Nine of the 16 in­ductees to be hon­ored Satur­day night are female

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twit­ter

One evening 20plus years ago dur­ing study hour, Coatesville teacher and girls’ bas­ket­ball coach Re­nee Tal­ley de­cided it was a good time to im­part a his­tory les­son on her teenage play­ers.

“I said, ‘Do you girls un­der­stand what we did to get to this point?’” Tal­ley re­called. “‘We went to court and we fought for all of this. I didn’t start out with equal pay. I had to go to court to get equal pay.’

“They were look­ing at me in dis­be­lief, like I was some kind of a di­nosaur. ‘What do you mean there was no mid­dle school sports, that we had to share locker rooms and only had one set of hand-medown uni­forms?’” she added.

At that time, in the early 1990s, it had been two decades since the land­mark pas­sage of Ti­tle IX, a bill that be­came law in 1972. The law ex­panded ed­u­ca­tional ac­cess for women and re­sulted in in­creased ath­letic op­por­tu­ni­ties. Next sum­mer will mark the 45th an­niver­sary of Ti­tle IX’s en­act­ment, and the gains have been as­tound­ing.

“There have been a lot of strides,” said Jen O’Donnell, who dou­bles as the field hockey coach at West Ch­ester Hen­der­son and is also one of the na­tion’s top of­fi­cials in lacrosse.

“I see it in the fa­cil­i­ties. I re­mem­ber back when I was in col­lege, we played on a bumpy grass field with a snow fence around it. Now they play in fa­cil­i­ties that are de­signed specif­i­cally for their sport, they are on (ar­ti­fi­cial) turf, they have their own locker rooms, they have their laun­dry done for them, the per diems are higher — the whole Ti­tle IX thing has brought us far.”

In 1971, just 7 per­cent of all high school var­sity ath­letes across the coun­try were female. In 2014, of the 7.8 mil­lion high school ath­letes in Amer­ica, 3.2 mil­lion — or 41 per­cent — were female

An­other more lo­cal­ized ex­am­ple in­volves the cur­rent in­ductees into the Ch­ester County Sports Hall of Fame. For the first time since the or­ga­ni­za­tion de­buted in 2008, a ma­jor­ity of the in­com­ing class is female, in­clud­ing Tal­ley and O’Donnell. With nine out of 16 in­ductees, the 2016 class rep­re­sents the largest group of women — by far — to be so hon­ored.

“Bas­ket­ball was my child­hood pas­sion,” said for­mer West Ch­ester Univer­sity women’s coach Deirdre Kane, an­other mem­ber of the class of 2016. “Never did I dream it would be­come a ca­reer. Thank you Ti­tle IX for en­abling that to hap­pen.”

In ad­di­tion to Kane, Tal­ley and O’Donnell, six other women will be en­shrined at the CCSHOF Ban­quet Satur­day night at Down­ing­town Coun­try Club. The oth­ers in­clude lo­cal high school bas­ket­ball stars Tora Su­ber and Amanda Brown Streeter; Villa Maria swim coach Cather­ine Walsh Hay; lo­cal field hockey stand­out Maria White­head; and Eli­nor Zim­mer­man Tay­lor, who was na­tion­ally known for her sup­port of women’s ath­let­ics prior to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ti­tle IX.

White­head and Tay­lor are be­ing in­ducted posthu­mously.

The class also in­cludes in­flu­en­tial male hon­orees like foot­ball coach Danny Hale, bas­ket­ball star Ramzee Stan­ton, triath­lete Ken­neth Glah, drag racer Bill ‘Grumpy’ Jenk­ins, div­ing men­tor Ronn Jenk­ins, steeple­chase horse trainer Jonathan Shep­pard, and Bishop Shana­han coach­ing and ad­min­is­tra­tive leg­end Ted Tor­rance. In ad­di­tion, the 1994 Coatesville girls bas­ket­ball team — which Tal­ley guided to a PIAA Class AAAA state cham­pi­onship — is be­ing hon­ored.

Of the 114 in­di­vid­ual mem­bers now in the CCSHOF, 85 are male. The 12-per­son in­au­gu­ral class in 2008 fea­tured 11 males, but there have been strides in re­cent years as Ti­tle IX’s in­flu­ence con­tin­ues to flour­ish.

“Maybe it’s just that (the CCSHOF) is catch­ing up,” said Kane, who be­came WCU’s first full­time bas­ket­ball coach in 1987, and re­tired in 2014 with 447 wins, which is No. 2 on the PSAC’s all-time list.

