The progress made in women’s athletics during the past century is undeniably linked to four primary leaders: Janet Woodruff, Lois Youngen, Becky Sisley and Tom Heinonen. All athletes themselves, this group of advocates courageously forged through the obstacles, fighting for expanded opportunities for women throughout their tenures and transforming Oregon’s women’s sports into the intercollegiate program it is today. All of the leaders put their jobs and reputations on the line in order to advance women’s rights in the sports arena.
Coaches of Change
Janet Woodruff guided women’s athletics from 1929 to 1967. During her 38 years at Oregon, Woodruff was a leading women’s physical education instructor and coach, helping to expand the athletic offerings for women..
Becky Sisley’s efforts to implement Title IX mandates transformed women’s athletics at Oregon into the reputable program it is today.
Tom Heinonen played an integral role in bringing the women’s intercollegiate program up to par with the men’s. He fought for equal practice times, fairer travel and meal support, and more publicity for the women as a whole.
Lois Youngen made great strides for women as a leader in the teacher preparation programs for the physical education department, as well as a coach.