Golden Moments
The 1970s


University of Iowa President Sandy Boyd elevates Women’s Athletics to intercollegiate status.

Women receive funding for first ever uniforms, travel, meals, and release time for coaches who are instructors and graduate students in the women’s physical education department.

The per diem meal limit was $2 for an “evening meal” or $4 if out of town for all three meals. The total budget for women’s sports was $30,000.

Dr. Christine Grant is named Women’s Athletic Director.

Intercollegiate status programs include tennis, golf, volleyball, field hockey, fencing, basketball, softball, gymnastics, bowling, badminton, swimming, and track & field.

  • 1974

    First full-time coach (basketball) is hired for Women’s Athletics.

  • 1975

    Iowa awards first-ever scholarships to women athletes. 27 individuals in nine sports received in-state tuition awards. [Pictured: 1975 Women's Golf team]

  • 1974-76

    Iowa athletes compete at the AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) Championships in swimming, golf, gymnastics, field hockey. [Pictured: 1975 Field Hockey team]

  • 1977

    The Iowa Cross Country team is formed.

  • 1978

    In the first five years of intercollegiate status, eight teams compete on the regional level. Two teams represent Iowa in national competition and multiple individuals compete at the national and international levels.



The Program Grows
183 athletes compete on 10 teams. Sport sponsorship includes: basketball, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field/cross country, and volleyball.

Dr. Christine Grant is elected President of AIAW.

The 1980s


In 1982 Iowa Women’s Athletics participates as a member of the NCAA for the first time.

The same year, Cross Country wins Iowa’s first Big Ten Championship, hosted by the University of Iowa.

During the 1980s, Field Hockey wins the Big Ten Tournament Title (1981), the regular season Big Ten Title six (6) times, appearing in eight (8) NCAA Championships, and advancing to five (5) Final Fours.

In 1986 Iowa Field Hockey is crowned the NCAA National Champions.

  • 1981

    Iowa and nine other women's athletic programs are affiliated into the Big Ten Conference.

  • 1982

    The University of Iowa hosts its first AIAW National Championship. Sixteen teams participated in the Division 1 National Tennis Championships.

  • 1982

    Cross Country wins Iowa’s first Big Ten Championship, hosted by the University of Iowa.

  • 1983

    Carver Hawkeye Arena opens, housing all women's sports programs.

  • 1985

    Women's Basketball has first ever sold-out crowd of 22,157, at the time an NCAA record, and the women's athletic administration receives a letter of reprimand for exceeding building seating capacity.

  • 1986

    Field Hockey wins the NCAA National Championship.

  • 1987

    Field Hockey's Liz Tchou becomes first Iowa female athlete to have their jersey retired.

  • 1989

    Softball wins its first ever Big Ten Conference Championship, advances to NCAA postseason competition. Gayle Blevins named Big Ten Coach of the Year and Terri McFarland named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

  • 1989

    Volleyball advances to its first ever NCAA Tournament Championship appearance.



Basketball shares Big Ten regular season titles in 1986-87, 1988-89, 1989-90, and wins the outright Big Ten regular season title 1987-88.

In 1986 the Hawkeyes advanced to their first NCAA appearance. In 1987 and 1988 they advance beyond the NCAA Sweet Sixteen to the Elite Eight.

In 1988 Michelle Edwards is named the Champion Products and WBCA National Player of the Year.

The Hawkeyes round out the decade in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1989.

Also in 1989, Volleyball advances to its first ever NCAA Tournament Championship appearance.

The 1990s
A Decade of Titles

A Decade of Titles

In 1990 Softball wins the regular season Big Ten Championship and repeats in 1997. They have six (6) NCAA Women’s Softball Tournament appearances in the 90s.

In 1992-93 Basketball shares the regular season Big Ten title, in 1991-92, 1995-96 and 1997-98 the Hawkeyes win regular season titles outright, and in 1997 wins the Big Ten Tournament title. During the 90s Basketball appears in eight (8) NCAA Championships including a trip to the Final Four in 1993.

During the 1990s Field Hockey makes eight (8) appearances in the NCAA Tournament advancing to the Final Four five (5) times. Additionally winning the Big Ten Regular season title six (6) times and the Big Ten Tournament Title in 1994.

  • 1990

    Michelle Edwards becomes the first women’s basketball player to have their jersey number (#30) retired.

  • 1991

    Iowa Golf wins first ever Big Ten Championship and advances to NCAA Team Championship.

  • 1992-93

    Tracy Dahl becomes Iowa's first women's Big Ten Cross Country Champion. In winning the NCAA Indoor 5K Meter Championship in 1992 and 1993, she becomes Iowa's first two-time NCAA Champion.

  • 1993

    Head Basketball Coach, C. Vivian Stringer, is named Iowa’s first ever Naismith Women's Coach of the Year.

  • 1994

    Iowa adds Rowing as an intercollegiate sport.

  • 1995

    Iowa Softball advance to their first-ever NCAA Women's College World Series, repeating this feat in 1996 and 1997.

  • 1997

    Soccer is added as an intercollegiate sport.

  • 1999

    Nan Doak, Cross Country and Track & Field athlete, is the first female inducted into the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame.

  • 1999

    Tennis participates for the first time in the NCAA Individual Doubles competition.

