With the 50th anniversary of Title IX on the horizon, here are some of the women who played college sports thanks to the law and capitalized on the opportunity off the field. Some women have used the competitive skills learned in the sport to become CEOs, commissioners and launch their own companies:
GAIL KOZIARA BOUDREAUX
Athletic career: Dartmouth basketball, 1978-1982. She is still the career scoring and rebounding leader with 1,933 points and 1,635 rebounds in 89 games. Three-time Ivy League Player of the Year, which led Big Green to the first of many league titles. Also Ivy League shot put champion for four consecutive years, earning All-American recognition as a senior.
Business Career: Boudreaux earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and led several businesses. She is a former CEO of United Healthcare and assumed the role of CEO of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare, a Fortune 500 company, in 2017.
In Title IX: Boudreaux played for Massachusetts state champions in high school basketball who couldn’t practice in their own gym. “We had to go to high school to practice, so Title IX wasn’t really being implemented,” she said.
That’s one of the reasons why paying up front matters so much that Boudreaux endowed the position of women’s basketball coach at Dartmouth. Her company has also partnered with four WNBA teams for community programs.
Athletic Career: Twice Olympic, 1980, 1984. Won the silver medal in rowing, 1984. American rower at Yale, 1975-1979. Her most notable accomplishment as a college rower may have been participating in the famous “Yale Strip-In” to protest the inequalities in the treatment of male and female rowers at school.
Business career: Earned an MBA in Washington in 1991. Gilder founded Washington Works, a Seattle foundation focused on helping women receiving public assistance in the 1990s. He became CEO and founder in 2004 of the Gilder Office for Growth, a family investment office. She remains a director of the company. Managing member of Force 10 Enterprises, owner of Force 10 Hoops, WNBA Seattle Storm and Force 10 Sports Marketing.
On Title IX: “In my career, what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter what the barriers are. If someone thinks you can’t do something or shouldn’t be allowed. If you want to do something, you kind of have to go for it.”
Athletic Career: Gatorade National Player of the Year, 1991. She played basketball at Notre Dame 1991-92, transferred to Tennessee, 1993-1996. Brooke-Marciniak played in two national championship games, helping coach Pat Summitt to a fourth national title in 1996. She was the 1996 Final Four MVP. The point guard also played in the American Basketball League and three seasons in the WNBA.
Business Career: Recruitment coordinator and assistant coach for women’s basketball in South Carolina, 2003-2008. She worked with trainer Susan Walvius to found her own company Sheex in 2007, using performance fabric for bedding and nightwear. Brooke-Marciniak remains co-CEO with Walvius. Her products are sold nationally with plans for further international growth.
About Title IX: Everyone who played for Summitt learned the history of Title IX, how the game evolved, and the history of those who came before it. As Gatorade’s National Player of the Year, Brooke-Marciniak shared a magazine cover with Chris Webber when they were both vying for national titles in college.
“He lost theirs. We won ours in Tennessee. Then we move on to the pros, and Chris arrives with a salary of $14 million. And my first salary I think… was $21,000. We’re on the same path, right? We should have the same, you know, equality. But the pay gap was huge, and still is.”
Athletic career: Hampton basketball and volleyball, 1987-1991. She helped Hampton win the NCAA Division II basketball title in 1988 as a freshman of the year. McWilliams was named CIAA volleyball player of the year in 1990.
Business Career: She earned a master’s degree from Temple, coached volleyball at Virginia Union, and later was the first female assistant on a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball team. She worked in athletic administration at the CIAA as director of compliance and championships. McWilliams joined the NCAA in 2003 and rose to director of championships and alliances. She was hired in 2012 as the CIAA’s first black woman commissioner.
On Title IX: “I think there’s still a way to go. I would like to see more women, more women of color, women of color in roles of opportunity and having that access. And we still have work to do there.”
Athletic Career: Played basketball, lacrosse, tennis, and captained the high school swim team. He played squash and lacrosse at Princeton, 1975-1977.
Business Career: Started as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble, 1979. Consultant at Bain & Company. She was vice president of strategic planning at the Walt Disney Company and then at DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble and Hasbro. As CEO of eBay Inc., she led the 30-employee startup from 1998 to 2008. Whitman assumed the role of CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2011. She oversaw the company’s dissolution with Whitman continuing to lead HPE until leaving the role until late 2017. Purchased equity stake with husband in MLS Cincinnati FC, 2019. President Biden appointed her as Ambassador to Kenya in December 2021.
About Title IX: “I liked team sports more. When I’m building a business team, I still use those basketball aphorisms I learned when I was young: ‘Let’s pass the ball just before game time.’ ‘Do we need man-to-man or zone defense?’” Whitman wrote in his book, “The Power of Many”.
To learn more about the impact of Title IX, see the full AP package: https://apnews.com/hub/title-ix Video Timeline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= NdgNI6BZpw0