woman's University offers the first Texas degree program for physical education.
Texas Woman's University offers the first Texas degree program for physical education.
In Tessa Nichols thesis titled Organizational Values and Women's Sport at The University of Texas, 1918 -1992 she states that Anna Hiss has to deal with societies "fear of the masculinization of female athletes". Hiss's tenets focus on "individual activity" played in moderation in a strictly female space with the goal of promoting "health , fun , and sportsmanship" "without fear of sexual harm or the taint of masculinity." "The underlying principle" for women's sports is to "play for play's sake".
Hiss continues to de-emphasize team competition in the sports curriculm.
Only the 20 best UT swimmers make the Turtle club.
1922 Women's World Games, held in Paris, included the first regular track and field competitions for women.
Anna Hiss is instrumental in forming a state physical education association for women.
The inter-class basketball team above won the first Co-op silver loving cup.
Tennis competition is set up on a ladder system. Lower individuals on the ladder can challenge higher people. If the challenger wins she replaces the higher seeded individual.
UT Austin creates a college of Physical Education.
PH.D. D.K. Brace is the first head of the Department of Physical Education. He develops the first Master's and Doctors degree programs in Physical education in Texas. (data from the "History of Physical Education in Texas: an analysis of the Role of D.K. Brace." Ph.D. dissertation , USC 1967) .
AAU has the first -ever national women's basketball championship.
Clubs are the primary source of inter-group sports competition. The clubs goal is to help "girls" who complete the physical training courses enhance their skills and compete with the best anywhere. The governing body is the Women's Athletic Association.
The first course of study for women in physical education is implemented. Physical Education credit toward high school graduation was accepted, but the credits did not count toward admission to college.
The Texas relays features a marathon for women only. The media promotes this event as "A race which has no parallel in Texas sporting history". No Texas Longhorn women participates in the Texas Relay marathon, but the fact there are Women Marathon runners proves that women are capable of competing in "stressful" sporting events.
Anna convinces the University administration that UT is falling behind other major universities in the development of on campus women sports facilities.
1931 - Coach D.A. Penick celebrates a Tennis Conference Championship
two new on Campus gyms are completed
1931 – Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned women from professional baseball in America. He felt that he needed to after a seventeen-year-old pitcher Virne Beatrice “Jackie” Mitchell stroked out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game.
Gregory Gym for men and Women's gym are completed. Anna's physical training department is moved to the College of Arts and Sciences and the U.T.S.A. (University of Texas Sports Association) is formed .
The Women's Gymnasium was built during the depression to support the physical well being of up to 3500 women Hiss played a crucial component in planning its construction having traveled around the country to examine existing gymnasiums. Women's Gym was completed for $400,000 and the facility included squash, handball, and basketball courts, dance studios, an archery range, a large swimming pool, and faculty offices. Hiss intentionally built undersized basketball courts to discourage spectators from watching, and positioned the baskets directly on the wall to keep athletes from playing out of control.
The Women's Gymnasium is "Considered one of Anna Hiss's lasting achievements and a model facility during its day".
Daniel Allen Penick,a distant cousin to Harvey Penick, is the first official Women's Tennis Coach at Texas.
Top of the charts
1933 is A significant year in the history of UT women's sports
In 1933 Anna Hiss convinces the Board of Regents to add a dues paying women's club sports program to the College of Physical activities. The sports include:
- Texas Turtles-Swimming
- Racquet Club-Tennis
- Touche- fencing
- Poona- badminton
- Strike and Spare- bowling
- Triggerettte- riflery
- Canter- riding
In addition the women sports programs also include baseball, track, basketball, long distance hiking, rowing, and horseback riding.
Tessa Nichols states in her thesis that Hiss "stepped out in a new direction that had not been previously tested at other universities." The reason for the change is to "create more opportunity for advanced skill development in a "club" environment. While Hiss supported the Sports Club format, her lack of record keeping for the Club's speaks volumes of her innate beliefs stated by Tessa Nichols that "serious female athletes were still a highly transgressive concept nationwide". For this reason Anna Hiss chooses not to record the history of skilled members of the "club" format. This decision deprives the University of Texas an opportunity to celebrate great women Longhorn athletes from this era. Their unrecorded stories have created a major void in the history of women's sports at the University of Texas.
