Celebrating SIU Women's Athletics
"It was great to reconnect with fellow athletes from the past. I was truly impressed by the number of women who still harbored feelings about SIU to travel back for the weekend's festivities. It's great to know that many feel the same way that I do, they still 'bleed maroon'! I can't thank the committee members or SIU athletics enough." -Sonya (Locke) Hopkins '83
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois athletic department, along with the Chancellor's office hosted several Celebrating Women's Athletics events Jan. 17-18, 2009. Female student-athletes that competed for SIU prior to 1980 were invited back to campus for a weekend of festivities.
Eighty-nine women from 17 states came to Carbondale for the weekend representing five decades of athletic competition prior to and including 1980.
The weekend began with a meet and greet reception at the Student Center, followed by a brunch where each of the former student-athletes received a framed official athletic letter award.
The former student-athletes were then recognized at halftime of the women's basketball game against Drake, followed by a post-game reception sponsored by the SIU Alumni Association.
On Sunday, the group were offered the opportunity to take a guided campus tour before being recognized at halftime of the men's basketball game against Bradley.
"The celebration was exactly what the planning committee hoped it would be," former coach and administrator Charlotte West said. "The honorees were thrilled with the entire weekend--receiving their plaques and being recognized during both the men and women's games. The brunch, co-sponsored by Chancellor Goldman and Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, was first class in every respect as was the reception sponsored by Michelle Suarez and the SIU Alumni Association. Many old friendships were renewed and their pride in and loyalty to Southern were likewise expanded."
Former Southern Illinois Athletic Hall of Fame members in attendance included Lynn Hastie Fitzpatrick (golf, field hockey, basketball - 1965-71), Sonya Locke Hopkins (volleyball - 1979-83), Judy Auld (basketball, softball, tennis - 1969-72), Toni Smith (basketball, volleyball, field hockey, softball, badminton - 1964-68), Terry Spencer (gymnastics - 1969-73), Char Warring (basketball - 1980-84), Paula Smith (golf - 1964-68), Bethel Stout (basketball, softball, volleyball, field hockey, badminton, track - 1966-70), Julee Illner (field hockey coach), Kay Brechtelsbauer (softball coach) and Charlotte West (coach and administrator)
In addition, the oldest former student-athlete attending was Zella Boner Spani, a captain for the freshmen women's basketball team in the 1930s.