‘Title IX gave us that voice’
It’s been 50 years since the U.S. Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendment Act, banning sexual discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding. Though its promise has yet to be fully realized, the landmark act has opened doors to some elite female athletes at U-M, featured in the ‘Title IX Series’ from MGoBlue TV. All images are by Michigan Photography. Captions were sourced from mgoblue.com; get more sports and take a dip into the archives at M Magazine.
Carol Hutchins, Softball
Head coach Carol Hutchins is a legend at the University of Michigan. She is in her 38th season at the helm of the softball program. The second-winningest coach in NCAA softball history, Hutchins has guided the Wolverines to an NCAA title and 22 Big Ten Conference titles and solidified Michigan among the top softball programs in the country. Watch her episode.
Bev Plocki, Women’s Gymnastics
Bev Plocki has completed her 33rd season as head coach of women’s gymnastics. In 2021, the program won its first-ever national title. Plocki has led the Wolverines to 25 Big Ten championships, the most by any coach, in any sport, in Big Ten history. She also has guided the squad to 26 NCAA Championship appearances and 10 NCAA Super Six berths. Watch her episode.
Marcia Pankratz, Field Hockey
Marcia Pankratz is in her 22nd overall season as head coach of the University of Michigan field hockey program — and 13th year in her current second stint, returning to the reins as head coach in 2009, after a brief hiatus. Pankratz previously served as the Wolverines’ head coach for nine seasons (1996-2004) and led U-M to the 2001 NCAA title — the first by a women’s team in the history of Michigan athletics. She is the winningest coach in Wolverine field hockey history. Watch her episode.
Jennifer Klein, Women’s Soccer
Jennifer Klein’s fourth year at the helm of the Wolverines program proved to be one of the best in program history. U-M won its first Big Ten Tournament title since 1999, and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. Michigan concluded the season with a record of 18-4-3, tying the school record for wins in a season, and went 12-1-1 at home to match the best home record in school history. U-M finished the season ranked No. 7 in the United Soccer Coaches poll. Watch her episode.
Hannah Nielsen, Women’s Lacrosse
One of the most decorated athletes to play the game of lacrosse, Hannah Nielsen entered her fifth season in the 2022 campaign as the head coach of Michigan women’s lacrosse. A four-time national champion and two-time Tewaaraton Award winner, Nielsen boasts 11 years of coaching experience at the Division I level. Coming off a shortened 2020 season, Nielsen led Michigan to three conference victories in the 2021 season including a sweep of No. 14 Rutgers. Watch her episode.
Jan Dowling, Women’s Golf
In her eighth season as the head coach of the women’s golf program, Jan Dowling has built the Wolverines into one of the nation’s top women’s collegiate golf programs. Named the fifth women’s golf coach in U-M history in the fall of 2013, Dowling has reshaped the Wolverine program into a perennial Big Ten and a national contender. Watch her episode.
Kim Barnes Arico, Women’s Basketball
J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kim Barnes Arico finished her 10th season in 2021-22, leading the Maize and Blue to 25 wins and the first NCAA Elite Eight appearance in program history. She has guided the Wolverines to at least 20 wins in nine seasons, five NCAA Tournament appearances, an NCAA Elite Eight appearance (2022), an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance (2021), and the 2017 WNIT Championship. Barnes Arico is the winningest coach in program history. Watch her episode.
Ronni Bernstein, Women’s Tennis
Ronni Bernstein enjoyed her 15th season as head coach in 2021-22, guiding the Maize and Blue to nine Big Ten championships, three Big Ten Tournament titles, and nine NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. Bernstein achieved great success as an All-American collegiate player, touring professional, private instructor, and head coach. At U-M, Bernstein has compiled a 137-7 record in Big Ten matches with six perfect B1G seasons en route to nine Big Ten crowns. Watch her episode.
Honestly, in light of the SCOTUS decision, I’m expecting Title IX to be removed in the next few years. There seems to be a strong desire to remove women from everywhere but the home, and maybe even there, too.