University of Minnesota Alumni Association


Title IX at 50

The landmark 1972 legislation ushered in huge opportunities for women and girls. 50 years later, there’s still work to do.

Recognizing Sexism

Title IX occurred in tandem with other pushes for equality between the sexes during the late 60s and early 70s, including a resurgent women’s movement. Inspired by Civil Rights activists, women began marching for equal pay in the workplace, better promotion and educational opportunities, and an end to sexism, which was pervasive.

Like many departments, the U of M’s Institute of Technology (now the College of Science and Engineering) was making efforts to correct the enrollment imbalance between the sexes. A 1997 issue of Minnesota Technolog, a student-run publication, examined “Women in IT” from the early 1900s, noting that “less than 1 percent” of engineering students were female in early days. And for decades, each issue of the magazine had featured bathing-suit-clad snapshots of a “girl of the month,” usually a U of M student, along with details on her height and weight.

By the mid-’70s, the pinups were gone from the magazine and the Institute was actively promoting engineering to prospective female students.

It’s the first truly cold evening of December and the thump thump thump of a basketball traveling across the court echoes through Williams Arena. The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s basketball team is playing Nebraska and, despite the pandemic, the familiar game day staples are in place. The pep band plays the rouser as the crowd stands and claps. Cheerleaders arrange themselves into a standing pyramid. The Jumbotron ticks off the seconds.

There’s another constant, although one that’s not widely known to the crowd. Dressed in maroon and gold, Elizabeth Arendt, M.D., one of the team’s physicians, is cheering from her usual seat behind the scorekeepers. Arendt, who goes by Liza, is in her late 60s. That means she has a different perspective on this game than the college-aged fans sitting in the Barnyard section.

She understands that women playing in this storied building—let alone her career as a prominent orthopedic surgeon—are both hard-won victories that wouldn’t have been possible without the Title IX Education Amendments of 1972, a change to the Federal Civil Rights Act that became law 50 years ago this June.

That legislation—commonly known as Title IX— prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity, in all educational institutions and for activities that receive federal assistance. Its reach touches every aspect of the American educational experience, from bullying in elementary school to college recruitment, admissions, financial assistance, sexual assault, and treatment of pregnant students and LGBTQIA+ students.

Photo credit: Bettye Lane/Science Source • Document credit: University ArchivesEnter the photographer’s name.

While the legislation is arguably most visible for opening doors for female high school and college athletes, Title IX was originally passed to ensure more educational opportunities for women. In fact, gender equity in athletics was not even debated when the amendment was originally passed.

The impact of Title IX in the world of sports would benefit from the rise of the women’s movement in the late ’60s and early ’70s, as well as the growing visibility of a few breakout professional female athletes, including Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, and Dorothy Hamill. Those two developments helped initially highlight the disparities between men’s and women’s sports opportunities. In fact, the eventual advances in athletics under Title IX started not with policymakers, but with fathers and mothers filing lawsuits under the Act on behalf of their athletic daughters.

As the 50th anniversary of this landmark legislation approaches, it’s time to take stock of both its successes and the work that remains undone, as well as the controversies it continues to spark.

Minnesota Alumni spoke with U of M faculty, staff, and alumni who lived through these historic changes. Their stories and experiences illuminate the dramatic impact of Title IX on not only the University of Minnesota, but on the country as a whole.

“Title IX changed everything,” says Arendt, who completed a fellowship at the Medical School in 1985, and is also a professor and vice chair for the department of orthopedic surgery. “It allowed us to be who we wanted to be. Or at least it gave us the opportunity to try to be the full person that we wanted to be.”

Sports and Science: Elizabeth Arendt

"Title IX changed everything. It allowed women to be who we wanted to be. Or at least it gave us the opportunity to try to be the full person we wanted to be.”
- Liza Arendt, M.D.
Photo credit: Caitlin O'Hara

It was a letter sweater that got Liza Arendt to try sports. Growing up in the 1960s on the west side of Chicago, she was the seventh of nine kids, each of them athletically gifted. There weren’t a lot of sports opportunities for girls, but the Chicago Park District ran a program where players could receive points for participating in tournaments. Anyone who scored enough points won a blue-and-red letter sweater that was popular with Chicago kids.

