February 7, 2024 – On National Girls & Women in Sports Day, WeCOACH is proud to announce five recipients of the 2023-24 Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious WeCOACH Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to women in sports who succeed at the highest levels in their respective careers, while also displaying an unwavering commitment, pioneering spirit, and trailblazing leadership to empower and pave the way for girls and women in all sports and levels to breakthrough for many generations to come.
This year’s recipients include Coach Missy Foote (retired), Middlebury College Head Women’s Lacrosse & Field Hockey Coach; Dr. Christine Grant (posthumous), University of Iowa Director of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics & former Field Hockey Coach; Coach Bev Kearney, former University of Texas Women’s Track & Field Head Coach and Founder of InPursuit of Dreams Inc.; Coach C. Vivian Stringer (retired), Iowa & Rutgers University Head Women’s Basketball Coach; and Sister Lynn Winsor, Xavier College Preparatory Vice-Principal of Activities, Athletic Director, and Co-Head Girls Golf Coach.
“WeCOACH is privileged to have these women as special members of our community. We are honored to celebrate their inspirational achievements and the profound influence they have had on the athletes they coached. Each of these remarkable women have demonstrated a pioneering spirit throughout their careers, paving the way for future generations of coaches and athletes. Through their groundbreaking efforts, they have not only achieved unprecedented success, they have also opened doors and created opportunities for others to follow in their footsteps. They have advocated for gender equity, diversity, and inclusion, striving to create a more equitable and inclusive playing field for all. WeCOACH could not be more thrilled to bestow upon them our highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award,” said WeCOACH CEO Vanessa Fuchs.
About Dr. Christine Grant
Dr. Christine Grant was a nationally renowned athletics leader, trailblazing pioneer, and strong voice in the fight for gender equity in athletics. Grant, a native of Scotland played and coached field hockey in both her native country and Canada before coming to the University of Iowa to continue her education. In 1973, she made history by becoming Iowa’s first director of women’s intercollegiate athletics. As AD, her 12 Hawkeye programs won 27 Big Ten Championships, and in 1983, Dr. Grant hired fellow lifetime achievement recipient, C. Vivian Stringer, the first black women’s basketball coach in Big Ten Conference history. A founding member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), Dr. Grant played a significant role in the full implementation of Title IX as a consultant for the Civil Rights Title IX Task Force. Dr. Grant’s distinguished career earned her many accolades and honors including the NCAA’s 2007 Gerald R. Ford Award, the prestigious Billie Jean King Award presented by the Women’s Sports Foundation (1995), three honorary doctorates, and induction into the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame (2006). Dr. Grant will also be inducted into the 2024 USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame. She retired from Iowa on Aug. 31, 2000. From the beginning of the WeCOACH-NCAA Women Coaches Academies in 2003, Dr. Grant served as a faculty member presenting on Title IX and an Academy Scholarship has been established in her memory by WeCOACH co-founder, Judith M. Sweet. Sadly, we lost Dr. Christine Grant on Dec. 31, 2021. Read more about Dr. Grant here.
About Coach C. Vivian Stringer
Coach C. Vivian Stringer has been a pioneer, visionary, and leader during her four decades on the hardwood and her extraordinary achievements in women’s college basketball solidify her as one of the most influential and successful coaches in NCAA history. Stringer holds the distinction of being the first coach in NCAA history to lead three different women’s programs to the NCAA Final Four. She achieved this milestone with Rutgers in 2000 and 2007, the University of Iowa in 1993, and Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania) in 1982. Her Cheyney State Lady Wolves team remains the only HBCU program, women’s or men’s, to appear in an NCAA Division I Final Four or National Championship games. She surpassed the monumental 1,000 career victory mark in November 2018, the fifth NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach and the first African American coach to reach the milestone. She retired ranked fifth all-time in NCAA women’s basketball history with 1,055 career victories and became the NCAA record holder with 37 seasons of 20 or more victories. Stringer’s contributions to the sport have been widely recognized and honored throughout her career. She was honored as the Naismith National Coach of the Year for women’s basketball in 1993 and in 2020 received the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award. Additionally, Coach Stringer has been inducted into numerous halls of fame including the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2001) and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (2009), further solidifying her legacy as a coaching legend.
Founded in 2011, WeCOACH is a one-of-a-kind 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to recruiting, advancing, and retaining women coaches in all sports and levels through year-round professional growth & leadership development programs. Prior to Title IX, over 90% of women’s collegiate sports teams were coached by women. Today, over 50 years later, the data indicates that number has decreased to 46% in Division I, 41% across all three NCAA Divisions, with only 6.2% women head coaches of color (Division I). Only 5% women coach men’s teams. At the youth level, the data is hard to estimate, approximately less than 20% of teams are coached by women. WeCOACH launched MOVE the NUMBERS in 2022 to help change the landscape for women coaches and the student-athletes they lead. If she can see her, she can be her.