First and only director of women’s Athletics honored
Former Illinois State Director of Athletics for women Laurie Mabry was recognized in January during a Redbird women’s basketball game against Creighton. A banner honoring Mabry’s 25 years of service to Illinois State was unfurled prior to the game.
The recognition of Mabry and her successes kicked off a year-long celebration of Redbird women’s athletics to coincide with the 40-year anniversary of Title IX.
Mabry, who served as the director of athletics for women at Illinois State from 1960-1982, also served as the Redbird women’s golf coach and the women’s basketball coach.
Mabry was inducted in the National Associate of Collegiate Directors Hall of Fame in 1982. She was inducted into the Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Women’s Institute on Sport and Education Hall of Fame that same year.
During her ISU tenure, the department hosted the first women’s basketball national tournament in 1972. She led Illinois State’s women’s sports to a major national program.
In addition to taking Redbird women’s athletics to new heights, Mabry also worked to advance women’s athletics on a national stage. As one of the founders and a former president of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, Mabry was instrumental in the enactment of Title IX into law. Mabry will be honored with the 2012 Pathfinder Award at the annual American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Dance and Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education and Dance convention.
Mabry retired from Illinois State in 1985, finishing her career as a professor in heath, physical education, recreation and dance. Today the program is known as kinesiology and recreation.
Mabry’s banner is the 10th to hang in Redbird Arena. Women’s basketball greats Cathy Boswell ’83; Charlotte Lewis ’78, ’01; Kristi Cirone ’09; and Jill Hutchison, M.S. ’69, are represented. Others honor former men’s basketball players Doug Collins ’73, Bubbles Hawkins, and Jeff Wilkins. Former head coach Will Robinson and former Director of Athletics Milt Weisbecker are also remembered with a banner.