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Celebrating 50 Years of Women’s Varsity Athletics

Springfield College varsity field hockey team In the1963-64 academic year, Women’s Varsity Athletics at Springfield College officially began with field hockey, basketball, softball and tennis. These teams ushered in a brand new era at Springfield College. Advances in the women’s sports program have continued ever since. Our female athletes and coaches have become great leaders in the sports world. Starting in fall 2013, Springfield College will be hosting special events, and the Archives and Special Collections will be right there, creating memories, revisiting our past, learning, and sharing what we have learned. Visit this page for links to our historical investigations.


Springfield College Museum
A new exhibit celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Women's Varsity Athletics at Springfield College opened in September in the Springfield College Museum and will remain in the museum throughout the 2013-2014 school year. This initial exhibit celebrates the first four varsity sports; Basketball, Field Hockey, Softball and Tennis. Through photographs, documents and memorabilia, the story is told of their beginnings and some of the many highlights from their fifty years of existence (way more than can possibly be shown in one exhibit!). Some of the fun items on display is an original tennis racket belonging to Jone Bush, the first coach of the tennis team, a softball commemorating 200 wins by legendary softball coach Diane Potter (as well as some very nice commemorative bats), and some wonderful early photographs of Dottie Zenaty (one of two women to play all four sports in that inaugural year!). This is but a small sampling. And there is so much more to come. How about one of the original uniforms worn by early women athletes? Stop back to see and find out more...

HistoryPin
Over the past year and a half the Archives and Special Collections has worked with Dr. Mimi Murray and the graduate students in her Heritage and Values of Sport and Physical Education course to research the history of the Women's Varsity Athletics at Springfield College. Designed to teach students about the cultural heritage and values of human movement and sport from a philosophical and historical perspective, the projects have tried to add to the class, by tapping into that well-spring of "Spirit" inherent in cultural and historical study. Using real-life examples they strive to help stimulate discussion and passions, as well as teach historical research methods. In the Spring of 2013, a special Heritage and Values class, consisting of only Graduate Students, and a College Archivist, created "tours" on the historical social media site HistoryPin to showcase this research. The "Tours" use photographs and documents from the College's Archival collections to tell the history, or historical tale, of four of the early SC Women's Varsity Athletics Teams, including Basketball, Field Hockey, Gymnastics and Softball. Enjoy these wonderful "Tours" to view and learn about the early SC teams and the amazing athletes and coaches who made the history. Feel free to share your own stories, correct us where we went wrong, or link us to other stories that add to our understanding in the "Collections" that have been created from these tours. Truly, we welcome All comments, questions, and stories about the photographs and documents shown!

Springfield College softball player bunting ball Digital Collections
Below are links to digitized items from the archives that relate to our celebration of fifty years of Women's Varsity Athletics at Springfield College. Some of the items include team photographs, newspaper articles, rosters, brochures, plaques, action photographs, and videos of games (like a performance at the 1968 DGWS intercollegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships ).
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