ASSOCIATION FOR INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS FOR WOMEN (AIWA) (1970-1982)

ASSOCIATION FOR INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS FOR WOMEN (AIWA) (1970-1982)

In the 1950s and 1960s there was a cry for more organization for women’s athletics, mainly to provide for more opportunities. Before Title IX, action was already being taken to improve women’s sports by forming a governing body that would help organize women’s sports, namely the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) that evolved out of the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. The movement to establish AIAW began with professors and coaches at a few colleges, including Doris Harrington from Alfred University. The AIAW governed collegiate women’s athletics in the United States and administered national champions, functioning in the equivalent role for college women’s programs that the NCAA had been doing for men’s programs.

As shown before, women’s and men’s sports were treated much differently, with the men receiving more funding and coverage via television and other outlets. According to Dr. Leotus Morrison, a former teacher and coach at Madison College /James Madison University, as well as a founder and one time president of the AIAW, “None of the conferences, leagues, nor national athletic organizations was providing any leadership or competitive participation to women.” The AIWA established national championships for women’s sports and encouraged the organization of women’s sports at all levels, including local, state and regional. It expanded quickly and sponsored almost 1,000 member schools. By the late 1970s it had even secured a T.V. contract and its championships series were aired on national TV. AIAW offered 41 national championships in 19 sports – badminton, basketball, cross country, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, indoor track and field, lacrosse, rowing, skiing, soccer softball (fast and slow pitch), swimming and diving, synchronized swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The AIAW disbanded in 1982 after the NCAA began to offer championships for women. The AIWA had a deep impact on the organization of women’s sports nationally and the organization and its members where true pioneers in women’s sports.

The Women’s Sports Museum is proud to honor AIWA with the Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement award.

“In Memoriam” for Doris Harrington

Doris Harrington (1923-2018) graduated from Ithaca college in 1943, and was an instrumental leader at a pivotal time in the nation of sports where her tireless work with women’s sports showed her dedication to equality for women in sports. A guiding figure when Alfred University (“AU”) moved into the world of women’s intercollegiate athletics, Doris came to AU in 1961 in the pre-varsity sports-era (women were restricted to inter-class and intramural competition aligned with “play day activities”) where she served as chairperson of AU’s Division of Physical Education – the first woman to chair a division at AU. Under her leadership, Alfred became a charter member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and began women’s intercollegiate sports at AU. Doris was an active member of AIAW even before AU fielded its first women’s intercollegiate teams in volleyball and basketball, and served as a founding member and the organization’s President. Further, during a seven-year period at Hartford Central School (NY), Doris gained wide attention when she was head coach of boys basketball. Her baseball team made the playoffs. Her career also includes: Instructor in service program at Geneseo State in 1951; Head of girls department and physical education instructor at George Washington High School in Alexandria, VA; Physical Education instructor at Geneseo Central School (1952-54), Instructor in practice school; Women’s College University of North Carolina (1954-56); Supervisor physical education, Greensboro schools; Summer program Geneseo State. Doris received a distinguished Service Award (1980) from the NYS Women’s Physical Education Association; was inducted into Alfred University Athletic Hall of Fame (1987); and AU’s softball facility (“Harrington Field”) was named in her honor for her trailblazing efforts for AU to offer varsity softball in 1993 and she threw out the first pitch in the stadium on April 19, 2013.  Doris’ legacy lives on at the Women’s Sports Museum through her generosity and tireless dedication to equality for women in sports by funding programs dedicated to Title IX to be offered by the WSM to inspire girls through the power of sports.

Doris Harrington was instrumental at a pivotal time in the nation of sports and women in sports. Her tireless work with women’s sports shows her dedication to equality for women in sports. Her pioneering of the AIAW and other pursuits had an impact on the organization of women’s sports nationally.

Doris Harrington (Professor Emeritus) was a guiding figure when Alfred University moved into the world of women’s intercollegiate athletics. She came to AU in 1961 in the pre-varsity sports-era. Women were restricted to interclass and intramural competition aligned with “playday activities.”
Under her leadership, Alfred became a charter member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). Doris was an active member of AIAW even before AU fielded its first women’s intercollegiate teams in volleyball and basketball.
During her seven-year period at Hartford Central School (NY), Doris gained wide attention when she was head coach of boys basketball. Her baseball team made the playoffs. Her career also includes: Instructor in service program at Geneseo State in 1951; Head of girls department and physical education instructor at George Washington High School in Alexandria, VA; Physical Education instructor at Geneseo Central School (1952-54), Instructor in practice school; Women’s College University of North Carolina (1954-56); Supervisor physical education, Greensboro schools; Summer program Geneseo State. Her biggest thrill at AU was the opening of the McLane Center and the beginning of women’s intercollegiate sports. She received a distinguished Service Award (1980) from the NYS Women’s Physical Education Association.  She was chair of the Division of Physical Education at AU from 1970 to 1985, volleyball coach and coordinator of Women’s Sports.