The addition of Sports Club results in a necessary split from UT Austin intramurals. Longhorns Woman's intramurals continues to develop an organizational structure based on competition between , sororities, dormitories, independent groups , and awards and honors were presented at the "T" banquet.
In 1936 Tex Robertson raises money for the UT men's swim team travelling the state of Texas (no women's team in 1936) by charging admission to see a travelling aquatic show and a beauty pageant contest.
Tessa Nichols states in her thesis that "physical educators" abhorred the emergence of women city and industrial sports leagues because " they were run by men, emphasized intense competition....., and were produced for economic profit." Cahn says "They" (physical educators) "classified " the industrial and city leagues - composed of ".... working class, rural, and black youth-club, industrial, and semiprofessional athletics - as unladylike and unnatural for women". Hiss's definition of lady like in female sports champions the "middle class" not the formation of industrial and city leagues.
Hiss publishes an article titled Girls Basketball Leagues; What About Them -and Our Responsibilities. According to Tessa Nichols, Hiss wants to reshape the women city and industrial leagues to conform to the Universities definition of women sports. Hiss "urged her colleagues to pursue involvement and opportunities of affiliation that would enable us to assist in these league tournaments". Hiss's goal is to "infuse leagues with optimal standards", and "minimize exploitation of women by men".
Incredibly, Hiss decides to add a "posture" contest to the portfolio of women sports.
1937 Betty Jameson enters UT and Harvey Penick gives her golf instruction. Betty is the first women to every qualify for a men's varsity high school golf team in the state of Texas. In 1938 Betty Jameson wins the intramural golf championship at Texas.
Jane Dillard trains with Tex Robertson and sets the American and world records in the 100 breaststroke.
1943 - Women's professional baseball replaced mens professional baseball during the war
Betsy Rawls is a freshman at Texas and studies physics. Harvey Penick molds her into one of the greatest golfers of all time. Betsy loved Harvey. She said "his interest in students for their own sake rather than for the sake of his own reflected glory" won her over. Thru the years Betsy refers many other women golfers to Harvey .
Jane Patterson is a pioneer in women’s aquatics and is the first Texas female to wear a tank suit. Undefeated from 1947-1955, she held every major state record when she retired.
Jane is inducted into the Texas Swimming Hall of Fame for her contributions to the sport as a swimmer, coach, and supporter of swimming in Texas.
Professor Hiss is awarded a honorary doctorate from Boston University.
Betty Jameson and three other women form the LPGA. Betty is in the first induction class to the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Top of the Charts 1949
The high school physical education association decided to get involved with women's basketball by supervising the competitive activity. Rules were established for women's basketball and a playoff system organized and sponsored for Class A and Class B high school.
Hiss description of women's sports as a "Play Day" is challenged. Paraphrasing Tessa Nichols the issue of whether to sanction intercollegiate activities peaks in the 1950's . "Ideologies of women's sports and physical activity were changing". Female student athletes not the coaches led this campaign for more competitive opportunities. Women start to rebel against the stereotypical broiler plate description of a woman's role in society as "domestic".
Women are excelling at school and at work and the public's fear of powerful woman starts to wane. A significant catalyst for the change in the perception of women's sports in the USA is triggered by the Russian's successful women's Olympic program. The USA is embarrassed by the performance of USA women athletes against Russian women, and the USA responds by opening a number "of fronts to broaden female participation in international competition".
By 1954 21,000 girls were participating in League basketball and 8,700 in tennis. (data from the "History of Physical Education in Texas: an analysis of the Role of D.K. Brace." Ph.D. dissertation , USC 1967)
The Balloon fundraiser
After Intercollegiate women sports are sanctioned funds to compete were "minimal to non-existent." Capitalism resolves that problem. A fund raising event is formed to sell balloons for 25 cents each at the UT home football games. The balloons purchased are then released after Texas made their first touchdown. Some balloons never have the opportunity to be released in the 50's. Regardless, the balloon fund raiser is a success and allows for a "limited travel budget" for Longhorn women.
1957 another key year in the history of women's sports
Professor Hiss resigns her Directorship at Texas.
Under the leadership of Anna Hiss Intramural sports are thriving with "23 tournaments in 18 activities."
