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Indiana Fever coach to be guest speaker at Women in Athletics fundraiser

For five years since 1970, Lin Dunn was coaching three women’s athletics programs – tennis, volleyball and basketball – at Austin Peay State University before the passage of Title IX had even occurred.

Although changes allowing women to participate in sports were brewing, the opportunities were still few.

For five years since 1970, Lin Dunn was coaching three women’s athletics programs – tennis, volleyball and basketball – at Austin Peay State University before the passage of Title IX had even occurred.

Although changes allowing women to participate in sports were brewing, the opportunities were still few.

“Thank God for Title IX,” said Dunn, regarded as one of the most successful women’s collegiate and professional basketball coaches in history. “It was a huge piece of legislation. It created job opportunities for women in the field of sports and other good things.”

At 6:30 p.m., Friday, April 8, Dunn will chronicle her basketball coaching experience as the keynote speaker at a dinner to help kick off the first APSU Celebrates Women in Athletics endowment fundraiser. The dinner will be held on the floor of the Dunn Center.

Dunn’s coaching career preceded the passing of Title IX legislation in the 1970s – a crucial development in history that she fears many female student-athletes today take for granted.

“They play not realizing what the sacrifices were before them. It’s hard for them to realize it wasn’t always this way,” she said. “There certainly were no scholarships. Then, we didn’t even have a set of warmups; we had to wear borrowed warmups from the men’s athletes. Now they have two to three sets of warmups and six to seven pairs of shoes.”

Despite the achievements since the 1970s, much work remains to be accomplished in Title IX, Dunn said.

“We still need to see more opportunities on the professional level, and women’s team sports need to be accepted into mainstream America,” she said.

 

About Lin Dunn

Dunn is the fourth head coach of the WNBA Indiana Fever. She is considered one of the nation’s foremost pioneers of women’s basketball and one of its most prominent coaches and leaders. Dunn’s coaching resume includes four decades of coaching at the highest levels – the past 10 years in the professional ranks, with stints in Portland, Seattle and Indiana.

Since her collegiate coaching career began at Austin Peay in 1970, she put together a remarkable 25-year record that includes a .635 career winning percentage at four schools (447-257). She left three of those schools – Purdue, Miami and Austin Peay – as the winningest coach in program history.

Dunn perhaps is best known as the architect of the Purdue University women’s basketball program, guiding the Boilermakers for nine seasons (1988-96) and collecting three Big Ten conference titles. She led the Old Gold-and-Black to seven NCAA Tournaments, four Sweet Sixteen appearances and a trip to the Final Four in 1994. In nine years at Purdue, she earned a 206-68 (.752) record and catapulted the school among the elite women’s basketball programs in the country.

A native of Dresden, Tenn., she was named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 19, 2010, and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on April 24, 2010. She also is a member of the APSU Athletic Hall of Fame.

A former general manager and head coach of the Seattle Storm, Dunn was named head coach of the Fever on Dec. 12, 2007. After four seasons as head coach of the Fever, she now boasts 585 college and pro wins after leading Indiana to consecutive playoff berths. In 2009, she guided the East’s top-seeded team and led the Fever to her first-ever appearance in a WNBA Finals championship series. She was the runner-up in balloting for the WNBA’s 2009 coach of the year award.

Dunn’s first assignment in professional basketball was the coaching reigns of the American Basketball League’s Portland Power during its inaugural campaign in 1996-97. She won her first game on the same night she was introduced as the head coach. A year later, Dunn led the Power on a worst-to-first run that culminated with a 27-17 record and a Western Conference championship. The turnaround also earned Dunn the ABL Coach of the Year honor.

On the national level, she served on USA Basketball staffs for the 1992 Olympics and 1990 gold medal-winning World Championship and Goodwill Games teams. She was head coach of the 1995 bronze medal-winning USA Jones Cup team, and also served for eight years on the USA Basketball Team selection committee.

Dunn earned a B.S. degree in health, physical education and English from Tennessee-Martin. A year later, she received an M.S. degree in physical education from Tennessee-Knoxville.

 

About APSU Celebrates Women in Athletics

For the inaugural year, the 2011 Austin Peay Celebrates Women in Athletics, scheduled for April 8-9, will spotlight the 25th anniversary of the Lady Govs softball program. In addition, the softball field will be named in honor of Cheryl Holt, a longtime coach and assistant athletic director at APSU.

Each year, the Women in Athletics event will focus specifically on one sport and/or milestone. The goal is to celebrate women’s achievements in athletics and raise money for the women’s athletic programs.

This year’s event is co-chaired by APSU alumnae Susan Cole (’86), who starred on the first Lady Govs softball team and was on the basketball team, and Nancy Howell (’70), a tennis player for the Lady Govs.

The schedule includes a number of activities April 8-9:

            Celebration of Women’s Athletics dinner

            6:30 p.m., Friday, April 8, floor of the Dunn Center

            The dinner will feature guest speaker Lin Dunn, current WNBA head coach of the Indiana Fever and former APSU head coach of women’s basketball, volleyball and tennis from 1970-77. APSU coaches, staff, former players, Hall of Famers and Governors fans and supporters are invited. Limited space is available, and reservations are required. Tickets are $40 per person, $75 per couple. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 931-221-7761.

            Walk to Celebrate Women

            9 a.m., Saturday, April 9, begin and end on Drane Street next to the Dunn Center

            Individuals and teams are invited to walk around the APSU campus to help raise awareness and funds for APSU women’s athletic programs. Fun walk T-shirts will be given to those who preregister. Check-in is at 8:30 a.m. For more information or to register, call 931-221-7024 or 931-221-7615.

            Tailgate Brunch

            10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 9, softball field

            Prior to the Lady Govs softball doubleheader, a tent will be set up for APSU fans. Drinks and light refreshments will be served. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the tent prior to the event.

            Softball field naming and 25th anniversary celebration

            12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 9, softball field

            The softball field will be named in honor of Cheryl Holt, a longtime coach and assistant athletic director at APSU.

            Lady Govs softball against OVC rival Murray State in doubleheader

            1 p.m., Saturday, April 9, Cheryl Holt Softball Field

 

            In conjunction with the weekend events, the Women’s Athletic Endowment to support financially women’s athletics at APSU will be launched. To make a donation or pledge to help support the endowment, call Chrissy Booth in the APSU Office of University Advancement, 931-221-7130. -- Melony Shemberger