Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Title IX

The Western Michigan University Athletics Department has joined the nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Title IX legislation passed into law in 1972. The Mid-American Conference, WMU and NCAA will celebrate this milestone throughout the 2022 calendar.
WMU Athletics will be sharing “What Does Title IX Mean to You?” videos throughout the year, recorded by student-athletes, and will host “Real Talk” seminars discussing topics revolving around Title IX. This year’s MAC Hall of Fame will also feature Title IX Trailblazers within the conference. Furthermore, the WMU Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony will be re-introduced this year, and will have a special focus on celebrating Title IX.
“I am so impressed by the efforts of our student-led Diversity Task Force in creating a robust and celebratory timeline of events to celebrate the birth of Title IX,” said Director of Athletics Dan Bartholomae. “The positive impact of this landmark legislation is woven directly into the fabric of the Western Michigan Athletic Department, and we honor the opportunity to celebrate the great accomplishments of our past, present and future women athletes and leaders.”
Special thanks to the WMU Athletics Diversity Task Force, Dr. Luchara Wallace, Dr. Candy McCorkle, Keanah Smith, Tess Abbott, Felicia Crawford, Elizabeth Knips, Greg Cronkite, Matt Kulik, Amy Washington and Elyse Perry.
Since its passage, Title IX has dramatically increased athletic opportunities for women and girls. The Title IX regulation contains specific provisions governing athletic programs and educational institutions. The primary benefit of Title IX is that it requires schools to provide equal access to men and women for opportunities that are being offered if they receive federal funding.
“Title IX is a landmark piece of legislation that advanced civil rights and social justice. It brought to the forefront our necessity to achieve balance, increase access and representation in sport and academia,” said Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Luchara Wallace. “Title IX revolutionized how we think about inclusion, and further expanded our definition and understanding about the many ways that we are a stronger campus and athletics department when we provide a wider range of opportunities for both female and male student-athletes. When it was signed, men were no longer the sole beneficiaries of access to education through sport. Title IX opened up the door for women, too.”
A leader of the student-led task force, gymnastics student-athlete Tess Abbott said, “The 50th Anniversary of Title IX has been fully embraced here at Western Michigan, and we want to celebrate the milestone through events at the institution, and in the community at large. We strive to create awareness of the progress of Title IX and women in sports. We aim to not only recognize the progress, but also acknowledge the continued work that needs to be done, and develop a plan to continue to make strides.”
Key Title IX Moments at WMU:

  • 1973-74 – The women’s basketball program plays its first game in Read Fieldhouse
  • 1975 – Fran Ebert becomes the first head coach of the varsity softball program
  • 1977-78 – The first athletic scholarship is given to Jean Schrader for women’s basketball
  • 1978-79 – The awarding of letter jackets for female athletes is approved by the board, with the first jackets awarded in 1981
  • 1978-79 – Annette Murray is named the first head coach of the women’s cross country program
  • 1982 – The volleyball program wins its first MAC regular season and tournament titles and makes its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament
  • 1983 – The softball program clinches its first regular season title
  • 1984 – Women’s cross country captures its first MAC Championship
  • 1984 – Women’s tennis wins its first MAC regular season title
  • 1985 – The women’s track and field team wins its first MAC Championship
  • 1985 – Softball captures its first MAC Tournament title
  • 1986 – The women’s gymnastics program wins its first MAC Championship
  • 1996 – Kate O’Shaughnessy becomes the first head coach of the women’s soccer program
  • 1996 – Katie Markey becomes the first student-athlete to sign with the women’s soccer program
  • 1997 – Women’s tennis wins its first MAC Tournament title
  • Sep. 29, 1997 – Kathy Beauregard becomes first female head athletic director
  • 1998 – Cindy Trout is named the first head coach of the women’s golf program
  • 1999 – Women’s golf wins the first team title in program history at the Bronco Triangular
  • 2003 – The women’s soccer program wins its first MAC Tournament Championship and makes its first NCAA College Cup appearance

Currently, WMU offers nine women’s varsity athletic programs for 124 female student-athletes. Six of our nine women’s programs have female head coaches.
The WMU Athletic Department will continue to celebrate the Title IX anniversary throughout 2022 and focus on empowering women and educating people on women’s issues. Stay tuned to WMUbroncos.com for updates and announcements.

On Saturday, Feb. 4, the WMU Athletics Department kicked off the year-long celebration with National Girls and Women in Sports Day prior to, and during the women’s basketball game inside University Arena. Prior to the start of the basketball game, WMU hosted an athletics showcase around the arena, featuring hands-on interactive stations from our various athletic programs including volleyball, golf, softball, track & field, football, soccer, gymnastics, and cheer & dance.
Over 100 youth and families participated in the event, and were able to interact with WMU Broncos teams and student-athletes, while taking part in learning a sport-specific skill or activity.