“For me per­son­ally, Ti­tle IX was huge,” added Tal­ley, who won 332 games at Coatesville. “It im­pacted ev­ery­thing that we did. It was mon­u­men­tal.

“Once we got our free­dom, it was smoother sail­ing be­cause we could ac­tu­ally do stuff be­cause we were given the chance to do it.”

Tal­ley and Kane re­mem­ber well what it was like to be a female stu­dent-athlete prior to Ti­tle IX. Both re­called play­ing a six-on-six ver­sion of bas­ket­ball de­signed for girls, where there were two of­fen­sive play­ers, two de­fen­sive play­ers and two rovers. Only the rovers were al­lowed to cross mid­court.

“My se­nior year was the last year we played six-on-six,” said Tal­ley, who grad­u­ated from Great Val­ley High School in 1970.

“They used to say there were two gun­ners who stood there and shot the ball, two goons who were des­ig­nated foulers and two ath­letes that could drib­ble, pass and shoot and play de­fense.”

Kane added: “I played six-on-six bas­ket­ball in grade school. Now, it seems like the stone-age, but it re­ally wasn’t all that long ago.

“I re­mem­ber times when I would make our play­ers at WCU do it so they could see how far we’ve come and just how frus­trat­ing it was for two-thirds of the play­ers on the court be­ing un­able to cross mid­court.”

Kane was the first woman to re­ceive and ac­cept a full-ride ath­letic schol­ar­ship to play bas­ket­ball at the Univer­sity of Day­ton in 1974. Kane stud­ied to be­come a vet­eri­nar­ian be­cause she never even thought of pur­su­ing a ca­reer in ath­let­ics.

“If it wasn’t for ti­tle IX, I wouldn’t have got­ten that schol­ar­ship to Day­ton, which was a very big deal back then,” she said. “And if I ever had an inkling that it was pos­si­ble to carve out a ca­reer in ath­let­ics, I wouldn’t have ma­jored in bi­ol­ogy with a mi­nor in chem­istry.”

A year af­ter Tal­ley left Great Val­ley — just prior to Ti­tle IX’s im­ple­men­ta­tion — the school dropped six-on-six bas­ket­ball, and soon af­ter, a smaller bas­ket­ball was in­tro­duced specif­i­cally for the women’s game.

Like so many of her fel­low in­ductees — such as Hale, Stan­ton, Walsh Hay, Jenk­ins and Zim­mer­man Tay­lor – Tal­ley en­rolled at West Ch­ester be­cause she had a keen in­ter­est in ath­let­ics and was think­ing about a ca­reer in phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion. She failed to make the cut with the West Ch­ester women’s bas­ket­ball team (coach by 2012 CCSHOF in­ductee Carol Eck­man), but got into coach­ing a few years later.

“I was a ju­nior, sit­ting around feel­ing sorry for my­self, and my old high school coach, Kitty Cald­well, be­came the coach at West Ch­ester,” Tal­ley ex­plained. “She took me un­der her wing and I ended up coach­ing the sec­ond team at West Ch­ester. It was my ini­ti­a­tion in coach­ing.”

It was an en­tirely dif­fer­ent world decades later for high school bas­ket­ball su­per­stars like Su­ber and Brown Streeter. Af­ter lead­ing Down­ing­town High School to two state cham­pi­onships and ac­cept­ing a full-ride to Vir­ginia, Su­ber was drafted into the WNBA and played pro­fes­sion­ally for four sea­sons. Brown Streeter went to Penn State af­ter leav­ing Unionville as the school’s all-time lead­ing scorer, was drafted into the WNBA and also played pro­fes­sion­ally in Europe.

“There were never any thoughts of pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball for women back in the 1970s, that’s for sure,” Tal­ley said.

“Back in my day, there was no such thing as the WNBA, or any pro team sports for women,” Kane added. “We never dreamed of play­ing pro­fes­sion­ally.”

O’Donnell ac­knowl­edges the vast im­pact of Ti­tle IX, but also pointed out this area has long been a hot­bed for women’s ath­let­ics be­cause West Ch­ester Univer­sity’s his­toric role in ed­u­cat­ing, de­vel­op­ing and train­ing women well be­fore Ti­tle IX.

“In this area when I was grow­ing up, West Ch­ester Univer­sity was huge in women’s ath­let­ics,” O’Donnell pointed out. “And be­cause of that, Ch­ester County is a great area for women’s ath­let­ics. The em­pha­sis was there, whether you played, got into of­fi­ci­at­ing or into coach­ing.