Collegiate women seeking greater athletic opportunities moved closer to their goals in 1957, when the long-entrenched official position statement of the Division for Girls and Women in Sport (DGWS) was amended to state that intercollegiate programs “may” exist. In 1963, the DGWS view of women in sport evolved further to state that it was “desirable” that intercollegiate programs for women exist (Gerber, et al., 1974).
Top of the Charts 1957
Reflection- Women Longhorn Sports 1921-1957
Tessa Nichols states in her thesis that Anna Hiss had a "remarkable level of success during her tenure at the University of Texas." She defends Anna Hiss from the "many scholars (who) are quick to criticize 20th century physical educators for their traditionalist and overly protective beliefs, without giving adequate acknowledgement to the roots of their beliefs or to the accomplishments of their programs" that ultimately paved the way for Betty Thompson and Donna Lopiano's success's.
During Anna's early years as "Director" she was influenced by prominent women such as First Lady Lou Henry Hoover who believes that women's sports should focus on "artistry.... over Athleticism". The dogma of this era stated that competitive team sports were detrimental to a woman's health. For this reason, many women and men opposed women participating in intercollegiate athletics.
Miriam Richards research at the Stark Center states that Anna was "steep in the nationwide philosophies of womanhood and femininity related to physical activity". Hiss thought that competitive basketball fell outside of the parameters of a sanctioned sport for women. She felt that basketball was unfeminine and dangerous and therefore the Hiss doctrine strove to develop and maintain basketball as simply a sport of enjoyment.
Sports that reflected her doctrine included tennis, golf, archery, swimming and interpretive dance. For almost a century society believed that a woman's body should be protected from the stress of too much competition, and that women's sports should reflect "modesty and dignity".
Her credo for women sports included :
- moderate physical activity;
- a de-emphasis on competition among women;
- a focus on inclusive participation over individual achievement; and
- female-run space to protect athletes from the commercialization and professionalization that was common in the "male model" of sports."
In many ways Hiss was a leader in the development of women's sports at UT, but in many other ways she was a follower. In reality the true trend setters for the women's movement in sports are colleges and high school coaches who challenged the assumption that women should not compete in "stressful" team sports. Only after the Texas UIL's decision to reinstate competitive women team sports, the success of colleges that promoted competitive team sports for women, and the AMA's endorsement of women competing in "aggressive" team sports did the University of Texas finally concede that "stressful" competitive team sports are not detrimental to the "weaker" sex.
By 1967 the myths about women and sports were dispelled and UT Austin Women's sports program begins to flourish.
Jo Chapman takes over as interim Director of Intramurals followed by Shiela O'Gara and Carolyn Hewatt. More content on these individuals is pending
By 1967 the women’s movement in sport was rapidly moving toward a status more in line with men’s athletics. In 1969, a schedule of national championships for women’s sports was announced that included gymnastics and track and field. Swimming, badminton, and volleyball followed in 1970 and in 1972, basketball was added. Women wanted an institutional membership organization similar to the NCAA. The CIAW was replaced by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) in 1971. This set the stage for the struggle to control women’s athletics in the 1970s between the AIAW and the NCAA (Gerber, et al., 1974).
1961 at the top of the charts
In the early 1960s, the membership in the "club" format declines. The "Clubs" want more competitive opportunities so in 1966, after a petition from two sets of students to set up intercollegiate volleyball and basketball teams, the UTSA club format is declared defunct and intercollegiate competi
1963- An Important year in Longhorn women's sports
The Division of Girls and Women's Sports officials changes the "statement of competition" to encourage intercollegiate sports competition. The new direction by the DGWS supports a organizational set-up that is equal to but separate from the men's intercollegiate athletic department.
In 1966 Coach June Walker has tryouts for the basketball team. The games are played in Women's Gym. There are three basketball coaches between 1966 and 1975- Dalton, Hansen, and Page.
In 1966 the women Longhorns also started intercollegiate competition under the Division of Recreational Sports in volleyball.
The total budget for the two sports for the first year was a laughable $700. It was not enough to cover all of the costs so faculty members volunteered as coaches on a non-pay basis and the team members shared a set of handmade uniforms, paid for their own transportation expenses, played on the undersized courts at the Women's Gym, and used second hand equipment from the physical education department. Regardless of the obstacles but 1966 and 1967 represent positive defining points in the History of the U.T. women's sports.
