To the 50th anniversary of Title IX on the horizon, here’s a look at some of the women who played college sports through the law and capitalized on off-field opportunity. Some women used competitive skills learned how to play sports to become CEOs, commissioners and start their own companies:
Gail Koziara BUDRO
Athletic career: Dartmouth basketball, 1978-1982 She continues to lead her career in scoring and rebounding with 1,933 points and 1,635 rebounds in 89 games. Three-time Ivy League Player of the Year who led Big Green to the first of many league titles. Also an Ivy League shot put champion for four consecutive years, earning All-American recognition as a senior.
Business career: Boudreau earned an MBA from Columbia University Business School and has run several businesses. She is the former CEO of United Healthcare and took over as CEO of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare, a Fortune 500 company, in 2017.
In Title IX: Boudreau played for the Massachusetts high school basketball champions who were unable to train at their own gym. “We had to go to high school to practice, so Title IX didn’t apply then,” she said.
It’s one of the reasons paying up front is so important that Boudreau has given the coaching position to the women’s basketball team at Dartmouth. Her company also works with four WNBA teams on outreach programs.
Sports career: Two-time Olympic champion, 1980, 1984. Won a silver medal in rowing, 1984. All-American rower at Yale University, 1975-1979. Her most notable accomplishment as a college rower was perhaps her participation in the famous “Yale Strip” to protest the unfair treatment of male and female rowers at the school.
Business career: In 1991, she received her MBA from Washington DC. Gilder founded the Washington Works, a Seattle-based foundation dedicated to helping women on public assistance in the 1990s. In 2004, he became CEO and founder of the Gilder Office for Growth, a family investment office. She remains the head of the company. Managing member of Force 10 Enterprises, owner of Force 10 Hoops, Seattle Storm WNBA and Force 10 Sports Marketing.
On Title IX: “I’ve learned over the course of my career that barriers don’t matter. If someone thinks you can’t do something or you shouldn’t do it. If you want to do something, you have to go for it.”
Sports career: Gatorade Player of the Year, 1991. Brook-Marchiniak played in two national championship games, helping coach Pat Summit win her fourth national title in 1996. She was the 1996 Final Four MVP. The point guard also played in the American Basketball League and three seasons in the WNBA.
Business career: Recruiting coordinator and assistant coach for women’s basketball in South Carolina, 2003–2008. She worked with trainer Susan Wolvius to launch her own company, Sheex, in 2007, using quality fabrics for bedding and sleepwear. Brook-Marchiniak remains co-CEO along with Wolvius. Their products are sold nationally with plans for further growth internationally.
About Title IX: Everyone who has played Summitt has learned about the history of Title IX, how the game has evolved, and the history of those who came before it. As the Gatorade National Player of the Year, Brooke-Marciniak shared the magazine’s spread with Chris Webber when both played college national titles.
“He lost them. We won in Tennessee. So we move on to the pros and Chris is on a $14 million salary. And my first paycheck, I think… was $21,000. We are on the same path, right? We should have the same, you know, equality. But the pay disparity was huge, and it remains.”
Sports career: Hamptons, basketball and volleyball, 1987-1991. She helped Hampton win the 1988 NCAA Division II basketball title as Freshman of the Year. McWilliams was named CIAA Volleyball Player of the Year in 1990.
Business career: Received a master’s degree from Temple University, coached volleyball at the Virginia Union Club, and later became the first female assistant on the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball team. Worked for CIAA Sports Authority as Director of Compliance and Championships. McWilliams joined the NCAA in 2003 and rose to the rank of Director of Championships and Alliances. Hired in 2012 as the first black female CIAA commissioner.
On Title IX: “I think there is still a lot to be done. I would like to see more women, more women of color, black women in roles of opportunity and have that access. And we still have work to do.”
Sports career: Played basketball, lacrosse, tennis and captained the high school swim team. Played squash and lacrosse at Princeton from 1975 to 1977.
Business career: Started as brand manager at Procter & Gamble in 1979. Consultant at Bain & Company. She was Vice President of Strategic Planning for The Walt Disney Company and later for DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble and Hasbro. As CEO of eBay Inc. from 1998 to 2008 she led a new start-up with 30 employees. Whitman took over as CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2011. 2017. Bought a stake in Cincinnati MLS Football Club with her husband in 2019. President Biden appointed her as Ambassador to Kenya in December 2021.
On Section IX: “I liked team sports the most. When I’m putting together a business team, I still use those basketball aphorisms I learned when I was young: “Let’s pass the ball a little before the game.” “Do we need direct or zonal protection?” Whitman wrote in her book The Power of the Many.
To learn more about the impact of Title IX, see the full Associated Press Pack: https://apnews.com/hub/title-ix Video timeline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdgNI6BZpw0