Executive Producer Brenda VanLengen and the Real Media team are back on the road! This trip started in Iowa where the history of high school girls basketball dates back more than 100 years.
The first stop was the Iowa Hall of Pride, which is a project from the Iowa High School Athletic Association. There, we visited with Jean Berger. She is is the Executive Director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and we talked about Iowa’s role in women’s basketball history.
Former high school standout Lois Stuflick Johnson also met us there to reflect on her time playing for John F. Kennedy College in Wahoo, Neb., and Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. Those were two of the earliest institutions to offer collegiate women’s basketball. She brought a friend and old competitor, Cathy Jensen, who played at Midwestern.
At the University of Iowa, Peggy Burke and Bonnie Slatton discussed their time working alongside Dr. Christine Grant who passed away earlier this year. The trio served as some of the biggest advocates for women’s athletics and the AIAW in the 70s. Burke and Slatton said they were driven by a desire for fairness and equality which is a perfect theme for this week as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
We also caught current Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder who was hired by Dr. Grant. She talked about the growth of women’s sports from her playing career at Northern Iowa to now. One of her associate coaches Jan Jensen shared some really special things from her grandmother’s high school career. Her grandmother was the state’s scoring leader back in 1921.
In a comical turn, Brenda VanLengen met Arlys Van Langen Rathje. A long-lost cousin perhaps? They could not confirm, but we do know that Van Langen set Iowa’s high school state tournament scoring record with 142 points in 1948. She received so much fan mail during her career that the local post office in Kamrar, Iowa, had to give her a second box!
Peg Peterson Tyler, who played for Iowa Wesleyan when they were one of two four-year schools with women’s basketball scholarships, looked back on her decorated career that included representing the USA in the 1964 World Tournament. The fourth World Championship was held in Lima, Peru. She also has ties to the Flying Queens who we talked to last Summer!
Our final stop in Iowa was Ruble Arena at Iowa Wesleyan where we found a treasure trove of trophies. We even saw a 1969 trophy from the National Invitational at West Chester. If you remember, we visited them in May. You can read more about that trip here.
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