Today, Arendt remembers the sweaters as “incredibly hideous.” Nevertheless, she wanted one. Luckily, her family lived across the street from Brands Park, one of the city’s locations for letter-sweater events. So, Arendt started racking up points, playing ping pong and horseshoes—she was the district champion in both. She played floor hockey and ran track and field. And, she played volleyball, which became her favorite sport.

When it came time for college, Arendt wanted a school where she could play on a volleyball team. But as one of nine children, she also had to consider finances. She was class president and the valedictorian of her all-girls Catholic high school, and her academic prowess led to her winning a Bausch & Lomb Science Scholarship at the University of Rochester.

“They flew me out there so that I could tour the school,” she remembers. “And all I wanted to do was see the athletic department. I didn’t want to necessarily see the math labs or the science labs.… I met the women’s athletic director and I asked what opportunities there were for women in sports. And there really weren’t too many.”

Newspapers: ©Minneapolis StarTribune • Button: Minnesota Historical Society

Arendt knew there was talk at the time of new legislation that, if enacted, would create more opportunities for women and girls, but it wasn’t anything she could bank on. Nevertheless, she enrolled at the University of Rochester in the fall of 1971. And she tried to satisfy her love for volleyball by signing up for a gym class that offered it. When the instructor noticed she knew a lot about the sport, she offered Arendt a job helping her teach the class.

At the time, volleyball had only four rules: You couldn’t catch or kick or throw the ball. And you couldn’t hit it three times in a row. (Two hits was fine.) Eventually, Arendt started running the intramural game at her school.

Title IX passed the summer before Arendt’s sophomore year. When she was starting her junior year in the fall of 1973, she was asked to become an athletic trainer for the newly formed women’s basketball and volleyball teams. It was a milestone for many reasons—including that the training room was now open a few hours each week for female athletes. Arendt became the first woman in the university’s history to become an athletic trainer.


In 1971, the U of M officially recognized Women’s Athletics, then managed by the Department of Physical Education and funded by $5,000 from the Regents’ reserve.

Working in the training room was a revelation for Arendt. She’d done well in her anatomy courses. Now, another piece of the puzzle was locking into place. “This whole world of sports injuries and muscle-skeletal injuries just was opened up to me. … The idea that you could look at how people moved and figure out what that meant for their injury patterns, to me was fascinating. I think I would’ve gone to medical school anyway,” Arendt says of her experiences, “but I don’t think I would’ve chosen orthopedics had [that] opportunity not befallen me.”

In 1984, Arendt moved to Minnesota to complete a sports medicine fellowship at the U of M. Over her nearly 40-year career at the University, she has become a leader not only in the orthopedics department, where she is vice chair, but also in sports medicine. During her tenure, Arendt has also been the orthopedic physician for the Gopher women’s teams. From 1990 to 1996, she was on the President’s Council for Physical Fitness and Sport before becoming vice chair of the department. Today, she still does surgery one day a week, in addition to her administrative duties and her work as the team physician for women’s volleyball and women’s basketball.


In 1974, the U of M women’s athletics budget increased to $250,000, but teams still had to schedule their competitions and practices around men’s teams and intramural sports.

When asked to reflect on Title IX, Arendt emphasizes how it allowed women to tap into their passions. “What really struck me about Title IX is that whether it was throwing a baseball around, or throwing a football around, or just playing a sport, women were doing it because they loved it. They weren’t doing it to be brave, or be courageous, or to try to do something different. It’s because they loved playing a sport.”

The Meaning of Role Models: Julie Manning

“Had I seen women who were in the athletic director chair during that time in my life, I would’ve most certainly aspired to be an athletic director.”
- Julie Manning

Julie Manning, deputy athletics director and senior woman administrator at the U of M athletics department, grew up during the late 1960s and 1970s in Granger, Iowa, a community of 600 people northwest of Des Moines. As in many small towns, residents were devoted to their high school sports teams, including girls’ basketball.

“On Friday and Saturday nights, the girls would play first and then the boys would play, and people would come out to watch the girls, and then they would often leave during the boys’ game,” Manning remembers. At the time, they played six-on-six. Manning was a forward. She says the community’s enthusiasm for her sport —it was common to hear people debriefing on games at the local coffee shop —was a motivating factor in her becoming a high school athlete.