We had a great timing hosting our pregame sports showcase this weekend at the @WMU_WBB game for National Girls and Women in Sports Day, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Thank you @WMU_WeMustUnite for helping coordinate!#NGWSD #LeadHerForward pic.twitter.com/MGNtuQE0oP

— Western Michigan Broncos ?? (@WMUBroncos) February 7, 2022


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Release courtesy of the Mid-American Conference

In recognition of the 50-year anniversary of the passing of Title IX, this year’s MAC Hall of Fame Class features individuals from each member institution that have contributed to the advancement of women’s athletics.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – On March 11, the Mid-American Conference announced the 2022 MAC Hall of Fame Induction Class. In recognition of the 50-year anniversary of the passing of Title IX, this year’s class features individuals from each member institution that have contributed to the advancement of women’s athletics.


The 12 inductees are Kay Piper (Akron), Andrea Seger (Ball State), Dorothy Luedtke (Bowling Green), Nan Harvey (Buffalo), Linda (Pagett) Young (Central Michigan), Lucy Parker (Eastern Michigan), Laing Kennedy (Kent State), Karen Womack (Miami), Cary Groth (Northern Illinois), Peggy Pruitt (Ohio), Cheryl Sprangel (Toledo) and Kathy Beauregard (Western Michigan).


The MAC Hall of Fame was approved by the MAC Council of Presidents in 1987.  The charter class was inducted in 1988 and subsequent classes were added in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994. After six induction classes, the MAC Hall of Fame maintained 52 members until it was reinstated in May of 2012.  This year’s class brings the number of MAC Hall of Fame inductees to 114 individuals from 16 classes.


Name: Kathy Beauregard

Institution: Western Michigan University

Title: Gymnastics Head Coach / Director of Athletics

A nationally known and respected leader in her field, Kathy Beauregard retired on Dec. 31, 2021 after 42 years at Western Michigan University, including the last 25 as Director of Athletics. She racked up many awards for her leadership in college sports. At the time of her retirement, she was the longest-serving athletic director at the same institution and one of just nine female athletic directors among 130 Football Bowl Subdivision schools across the nation.


During Beauregard’s tenure, Western won 58 MAC championships, the MAC Institutional Academic Achievement Award for men eight times— including the last four consecutively—a Central Collegiate Hockey Association championship, the transition to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, the NCAA Sportsmanship Award in 2017; and 36 teams have made NCAA Tournament appearances. The WMU football team was invited to eight postseason bowl games, including WMU’s appearance in the 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Furthermore, she served on the NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee, the NCAA Championships Cabinet, NCAA Football Bowl Certification Committee and the NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


Beauregard always had a futuristic view and has been integral to many fundraising efforts that benefit the University and athletic department, including the most recent $550 million Empowering Futures Gift, $50 million of which is earmarked for WMU Athletics. WMU athletic facilities greatly improved under her leadership. The $8 million Bill Brown Football Alumni Center and the $21 million Seelye Athletic Indoor Center have benefited numerous sports teams and provide top-notch facilities for Bronco student-athletes.


Other major facility projects over the last decade include $2.2 million into the renovation of Hyames Field at Robert J. Bobb Stadium, the transformation of Baker Farm into the WMU Soccer Complex, replacement of the indoor track in Read Fieldhouse, the replacement of the outdoor surface at Kanley Track, locker room updates to Lawson Ice Arena, a new basketball court at University Arena, men’s basketball locker room expansion and upgrade, as well as the installation of video boards at Lawson Ice Arena, University Arena and Waldo Stadium, which features a main video board and two auxiliary video boards at the cost of $1 million each.


Beauregard has herself been the recipient of many community and athletic awards and recognitions. Among them:

·         Gerald R. Ford Sportsman of the Year Award             

·         National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year Award

·         In September 2018, Game Changer: Women in Sports Business by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal.

·         In June 2019, she was appointed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Task Force on Women in Sports     

·         She also is the recipient of Michigan Women Forward’s 2020 Women of Achievement and Courage Award.


Her commitment to the Kalamazoo community is evident through many years of volunteer service. She has volunteered with the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan and the Kalamazoo Rotary. In 1999, the Kalamazoo Network presented Beauregard with the “Glass Ceiling Award”; and in 2002, she received the Athena Award from the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce. The latter award recognizes individuals who provide service to the community, demonstrate excellence within their profession and assist women in attaining leadership skills and professional goals.


