Before 1968, women's athletics in higher education meant playdays and sports days. That spring, when the Division of Girls and Women in Sports announced that national collegiate sports championships for women would begin in 1969, Marlene Mawson, a new hire on the physical education faculty at the University of Kansas, was charged with establishing a women's athletics program. "I was on my own," Mawson recalls, "because there was no precedent for creating a women's athletics program with a meager budget." That meant planning sports competition schedules, staffing coaches, organizing policies and procedures for coaches and athletes, coordinating practice schedules, budgeting, and directing the new KU intercollegiate sports program for women without intervention or guidance. In their first decade, KU women's teams competed in national championships in volleyball, basketball, softball, and gymnastics.
In this book, Mawson, who was inducted into the KU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009, describes her remarkable career, from her early years in Missouri to her retirement. With behind-the-scenes views and insights that reflect a lifetime's experience, her memoir weaves together the history of the development of women's athletics at the University of Kansas and the story of the birth of women's intercollegiate athletics across the United States--from the Olympic Development Committee to Title IX to the NCAA. It is an engaging account of groundbreaking personal achievement by a woman in the world of college sports, and a stirring record of an extraordinary but little-documented decade in the evolution of women's athletics.