The 2000s
An End and New Beginnings

An End and New Beginnings

The 2000s begin with a major change as Dr. Christine Grant retires as Women’s Athletics Director. Later that year, the men’s and women’s athletics departments merge.

The decade will see additions and improvements to the athletics facilities.

In 2002 the Iowa Soccer competition field is built and in 2006 an outdoor practice field is added.

The Gerdin Athletic Learning Center is built in 2003 to support the academic endeavors of all student athletes.

In the summer of 2006 the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex (HTRC) opens in support of tennis, field hockey, and soccer; adding support service areas, practice, and competition facilities.

  • 2000-09

    In the decade Softball wins two Big Ten regular season and two Big Ten Tournament titles and advances to nine (9) NCAA Tournament appearances and participates in the 2001 Women’s College World Series.

  • 2001

    Rowing makes their first team appearance at the NCAA Championships.

  • 2006

    Kineke Alexander becomes the first Iowa 400-meter indoor NCAA National Champion and is an eight (8) time All-American honoree, the most of any female athlete in school history.

  • 2007-08

    Basketball shares the Big Ten regular season title.

  • 2008

    Field Hockey appears in the NCAA Final Four in 2008. Field Hockey earned three consecutive Big Ten Championships from 2006-2008.



The decade closes with the 2009 opening of the P. Sue Beckwith Boathouse. It is the first University of Iowa building named solely for a female benefactor and it is the first athletics operations building dedicated on behalf of a women’s sport program.

The 2010s
Elite Era

Elite Era

Beginning in 2010 the Hawkeye Basketball team appears in eight (8) NCAA Tournaments.

Ending the decade on a very high note, in 2019 the team captures the Big Ten Tournament title, advances to the Elite Eight, Megan Gustafson wins the Naismith Trophy, and Head Coach Lisa Bluder brings home the Naismith Coach of the Year award.

As part of their NCAA Tournament run, Iowa breaks the NCAA all-time attendance record for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament with a combined two-day total of 23,096.

  • 2010

    The Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC) opens in support of swimming and diving, boasting a 50-meter competitive swimming pool and an 18-foot-deep diving well.

  • 2013

    Soccer makes their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.

  • 2013

    The James M. Hoak Family Golf Complex opens, housing state of the art indoor and outdoor practice facilities.

  • 2016

    Iowa’s indoor track and field practice and competition facility renovation is completed with a new state of the art banked track.

  • 2018

    Rowing advances to the NCAA Championship, finishing 13th in 2018-19.

  • 2018

    The HERkys organization is formed with a mission to celebrate the rich history and tradition of women’s athletics at the University of Iowa, and is committed to supporting, engaging, and empowering the next generation.

  • 2019

    Laulauga Tausuaga becomes the first University of Iowa field NCAA National Champion (Discus).



In their fourth decade of excellence, which includes advancing to the NCAA Championship four (4) more times, Field Hockey earns another first: they win both the Big Ten regular season and Big Ten Tournament Championships in the same season.

The 2020s
  • 2020-21

    Gymnastics wins their first ever Big Ten regular season Championship.

  • 2020-22

    Field Hockey ranked #1 for the first time ever in the history of the program, claims Big Ten regular season title in 2020-21, advances to the NCAA tournament in 2020 and 2021, and returns to the Final Four in 2020.

  • 2020

    Xtreme Arena opens and is the new competition home for Iowa Volleyball.

  • 2021

    Track and Field athlete Marissa Mueller becomes University of Iowa’s 22nd Rhodes Scholar and only the second female in UI history to earn the honor.

  • 2021

    Soccer wins their first ever Big Ten Tournament title. The new Soccer Operations Building opens and is the second dedicated women’s athletics facility.

  • 2021

    Women’s Wrestling is announced as Iowa’s 13th intercollegiate women’s sport.

  • 2020-22

    2021-22 Basketball, for the first time in the history of the program, wins both the Big Ten regular season and Tournament titles. They advance to the NCAA Tournament in 2021 and 2022. In her first two years in the program, Caitlin Clark wins five (5) National awards.

50 Years of Title IX

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act

Following the adoption of Title IX on June 23 1972, the University of Iowa elevated 12 women’s club sports to varsity status in 1973. That was only the beginning. With the unshakeable belief that a sport experience can truly empower a woman, Iowa Women’s Athletic Director, Dr. Christine Grant, continued to advocate for equal opportunities for women at the local, regional, and national level. She was a national voice, passionately educating and empowering leaders across the country to push for equal opportunities. Her work continues to inspire and motivate us to this day.

Title IX Grew Up in Iowa City

Before Title IX, there was Christine Grant

And in the years immediately following the passage of Title IX, Iowa’s first—and only—Director of Women’s Athletics emerged as the go-to defender of the new law. Dr. Grant was among the first to understand the full measure of what Title IX meant to women’s collegiate athletics and she was especially well qualified to articulate and defend those implications.

  • 1971

    Iowa joins the AIAW

    Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women

  • 1972

    Title IX Enacted

  • 1973

    UI President Sandy Boyd elevates 12 women's club sports to varsity status

  • 1973

    Dr. Christine Grant named Women's Athletic Director

  • 1975

    First women's athletic scholarships awarded