Women's Sports Foundation Honors Pac-12
Pac-12 Women Have Produced More NCAA Titles Than Any Conference in the Country
The Women's Sports Foundation honored the Pac-12 for its long-term commitment and excellence in women's athletics at the 32nd annual Women in Sports dinner at Cipriani Wall Street in New York Wednesday night. Pac-12 Commissioner LarryScott was on hand to receive the award.
With a broad-based commitment to women's sports, the Pac-12 has won more NCAA titles than any conference in the country and has forged a path for some of the most remarkable athletes to flourish, including Evelyn Ashford, Natalie Coughlin, Lisa Fernandez, Jennie Finch, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Lisa Leslie, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, Cheryl Miller, Annika Sorenstam and Jenny Thompson to name a few.
"The Pac-12 Conference is a leader in athletic excellence and the Foundation is pleased to pay special tribute to its long-standing commitment to women's sports," Kathryn Olson, CEO of the Women's Sports Foundation, said. "The conference provides rich opportunities to its student-athletes and, in turn, these phenomenal women serve as powerful examples of the importance of a sports experience."
The Pac-12 officially began sponsoring women's sports in 1986, but the dominant performances in women's sports at Pac-12 schools started well before Title IX. Led by former Cal Chancellor Michael Heyman, who was the Chairman of the Pac-12 CEO Group in 1986, and a collection of strong women visionaries, including Barbara Hedges (USC), Judith Holland (UCLA), Luella Lilly (Cal), Mary Roby (Arizona), Ramona Plummer (ASU), Chris Voelz (Oregon), Sylvia Moore (Oregon State), Pam Straithairn (Stanford), Kit Green (Washington) and Marcia Saneholtz (Washington State) the Pac-12 instituted a structure of equality that has given women's administrators the power to shape the direction of both men's and women's athletics.
With 140 NCAA women's team titles and an unrivaled 616 individual crowns, the women's sports programs in the Pac-12 have produced more national championships than any conference in the country. The Conference has claimed National Championships in 13 of the 17 women's sports the NCAA sponsors
"We owe much of our success to the visionary leadership of our presidents and senior women administrators, who established a foundation of equality early on that really allowed our women's programs to thrive and deliver significant opportunities to young women all over the world," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. "This honor is a fitting tribute to the many strong women, both on and off the field, who have helped make the Pac-12 the Conference of Champions."
In August, the Pac-12 will launch the Pac-12 Networks and Pac-12 Digital Networks, which promise to dramatically increase exposure for all of the women's programs and student-athletes throughout the Conference.
Several former Pac-12 athletes attended the dinner, including Leslie Allen (USC tennis), Emily Cook (Utah skiing), Donna de Varona (UCLA swimming), Grete Eliassen (Utah skiing), Julie Foudy (Stanford soccer), Ashley Hansen (Stanford softball), Jen Hudak (Utah skiing), Caitlin Lowe (Arizona softball), Jessica Mendoza (Stanford softball), Alex Morgan (Cal soccer), Annika Sorenstam (Arizona golf) and Lindsey Van (Utah skiing).