Before Title IX, West Chester Coach Organized First National Championship in Women’s College Basketball

Carol Eckman and coaching staff
Image via Special Collections, West Chester University.
Carol Eckman, left.

Before Title IX was signed into law, pioneering coach Carol Eckman built a powerhouse women’s basketball program at West Chester University and organized the first women’s national championship in 1969, writes Mike Jensen for the Philadelphia Inquirer

Eckman’s former players remember her as an innovator, someone ahead of her time. She took over as a coach at West Chester in 1967, with her team winning all 12 games that first season. 

“She did things that other teams did not do,” said Linda Hill-MacDonald, a former Temple coach who played for Eckman at West Chester. “We did full-court pressure. Most teams did not do that.” 

Eckman also did not stick to college competitions for her team. During the first season at West Chester, the only available national competition was on the AAU circuit, which then meant players of all ages. While the team ended up being defeated, the experience prompted Eckman to organize a competition where college women would be competing against college women. 

Read more about Carol Eckman in the Philadelphia Inquirer

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