Over the last 25 years through her volunteer service, Beauregard has set an example for Bronco athletes to step up and serve the community. All 350 student-athletes and Bronco staff members volunteer in the community.  Beauregard has also been inducted into the Kalamazoo Loy Norrix High School Athletic Hall of Fame, and she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater Hope College.


Real Talk - Title IX Panel

As a part of the celebration of Women’s History Month, WMU Athletics and the WMU Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted a ‘Real Talk’ panel on March 15, feauting prominent WMU Women in Sports. The panelists included Kathy Beauregard (former WMU gymnastics coach and Athletic Director), Jessica Brown – (VP for Student Affairs & Athletics, North Central College – WMU Volleyball Alum), Becky Horn – (AAU Track & Field Coach – WMU Track & Field Alum & 3x All American), Shayna Sangster (Director of Marketing, Indiana Fever – WMU Track & Field Alum) and Justina Phillips (AAU Track & Field Coach WMU Track & Field Alum)

About the Panelists:

Kathy Beauregard is the former director of athletics for Western Michigan University. She previously served as an associate athletic director at Western Michigan University from 1989 to 1997, and as women’s gymnastics head coach at Western Michigan University from 1980 to 1988. Beauregard graduated from Hope College with a bachelor’s degree in 1979, and from Western Michigan University with a master’s degree in 1981. Beauregard’s hiring of football coach P. J. Fleck in 2013 propelled the Broncos football team to its greatest successes in program history, culminating in a 13-1 record in 2016 and berth in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.lfillfil Beauregard retired as athletic director at Western Michigan on December 31, 2021. 

Jessica Brown is the vice president for student affairs and athletics at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. In her role, she leads all efforts related to student life, including partnering with others across campus to build and strengthen an inclusive and engaged community, and ensuring that students receive the support they need to thrive at North Central College and beyond. Jessica oversees an athletics department that features 27 varsity level sports and is one of the winningest athletics programs in NCAA Division Ill history with 40 team national championships. 

Prior to North Central, Jessica was dean of student services, engagement, and leadership at Eureka College in Eureka, Ill., where she also served as Title IX coordinator, head women’s volleyball coach and senior woman administrator. 

A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Jessica earned her bachelor of science degree in recreation, health and human development from Western Michigan University, where she was a four-year starter on the women’s volleyball team. She received her master of education degree from Concordia-Portland University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education administration at Illinois State University. 

Becky Hom is a merchandising account manager for a manufacturer that specializes in fabric and finish goods called Asian American Partners in Little Rock, Arkansas and is also a coach for an AA U Track & field team in Arkansas. 

A native of Battle Creek, Mich., Becky earned received her bachelor’s degree in Textile & Apparel Studies/merchandise and design from Western Michigan University, and also competed for the Bronco track & field team. Horn is a three-time USTFCCCA All-American, earning the honors during the indoor seasons in 2007 and 2008 and outdoors in 2008, all in the 800m run. She totaled 17 Mid­ American Conference titles as an eight-time individual MAC title winner (two each in 

indoor/outdoor 400m dash and 800m run) and a nine-time MAC title winner as part of the 4x400m and 4x 100m relays, while being selected as a First-Team All-MAC honoree six times.

Justina Phillips, native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, is a proud graduate of Western Michigan University where she obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Criminology while competing on the Track & Field team. During her time at WMU, she received various accolades including Rookie of the Year, Coaches Awards, Mid-American Conference First Team Honors (400 meters), and The Kathy Beauregard Internship Scholarship. 

Phillips started her professional career as an Athletic Academic Advisor with WMU. Shortly thereafter she pursued the field of criminal justice and currently serves as a Supervisory Federal Officer in the Northern District of Ohio. 

In Phillips spare time she serves as a coach for the local Amateur Athletic Union Track and Field team and Ypsilanti Community Recreation Department.

Shayna Sangster, a Lansing, Michigan native, is a graduate of Western Michigan University (BA) and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (MBA) and is on the Board of the Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School and Women in Sports & Events (WISE).

Sangster is in her eighth season with Pacers Sports & Entertainment as the Director of Marketing for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. She oversees the Fever’s brand strategy, advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as fan engagement initiatives for the Indiana Pacers. While at PS&E, Sangster founded the organization’s Women’s Network and has been a leader in building opportunities for women in sports through mentorship, local non-profits and programs such as the Marcus Graham Project. Prior to her time at PS&E, Shayna worked on the High-Performance team at USA Track & Field overseeing Coaching Education Programs, building strategy and managing events such as the Friends & Family Program for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. 



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