In 1969, a schedule of national championships for women’s sports was announced that included gymnastics and track and field. Swimming, badminton, and volleyball followed in 1970 and in 1972, basketball was added.
Page Elizabeth Bauerkemper in her 2013 report titled Beyond Sports: A Guidebook for Potential Collegiate Female Student -Athletes states that In 1972 there were only 32,000 women on college teams receiving 2% of the athletic budget. Title IX was about to change that percentage.
Hiss's policy of moderation in women's sports which was the founding principle for women's sports most of the 20th century slowly loses favor with student athletes who wanted to push themselves to excel. The AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) is formed to fulfill this need. The AIAW during the 1971-1972 academic season boasted of 278 charter institutions and 800 by 1981. The organization had lofty goals but that were not grounded in reality.
The mid 70's also represents some very important defining moments for U.T. women sports. With the implementation of Title IX and the addition of Donna Lopianos strong leadership skills, the U.T. women's athletic department finally had a clear vision for success. Unfortunately, there were budgetary restraints, lawsuits, UT bureaucracy, U.T. fiefdoms, and the definition of "women's place" that Donna Lopiano had to change before she could implement her clear vision.
Other non-Longhorn special moments that influenced U.T. women's sports
1971 – The Amateur Athletic Union ruled that "certain women" could take part in marathons, provided they either started their race 10 minutes before or after the men or on a different starting line. The different starting line requirement was dropped in 1972.
1973 – Terry Williams Munz became the first woman in America awarded an athletic scholarship when she accepted a golf scholarship from the University of Miami.
1974 – The Women's Sports Foundation was created by Billie Jean King in America. It is "a charitable educational organization dedicated to increasing the participation of girls and women in sports and fitness and creating an educated public that supports gender equity in sport."
1976 – Women's rowing was added to the Olympic Games programme at a distance of 1000 metres.
1979 – Crystal Fields, only eleven years old, was the first girl to win a baseball Pitch, Hit, and Run competition in America. She competed against all boys in the finals.
1984 – The U.S. Women’s softball team won the championship in the first Women’s International Cup played in Los Angeles, beating China, 1–0.
1985 – The United States national soccer team was formed.
1987- The [American] National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) is an annual day of observance held during the first week of February to acknowledge the accomplishments of female athletes, recognize the influence of sports participation for women and girls, and honor the progress and continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.
1991 – All new sports applying to be included in the Olympic program were required to feature women’s events.
1996 – Women’s soccer and women’s softball became medal sports at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta for the first time; both events were won by US teams.
2005 – The organizers of the New York City Marathon announced they would be rewarding the female champion $130,000, that is $30,000 more than its male winner received. This may be the first time a sporting event ever paid more to a female than a male in the same competition. It is also the largest first prize for any marathon
1968-1982 - The AIAW takes the lead in women's sports
The AIAW's first mistake is prohibiting athletic scholarships for women. The AIAW leaders felt scholarships would cause too many problems. The AIAW believed that a no scholarship rule would result in student-athletes instead of athlete -students. The physical educators agreed with the AIAW's "no scholarship" rule because they knew offering scholarships would require recruiting and recruiting resulted in less time teaching for the coaches. The AIWA focused on the female student-athlete’s education, not on athletic performance, and thus rejected the ‘win or die’ attitude of the NCAA. Instead, the AIAW emphasized participation in sport as the most important aspect and de-emphasized winning (Sperber, 1990).
The AIAW's second mistake is that after realizing that their first mistake was inherently wrong and rescinding the "no scholarship" rule they chose to continue the policy of "no recruiting" for scholarships.` The AIAW policy board felt that " competition between colleges for athletes should be based on developing talent rather than on institutional purchasing power".
The AIAW reasons for "no scholarships and no recruiting" of women athletes were noble, but history says that those standards were not acceptable to the student athletes. The AIAW shut their doors in 1982, and the women's program joined the much more commercial but highly successful NCAA.
Women's Athletic Department hires Dr. Sheila Rice as the women's Academic Advisor.