Educational opportunities for women began to expand dramatically after Title IX was signed into law. For instance, at the U of M Law School in 1972 (below, versus 2021, above), men vastly outnumbered women. Today, incoming women students and graduates have outnumbered men at the school for the past five years. And at the U of M Medical School, 54 percent of students are now women.
Photos courtesy University of Minnesota Law School

“You certainly aspired to be one of those stars on Friday and Saturday night in the high school,” she remembers. Youth sports were sponsored by local businesses and included camps and other opportunities for boys and girls to improve their skills, albeit under the tutelege of mostly male coaches.

Given the community-wide support she felt, it was natural that Manning assumed a life in sports was hers for the taking. But when she enrolled at Iowa State University in 1978, she started to notice the inequities. Manning was on the golf team and worked at the university’s golf course as an undergraduate. There was only one strength coach for all of the female student athletes. Weight training took place in a former dance studio. The floors were wooden; the equipment limited to a single Nautilus machine and a few free weights. Men’s teams, by contrast, had more coaches, which meant male players received more personalized attention.

After graduation, Manning continued to work at the golf course. That job led to a career in golf course management and coaching, including a highly successful 19-year career at Iowa State, from 1985 to 2004. At the time, golf remained a male-dominated sport: Manning was often the only woman at events and in national golf organizations. (She was inducted into the National Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 2000.)


Nationally, in 1974 90 percent of women’s collegiate sports were coached by women; today that number is less than 40 percent.

During her coaching years, Manning was invited by the Iowa State athletic director, a man, and a senior woman administrator to sit in on the occasional administrative meeting. She credits both of them for actively promoting opportunities for women in athletics. In fact, participation across the country in women’s athletics has soared. The year before Title IX was enacted, there were approximately 310,000 American women and girls playing high school and college sports. Today, there are more than 3.4 million.

Breaking Barriers

In 1976, the U of M women’s basketball program offered its first scholarships and three young Black women, Kathie Eiland (B.S.B. ‘15), Drusilla Taylor, and Yvonne McDonald became the first women of color to receive them.

Eiland-Madison grew up in North Minneapolis and graduated from Marshall University High School right on the U of M campus. As a girl, she played pickup basketball with a who’s who of Minneapolis musicians, including Jellybean Johnson, members of Prince’s group Flyte Time, and her own brother David Eiland. She was, as she laughingly calls herself, “one of the cool kids in the city. I took a city bus down to school every day,” she recalls. “Hung out in Dinkytown. Got to know my way around the University even before I was enrolled.”

Eiland-Madison and her new teammates would be joined at the U of M by another local woman who would become the first All-American in the program’s history: Linda Roberts (B.A. ‘82) from St. Paul Central High School was not only a great friend of Eiland-Madison, but her chief rival in the state high school basketball tournament. Roberts was offered a scholarship a year after Eiland and the others and would go on to a stellar career at the University.

“We really didn’t know much about Title IX back then,” says Eiland-Madison. “We were just excited to have the opportunity to play college basketball at the U.”

Eiland-Madison graduated from the Carlson School of Management and has a long history as an executive for corporations in and around the Twin Cities, including the Carlson Companies, Target, U.S. Bank, and Children’s Hospital. She currently is a vice president for Delta Dental.

—Tim Brady

As her coaching career wound down, Manning decided to switch gears and try her hand at administration, first at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she oversaw the athletic department's coordination of Title IX. From there she went to the University of Wyoming. She’s been at the U of M since 2016, where she is the sports supervisor for men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and women’s golf. She also oversees everything from the supervision and evaluation of the intercollegiate athletics sport performance unit to serving as the department’s liaison with the Big Ten Network (BTN).

And, in the wake of the 2016 Gopher football team sexual assault scandal, where a woman alleged she was raped by multiple players—she later received a $500,000 settlement from the University—Manning would serve on the advisory committee of the President’s Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct, created by U of M President Eric Kaler in 2017. (In 2018, nine of those players sued the University over their suspensions, citing gender discrimination. In 2021, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lawsuit can proceed.)

Manning says her career trajectory has been a relatively smooth upward path. But she also admits that for her, there were no role models for the top job in her field, as university athletic director. (The U of M has never had an overall female athletic director, although Beth Goetz was the interim director from 2015-2016.)

Standout Linda Roberts (No. 81, above) received a basketball scholarship at the U of M in 1977, a year after Kathie Eiland, Drusilla Taylor, and Yvonne McDonald broke barriers as the first three Black women to receive athletic scholarships in the sport.

