1997 to 1998 – National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators

After years of preparation and under the direction of President Sharon E. Taylor, NACWAA held its first Lifetime Achievement Award luncheon at the Fall Forum in 1998, which was sponsored by Nike.

As the organization grew and members continued to accomplish many firsts for women in athletics, Sharon and the Board of Directors felt it was crucial to honor industry trailblazers through the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award was established to “recognize women, retired from athletics, who devoted their professional lives to the enhancement of athletics” (NACWAA Fall Issue 1998).

In the words of Sharon: “The Lifetime Achievement Award gives us the chance to say ‘thank you’ to women who did so much for student-athletes, for the profession we love, and for many of us personally. They are women of vision, integrity, honor and courage. They are women who forged an athletics structure for women when there wasn’t one. They are women who coached and taught and mentored before equal pay—or any pay—was a consideration” (Fall Issue 1998).

The inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award honorees included Carol Gordon, Phyllis Bailey, Lee Morrison, Martha Mullins, Judie Holland, Mary Rice, Jeanne Rowlands, and Charlotte West.

Other major accomplishments from NACWAA during this time:

  • After two successful years hosting the NACWAA Volleyball Classic sponsored by State Farm, the partnership was renewed for an additional three years
  • NACWAA applied for 501(c)3 status
  • NACWAA increased the institutional membership by 77%
  • The National Office staff added two new full-time employees: Tavi Sterling was hired as the director of operations and special events, and Maudie Whitehead was hired as the director of business and finance

NACWAA continued to be committed to recognizing the achievements and successes of administrators working in athletics. Click here to view all NACWAA/ Women Leaders in College Sports award winners.

NACWAA Board Members 1997-98

Betsy Alden, Past President, Ithaca College
Sandy Barbour, Tulane University
Bridget Belgiovine, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Carolyn Campbell, Ivy Group
Rita Castagna, Assumption College
Jill DeMichele, Arizona State University
Rosalyn Dunlap, San Francisco State University
Pam Gill-Fisher, University of California-Davis
Jo Ann Harper, Dartmouth College
Karol Kahrs, President-Elect, University of Illinois
Denise O’Grady, University of Northern Colorado
M. Dianne Murphy, Cornell University
Laurie Priest, Mount Holyoke College
Peg Wynkoop, Wright State University

NACWAA President, 1997 - 1998

Sharon E. Taylor
Lock Haven University

Sharon E. Taylor began her career as a women’s field hockey coach at Susquehanna University from 1966 to 1972. She then went on to Lock Haven University where she led the women’s field hockey program for 23 successful years. Under her leadership, the team won six national championships and held an amazing 333-96-27 record. Sharon was named the NCAA Coach of the Year for three years in a row from 1993 to 1995 when she concluded her final year at Lock Haven with a perfect 21-0 season.

Following her coaching career, Sharon was named director of athletics at Lock Haven University. Under her leadership, Lock Haven won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference’s Dixon Trophy in 2001, 2002, and 2007, which was awarded to the most-successful all-around athletics program in the 14-member conference. During her time as athletic director, she served as the president of the Eastern Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, the president of the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the president of the NACWAA. She also served as president of USA Field Hockey for ten years and on the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors from 1987 to 2001.

Sharon was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Field Hockey Coaches Association in 2014, Eastern College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2015, and Lock Haven University Athletics in 2017. She also received the NACWAA Administrator of the Year award in 1998 and the NACWAA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

World News

Wilma Mankiller
Wilma Mankiller

In 1998, Wilma Mankiller received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton for being the first woman to serve as chief of the Cherokee Nation and for fighting for the rights of both women and Native Americans. Wilma’s successor, Chad Smith, said: “Wilma understood that great leadership begins with the women– that’s our long, cultural tradition. If I had one word to frame her, it would be patriot. A patriot is one who gives her all for her people.” Gloria Steinem spoke at Wilma’s memorial service in 2010.