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Ducks to Honor University's Women's Athletics Pioneers
Release Date: 05/05/2011
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EUGENE – More than 250 women will finally receive the recognition that is long overdue when the University of Oregon hosts this weekend’s Women in Athletics Celebration, culminating in a Saturday evening banquet at court level in Matthew Knight Arena.

The highlight of the event will be the awarding of letters to the women who competed in intercollegiate athletics for the Ducks prior to 1982. The NCAA began administering championships in women’s sports during the 1981-82 academic year after the University merged its previously separate men’s and women’s athletics departments in the spring of 1977.

Close to 600 former athletes, coaches and guests are expected to be on hand for the event, with dinner commencing at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7 p.m.

Athletes and coaches representing 13 different women’s sports are expected to be among Saturday’s honorees, including representatives from the sports of bowling, field hockey, gymnastics and swimming that are no longer sponsored by the school’s athletics department.

Women who helped pioneer women’s athletics at the University of Oregon and will receive letters for their participation in intercollegiate sports programs include former field hockey players Esther McDiarmid (1942-46), Jackie Bogan (1943-46) and Grace Tyrrell (1945-47).

Veteran ESPN correspondent Shelley Smith will serve as the event’s master of ceremonies, while University of Colorado three-time NCAA distance champion and 2008 U.S. Olympian Kara Goucher will deliver the evening’s keynote address.

Included among those in attendance Saturday will be Oregon Athletics Director Rob Mullens, Becky Sisley, the University’s first women’s athletic director as well as former basketball, field hockey and softball coach, in addition to Chris Voelz, the Ducks’ former women’s volleyball coach and assistant athletics director for women’s athletics.

Their activities will include the opportunities to tour the Ducks’ athletic facilities as well as attend Friday evening’s Oregon Twilight track meet, and the weekend’s softball and baseball games vs. Stanford and UCLA, respectively.

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