Lee Morrison

Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

Women For Madison

-Lee Morrison grew up in an era when cultural norms dictated that girls refrain from playing competitive sports. "Competition wasn't considered ladylike," Morrison reminisced of her childhood in Savannah, Georgia. When Morrison began her coaching career at Madison College in 1954, she did so because of its offerings in three competitive sports: basketball, tennis and field hockey, recognizing, "That's three more than most people had." But even Madison College had a limited program of competition at that time with only four basketball games comprising a season, and soon Morrison became active in promoting women's competitive sports nationwide. Her first foray into advocacy took place at a high school in South Carolina where a motion was passed not to let her speak at their meetings. She persevered. "This was the time when the Civil Rights Movement was rattling the country," she recalled, "and we realized there was a lot of discrimination against women." Title IX's landmark legislation in 1972 banned sex discrimination in school athletics, but it was the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), for which Morrison served as president in 1974, that expanded national championships in 18 sports and impacted an entire nation of young women. To further her lifelong ambition of enhancing women's sports, Morrison was instrumental in helping develop JMU's Morrison-Bruce Center to promote physical activity for girls and women. "Discrimination happens gradually and institutionally," Morrison said, convinced that though problems may not be intentional, they still abound. "It's too soon to give up the fight."

”Women didn't get paid for coaching back in those days — because we believed in it, you know. No free weekends, I can tell you.“

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Published: Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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