“When I started of­fi­ci­at­ing, this was the best area to be in be­cause you could learn from a Jackie Hufnell (CCSHOF Class of 2014), a Joan Wag­ner (2015), a Judy Wol­sten­holme (2014). The best of­fi­cials came from here and they were great teach­ers, they wanted to groom you for the fu­ture and just pro­vide sup­port.”

The daugh­ter of lo­cal coach­ing icon Harold Zim­mer­man (class of 2011), Zim­mer­man Tay­lor was a 1943 grad­u­ate of West Ch­ester State Col­lege, and be­came a health pro­fes­sor at her alma mater and later Dean of Ad­mis­sions. She wound up hav­ing a big im­pact in trans­form­ing West Ch­ester into one of the na­tional hot­beds of women’s ath­let­ics by de­mand­ing women’s teams be taken as se­ri­ously as the men’s, which was a truly rad­i­cal idea prior to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ti­tle IX.

“(Zim­mer­man Tay­lor) had gone on to pol­i­tics by the time I got to West Ch­ester, but ev­ery­body knew her and knew how much she was an ad­vo­cate for women’s ath­let­ics dat­ing back be­fore Ti­tle IX,” O’Donnell said.

“Jackie Hufnell is my men­tor and we are very good friends. (Tay­lor) was Jackie’s col­lege pro­fes­sor and men­tor, and she al­ways called her ‘Zimmy.’ Every gen­er­a­tion there are peo­ple who are im­pact­ful, and we’ve ben­e­fit­ted from their ef­forts and per­sis­tence. Zimmy was one who, if it hadn’t been for her be­ing an early ad­vo­cate, we might not be where we are to­day.”

O’Donnell is the first to ad­mit, how­ever, that there are many ob­sta­cles yet to clear.

“We are still not even,” she said. “I see that some­times in the of­fi­ci­at­ing world, be­cause we are not paid as much as the men, depend­ing on the con­fer­ence. We’ve made great strides and that will con­tinue, but we have to con­tinue to stand up for our­selves and each other.”

And that’s a warn­ing go­ing for­ward. Much like Tal­ley felt in the early 1990s, there re­mains a frus­tra­tion when gen­er­a­tions of girls and women still lack ap­pre­ci­a­tion — or in some cases any knowl­edge — for all of the strug­gles that have paved the way for those who have fol­lowed.

“It’s like any mi­nor­ity that has been dis­crim­i­nated against in any way,” Tal­ley said. “They take for granted what peo­ple be­fore them have fought for. They just don’t re­al­ize there have been strug­gles to get where we are.” JONATHAN SHEP­PARD

Is the all-time lead­ing steeple­chase trainer in Amer­ica with over 1,000 wins and over $20 mil­lion in earn­ings. Won the yearly earn­ings ti­tle 24 times. Has over 3,000 wins as a flat trainer. Has trained horses that have won 12 Eclipse Awards.

Has trained the win­ner of four Breeder’s Cup Grand Na­tional Steeple­chase events.

Was in­ducted into the Na­tional Mu­seum of Rac­ing and Hall of Fame in 1990. ELI­NOR ZIM­MER­MAN TAY­LOR

A 1958 grad­u­ate of West Ch­ester, she be­came the school’s Dean of Stu­dent Af­fairs and later Dean of Ad­mis­sions.

Be­came long­est serv­ing woman in Penn­syl­va­nia House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives (1976-2006).

Na­tion­ally known for her sup­port of women’s ath­let­ics prior to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ti­tle IX.

Died in 2010.


Be­gan teach­ing at Bishop Shana­han when it opened in 1957, and re­tired af­ter serv­ing for a half cen­tury. Served as base­ball coach for 20 years. Over a six-year pe­riod as cross coun­try coach, the Ea­gles went 128-6-1 and went un­beaten in 62 meets.

Be­gan served as Ath­letic Di­rec­tor at Bishop Shana­han in 1998.

Be­came di­rec­tor of the West Ch­ester Adult Base­ball League 1980 and later field di­rec­tor, and served un­til 2009.

Be­comes third for­mer staffer at the Daily Lo­cal News to be in­ducted.


Won the PIAA Class AAAA state cham­pi­onship. Beat Al­toona, 68-58 in final.

Went 29-1 over­all dur­ing 1993-94 sea­son.

None of the five starters – cen­ter Court­ney Joseph, for­wards Ae­sha McGi­boney and Jen­nifer Wor­thing­ton, and guards Aja Anderson and LaToya Brickus – were se­niors.

Won District 1 crown as well as the school’s only girls state crown.

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