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Marlene Mawson Brought Women's Athletics To University Of Kansas

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Frank Thompson
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In 1968 neither the University of Kansas or Missouri had women's basketball.

Known as the “Mother of KU Women’s Athletics,” Mawson initiated athletics for women at KU in 1968.

As an instructor in the KU Women’s Physical Education Department in 1968, Marlene Mawson's work establishing women's sports at the university beginning in 1968 was done alone and without a salary.

It did allow Mawson to take part in a program that trained women how to coach female athletes for the Olympic sports they could compete in. "I think it was a political move," said Mawson, "and the Olympic committee was instructed to enhance the United States' ability to win medals."

Learning the Olympic rules for women's sports allowed these coaches to teach to a higher skill level.

What it also did was give coaches like Marlene Mawson the tools to hold workshops in their states generating great interest in inter-collegiate competition for women. That led to recruiting women athletes from the college ranks for America's Olympic teams.

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