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Helen (Zech) Higgins Named 2011 Becky Sisley Award Winner
Release Date: 02/09/2011
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EUGENE – At halftime of the Oregon-USC women’s basketball game on Feb. 12, the 2011 Becky L. Sisley award will be presented to former tennis player Helen (Zech) Higgins.

Higgins earned four varsity letters with the Oregon women’s tennis program from 1985-88. She was voted ‘Most Inspirational’ by her teammates following her redshirt freshman season in 1985.

Following her playing career, Higgins graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a rhetoric and communication major. She continued her involvement in the sport after leaving UO, serving as an assistant coach for the Boise State women’s tennis team for two seasons. While with the Broncos, Higgins received the Tribute to Women & Industry (TWIN) award from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).

Off the court, Higgins worked in a variety of roles in 18 years with Hewlett-Packard. She worked in support, marketing, business development and management from 1988 through 2006.

Higgins currently resides in Corvallis, Ore., where she serves as CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis. She runs a local non-profit youth center of over 3,000 members. The youth center is involved in outreach services across Benton County and raises nearly $700 thousand annually through fundraising efforts.

Helen, her husband Clay and college age sons Casey and Ryan (who attend UO), have lived in Corvallis for 14 years. She has served on the board for the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation and the Timberhill Tennis Club Board, and also spent five years on the Corvallis School Board. She has also been part of the Rotary Club of Greater Corvallis Board of Directors, heading up youth programs, and is also on the Leadership Corvallis Board as the Curriculum Chair.

Higgins was nominated for the 2010 Corvallis First Citizen for her volunteer work in the community and her efforts to create a free dental clinic which has now served over 2,000 for low income youth across Benton County.

The Sisley award recognizes professional achievement, community service and support to the University of Oregon. Sisley served as the first and only Director of Women’s Athletics from 1973-1979. She also coached basketball, field hockey and softball while playing an instrumental role in creating a level playing field for women to compete in intercollegiate athletics.
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