Celebrating Title IX with a Legendary Leader
While the sports world celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX on Thursday, Executive Producer Brenda VanLengen spent the morning with Dr. Charlotte West. The same West, who was being honored on the stadium scoreboard for her 40-plus years of service to Southern Illinois.
West, a 2014 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, was a staunch advocate for women’s sports and a pioneer of Title IX. She spent much of her career with SIU coaching golf and women’s basketball. West also served as the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women overseeing 11 teams and a budget of more than $1 million by 1986.
In our interview, West said she felt fortunate to have played high school basketball in the 1940s. She also attributed that experience to inspiring her drive and fight for opportunity and eventual position at the table when Title IX was discussed. She worked with the AIAW at that point.
You can view pictures from this visit and our entire Iowa and Illinois trip on the Gallery page.
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Dr. West was my best friend’s basketball coach at SIU. My friend, Virginia Gordon, was a multi-sport athlete. She was recruited by Billie Moore to play on our Topeka Teamsterettes softball team. Billie was working on her Master’s degree under Dr. West and Dr. Thorpe at SIU at the time.. Virginia (nicknamed Curly) passed away from a brain tumor in 1974. Her photo is behind Dr. West holding the basketball. Still miss her today.💔🏀🏐🏑🥎🏆🥇
Thank you for sharing this, Patty! I’m sorry we lost Virginia at such a young age. Dr. West talked about her in the interview. So many great stories!