Inset: Kathie Eiland-Madison fondly remembers riding a bus to Marshall University High School, located on the U of M campus, long before she enrolled in college.
Photo courtesy Gopher Athletics

 “I really enjoyed the men I was working with, and they were very good to me and provided opportunities, but I started to realize that, uh-oh, there’s not a lot of women out here doing this. I felt a lot of pressure to do really well, to be perfect when I was in those environments,” she says, adding that she relished the chance to prove herself.

“My heroes were senior women administrators. That’s what I saw,” she says. “Had I seen women ... in the athletic director chair during that time in my life, I would’ve certainly aspired to be an athletic director.”

Still, she sees progress. “You talk to young coaches, mid-career coaches, early administrators, women, and I say, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’ They just absolutely say ‘I want to be an athletic director.’ I never said that.”

As for Title IX, Manning is unequivocal in her support. “I think one of the primary myths out there or misunderstandings about Title IX that it is taking opportunities away from young boys and young men,” she says. “It is about providing opportunities, equity for all ... [who] would like to have the opportunity to participate or engage.… Why would you not be hopeful in working for the opportunity for women to dream big, to do whatever they want to be, to not be denied at any turn in life whatever they would like to do, but to have our culture be educated?”

Room to Grow: Amanda Termuhlen

“I think a lot of the overt discrimination is not there anymore. But there are still a lot of the more subtle challenges. It’s the everyday work that I think will ultimately make a difference.”
- Amanda Termuhlen, M.D.

When Amanda Termuhlen, M.D., started medical school in the 1980s at Ohio State University, she estimates only 30 percent of her classmates were women. By the early 1990s, she began her career in academic medicine as Ohio State’s women’s liaison officer to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The position required her to attend the association’s national meetings. “There were many women faculty there discussing the barriers they had seen and the obstacles they had overcome, the overt discrimination they had faced,” she says. “And I thought, 'wow, 25 years from now, this is going to be great because we’ve got this community of women and men who are allies.'”

Today, Termuhlen is an associate dean for faculty affairs at the U of M’s Medical School and an expert in rare pediatric non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She is often also the senior woman in meetings that focus on women’s advancement opportunities. She says there has been progress, although it’s been incremental. “It’s very sobering when you realize that, yes, there are advances, but they are actually very, very small.”


On June 30, 2002, the University’s men’s and women’s athletic departments would combine into a single department.

While a 2019 AAMC report shows women now make up 50.5 percent of American medical students—at the U of M, 54 percent of medical students are women—only 28 percent of full professors at the Medical School are women, a statistic that tracks with national trends.

“All those years ago, I thought the [reasons women weren’t advancing] was because the pipeline was leaky,” she says. “Today, one of the biggest leaks is salary equity. The University of Minnesota and other universities around the country have been routinely paying attention to salary, especially as it [pertains to] gender equity. [But] no matter how you slice it … there is a small but persistent difference in salary by gender.”

LaRue Fields coached from 1987 to 1990. She was the first Black women’s basketball coach at the U of M.
Photo courtesy Gopher Athletics

Termuhlen says the Medical School is actively working to resolve those differences, examining everything from whether startup packages are the same for men and women to promotion rates, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. Search committees conduct implicit bias training to recognize the subtle ways women may be treated differently from men, such as being referred to by their first names instead of by title in letters of recommendation or by being the only female invited to a six-person panel. The Medical School has also instituted a new policy to give credits to nursing mothers who work in clinics so they aren’t penalized financially because they can’t see as many patients.

“When we’re thinking about Title IX, I think a lot of the overt discrimination is not there anymore,” Termuhlen  says. “But there are still a lot of the more subtle challenges” that people do unintentionally. And that’s harder to really address, she says. “It’s the everyday work that I think will ultimately make a difference.”

The Power of Friendships: Terry Ganley

Ganley became head coach in 2004 and starting in 2014, was also the associate head coach for the men’s team—a rarity in a profession where only 3 percent of men’s college teams are coached by women.
Photos courtesy Gopher Athletics

First Gopher female all-American in any sport. First student athlete to receive the U of M Presidential Outstanding Leadership award. Big Ten Coach of the Year. National Girls and Women in Sport Award. No doubt about it, now-retired women’s and men’s swimming coach Terry Ganley (B.S. ’79) has broken records. Not to mention glass ceilings.

