Women’s athletics celebrates 35 years of success
Augsburg is observing its 35th anniversary of the varsity women’s athletic program, as well as the rich history of women’s athletics prior to the Title IX era. Augsburg’s varsity women’s basketball and volleyball teams started in 1972, along with gymnastics and tennis.
On Sept. 28, a celebration of this anniversary was held, with a reception in the room named after Lavonne Johnson Peterson, a true pioneer of women’s athletics at Augsburg. Later, athletes and former athletes proceeded in a “Parade of Champions,” where official athletic “A” letters were presented to all women who participated in sports at Augsburg prior to 1988. Current women athletes cheered on their predecessors.
When asked about the changes in women’s athletics over the years, Joyce Pfaff, Professor of Health and Physical Education at Augsburg says, “We have come a long way from bake sales to pay our officials to sewing our own uniforms to breaking barriers. Augsburg women athletes have a rich history and a very bright future. It is the wins ON and IN (Title IX) the courts by our ‘foremothers’ some decades ago that has built the foundation for our student athletes and their success story.”
Though the varsity era of Auggie women’s athletics began in 1972, there have been women’s sporting activities at the college dating to the mid-1920s. From the 1940s to the 1970s, there were numerous intramural sports sponsored for women, including the famous “Auggiettes” basketball team, coached by Peterson. The Auggiettes competed in the Minneapolis Park Board league and compiled a 125-5 record in 15 seasons from 1950 to 1965.
During Homecoming this October, the unbeaten Auggiettes basketball team of 1956-57, celebrating its 50th anniversary, will be honored with induction as a group into the Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame.
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