CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – With six former Lady Govs regaling a crowd of interested spectators and current APSU women’s athletes, Austin Peay State University kicked off its weekend Celebration of Women’s in Athletics as part of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX.
A dinner was held Friday night and a Fun Walk to Celebrate Women in Athletics will be held Saturday along with tennis, softball and soccer matches. The Lady Govs volleyball team hosted an alumni volleyball game Friday afternoon.
But it was night of storytelling by Lea Larsen Dudley (APSU’s first women’s golf coach, 1973), Connie Sinks Jackson (women’s basketball 1978-82), Ginny Gray Davis (women’s softball 1992), Emily Anthony Bryant (volleyball and track/field, 1994-97), Connie Caldwell Rogan (volleyball, 1984-87) and Adonia Bivins Kennedy (soccer, 2003-06).
Larsen, in particular, entertained the audience with stories from the early 1970s, when she was a pioneer on campus and believes she nearly created a near-riot when she volunteered the University to host a women’s athletics conference.
Three of the former student-athletes—Davis, Bryant and Rogan—all played for Cheryl Holt, who at one point and time coached almost every women’s sport at APSU, and complimented her for pushing them to reach their respective potential. But they also poked fun at their former coach—her van driving the center of most stories.
Austin Peay President Tim Hall talked about his many travels around the country, meeting older male alumni who talked about football and basketball providing them scholarship opportunities they would not otherwise had received. In the same breath, he pointed out the lack of those same conversations with women.
With this being the 40th Anniversary of Title IX he expressed how he “looked forward to generations of women’s finding their way to Austin Peay because of Title IX and thire ability to get a college education by being athletic scholarship owner.”