Ganley started swimming—she was a sprinter— when she was 10. There were no school swimming teams for girls at the time (she attended Ascension Catholic School in Minneapolis), so she swam with the Ascension Swim Club in the Amateur Athletic Union.

Ganley lived at home when she started at the U of M in the fall of 1973. Getting to practice at the pool in the Norris Gymnasium for Women required a bus transfer downtown. There were no overnight lockers, so swimmers carried their swimming suits, towels, and shampoo with them in backpacks. Her coach, Jean Freeman, made only $50 a year for coaching, she recalls. The NCAA didn’t sponsor women’s sports until 1981, so the Gopher women competed in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).

Jean Freeman (B.S. ’74) is credited by many for her work to elevate female athletes at the U of M.
Photo courtesy Gopher Athletics

The team travelled to meets as far away as Duluth in a school bus. She remembers going to a Big Ten event in Indiana by van, staying overnight at a hotel outside Chicago. “We did a little swim at the hotel pool,” she remembers. “We did our turns with our hands up so we wouldn’t bump our heads on the [side of] the pool. I think at the time we were all just grateful to have the opportunity to participate, to compete.”

Ganley juggled her studies and swimming with a campus job, arranging her classes so that she’d have time to swim. “In the ’70s, when you went to college, you went to get an education. Participating in athletics was, I think for girls, looked on as kind of frivolous,” she says. “Parents were not interested in making sure that you had fun or had a good experience.”

She majored in education, specifically a teaching degree in physical education. She started student teaching in the early years of Title IX. The class was coed—a first. “The male phy-ed teachers and the women were not friendly at all,” Ganley remembers. “So I was caught in the middle of all of that, and it was really a difficult experience for me.”

Ganley graduated in 1979, but there were no jobs available in the Twin Cities, and she didn’t want to move outstate. Women’s athletics at the U of M was growing so Ganley got a job where 75 percent of her work was as the secretary for women’s gymnastics, golf, swimming, and diving. The rest of her time, she coached, working for Freeman, who she says was “forward thinking” and worked to close the disparities between male and female student-athletes. Eventually, the appointment evolved to full-time coaching. Ganley became head coach in 2004 and starting in 2014, was also the associate head coach for the men’s team—a rarity in a profession where only 3 percent of men’s college teams are coached by women.

During her tenure, Gophers swimming became a national powerhouse—more than 100 women student athletes earned over 450 All-America certificates. But when asked to reflect on how Title IX impacted her life, Ganley doesn’t focus on trophies or promotions. Instead, she talks about the life-changing relationships that arose from being able to bond over a shared passion—in her case, sports. “We’ve gone through marriages, divorces, births—now it’s grandchildren,” she says. “Title IX provided that opportunity for so many women to have that depth in their lives.”

Bigger Crumbs: Linda Wells

In 1974, Linda Wells became the first woman to be a full-time head coach in Minnesota, making $9,400 a year to coach volleyball, basketball, and softball. The men’s baseball coach at the time made $28,000 to coach a single sport.
Photo courtesy of Gopher Athletics

In 1972, when Linda Wells (M.S., ’81) came to the U of M to earn a graduate degree in exercise physiology, she was hired part time to coach the women’s basketball team. That job became full time after the passage of Title IX. But there was so little money in women’s coaching at the time that she needed additional income, which led to her also accepting head coaching appointments in softball and volleyball.

A gifted athlete who grew up in a small town 30 miles outside of St. Louis, Wells loved sports so much as a child that when she turned 6, it was evident to her father that she would want to join boys’ little league. That wasn’t an option at the time, so he and other men in town created a softball league so she could play. But while Wells is clear that she’s dearly loved her career, she also doesn’t overlook the disparities she’s witnessed. For instance: In 1974, she became the first woman to be a full-time head coach in Minnesota, making $9,400 a year to coach volleyball, basketball, and softball. The men’s baseball coach at the time made $28,000 to coach a single sport, she says, and the football coach was making in the $60,000 range.


In January 2018, the state-of-the-art $166 million Athletes Village opened at the U of M for both men’s and women’s sports.

Wells remembers having to drive a 1968 Ford Mustang with a drag so she could ready the softball fields herself before practice. Meanwhile, the baseball field was dragged and lined well before the coach and male players arrived to play. “It was all so clearly unfair that I became a marcher for equity,” she says.

Title IX and Litigation: An Ongoing Story

In October 2020, citing budget challenges and a need to address Title IX compliance issues, the U of M Board of Regents voted to eliminate men’s gymnastics, men’s indoor track and field, and men’s tennis. (The U of M also cut 41 women athletes as part of the move.)

Thirteen months later, former Gopher gymnast Evan Ng filed a lawsuit against the University in U.S. Federal Court. The suit asserts that the University’s male student-athletes are being discriminated against because the U of M cut three men’s teams to remain in compliance with Title IX. It’s a strategy that legal scholars agree is a unique challenge to how Title IX has been implemented at educational institutions across the country.

Ng, who earned a sports scholarship to attend the U of M, told a press conference that his dreams were “crushed” by the decision, which the University has not reversed. Gymnastics Coach Mike Burns and the remaining gymnasts have created a club program so that they can practice while the legal process gets resolved.

The suit is currently pending. University spokesman Jake Ricker released a statement to the media in October 2021 noting the suit “isn’t just about the University. It is a broad challenge to how Title IX has been implemented by the U.S. government across colleges and universities nationwide to achieve equal opportunity.”

This is not the first time Title IX has played a contentious role at the University. In 2014 a formal complaint was lodged against the U of M by an unnamed complainant raising a number of issues with women’s sports, including the distribution of financial aid, scheduling of competition and practices, and recruiting resources. In 2018, after a review that used data from the 2016-2017 academic year, the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a 58-page document, in which OCR found insufficient evidence that the University had violated Title IX opportunities for female athletes.

The document did not issue a finding about issues pertaining to female athletes’ locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities, and the provision of medical and training facilities because the University pledged to work collaboratively with the OCR to resolve any deficiencies.

Also in 1974, the U of M moved Wells’ office to the Bierman Athletic Building. Her office was next to Herb Brooks, the legendary hockey coach. Wells says Brooks and the other men in Bierman treated her cordially, but she felt the secretaries and office managers, who were women, snubbed her. “The message was ‘You don’t belong here,’” she says.

On the first day of volleyball practice in 1974, Wells arrived at the court to discover the football coaches playing a pickup basketball game. When she explained it was her team’s time, she says they ignored her. So, she called campus security, who didn’t want to kick the football coaches off the court.

“I said, ‘Listen, you’re going to throw them off the floor because it’s my court time. They are invading my court time.” She says that didn’t earn her many friends on the football staff. The men also were often on the balcony which overlooked the volleyball court. “They practiced, they showered, they had a training table meal at the end of the day, which is when our practice started. So now [the players] were eating their ice cream and leaning over the balcony. And day one, they started with wisecracks. ‘Hey, you got a cute butt.’ And ‘what are you doing later?’

“The next day, we went to practice, and I had a bullhorn. And the first time somebody said something, I had an entire list of negative remarks to make about the football team, like ‘I can’t believe that you only rush for negative 30 yards! How do you do that?’ This went on for about three days until one of the assistants came into my office and wanted a truce. And I said, I’m ready for a truce. The truce is it’s my court time and you tell your men, if they want to say ‘nice serve, good shot, nice dig,’ they can. But if you’re going to be up there and make a remark, I’ve got a whole bunch of bad stats on you. You are going to lose this battle because I am going to shame you out of that. And it should be your leadership that manages this, not mine. But if I have to manage my team and yours, I’m up for it.”

The women’s rowing team trains on the Mississippi River near campus.
Photo courtesy Gopher Athletics

When asked to reflect on the progress that’s been made since those days, Wells pauses. “I’m glad the crumbs are bigger,” she says. “But they are still crumbs.”

Of particular concern to Wells is the fact that now that coaching salaries have risen for women’s sports, the majority of those jobs have gone to men.

Coaching three sports eventually took a toll. With the exception of a short Christmas break, Wells estimates she had two free weekends a year. Wells left the U of M in 1998 for Arizona State University. According to a Star Tribune article from the time, the main reason Wells left was because the Sun Devils offered her a full-time assistant, a graduate student, and a student manager.

Elizabeth Foy Larsen is the senior editor of Minnesota Alumni.

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