NJCAA Flashback: A history of women in the NJCAA

On the 32nd Annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day, take a look back at the monumental moments achieved by females that helped shape the rich history of the NJCAA. From hosting the first championship held for women by a coed national collegiate athletics organization to appointing the first female chief executive of any intercollegiate athletics organization, the NJCAA has always been at the forefront of providing opportunities for females.

For an in depth look at how female athletics were shaped in the NJCAA, read the 75th Anniversary Feature Series article: TRAILBLAZERS

To celebrate with the NJCAA throughout February 7, use  and  on social media.


Historical women's moments throughout the history of the NJCAA

June 23, 1972: President Richard Nixon implements Title IX, a law that George E. Killian saw as an opportunity for the NJCAA to grow and added the Presidents' Special Study Committee to analyze the prospect of adding a separate division for women in the NJCAA.

December 1974: CCBC Catonsville hosts the first NJCAA Women's Volleyball Invitational Championship in Baltimore, MD. The championship is the first held for women by a coed national collegiate athletics organization.

March 1975: The NJCAA establishes the first women's division for collegiate athletics in the United States.

May 1975: The first NJCAA Women's Tennis Invitational Championship is held in Kerrville, Texas.

November 1975: The NJCAA Women's Volleyball Championship is reclassified as a national championship. Ocean County (N.J.) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Field Hockey Invitational Championship in Toms River, New Jersey.

February 1976: Schoolcraft (Mich.) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Invitational Championship in Livonia, Michigan.

March 1976: The NJCAA Women's Basketball Tournament is reclassified as a national championship. Jefferson State (Ala.) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Gymnastics Invitational Championship in Birmingham, Alabama. The first NJCAA Women's Alpine Skiing Invitational Championship is held in Smuggler's Notch, Vermont.

May 1976: Dodge City (Kan.) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Outdoor Track & Field Invitational Championship in Dodge City, Kansas. The NJCAA Women's Tennis Championship is reclassified as a national championship and is hosted by Midland (Texas).

June 1976: Temple (Texas) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Golf Championship in Temple, Texas. 

November 1976: Farmingdale A&T (N.Y.) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Cross Country Invitational Championship in Farmingdale, New York.

March 1977: The NJCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championship is reclassified as a national championship. Erie (N.Y.) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Bowling Invitational Championship in Buffalo, New York.

May 1977: Iowa Central hosts the first NJCAA Women's Softball Invitational Championship in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

May 1978: The NJCAA Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championship is reclassified as a national championship. 

March 1980: The first NJCAA Women's Indoor Track & Field National Championship is held in Columbia, Missouri. 

November 1980: The NJCAA Women's Cross Country Championship is reclassified as a national championship and is hosted by North Idaho in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

March 1981: Former Roane State (Tenn.) women's basketball player Bernadette Mattox leads Georgia to the 1981 NCAA NIT Championship and becomes the school's first female All-American.

May 1981: The NJCAA Women's Softball Championship is reclassified as a national championship and is hosted by St. Louis-Meramec (Mo.).

November 1982: Monroe CC (N.Y.) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Soccer Invitational Championship in Rochester, New York. 

June 1986: Southwestern Michigan hosts the first NJCAA Women's Marathon Invitational Championship in Dowagiac, Michigan.

November 1989: The NJCAA Women's Soccer Championship is reclassified as a national championship and is hosted by Mercer County (N.J.). 

March 1990: Elected as the 13th President of the NJCAA, Lea Plarski from St. Louis-Florissant Valley (Mo.) becomes the first female to hold the office.

June 1990: Former Roane State (TN) women's basketball player Bernadette Mattox becomes the first female assistant coach for an NCAA Division I men's basketball team under Kentucky head coach Rick Pitino.

April 1993: Former NJCAA All-American and 1991 NJCAA Player of the Year Sheryl Swoopes from South Plains (TX) is named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament after leading Texas Tech to its first national championship.

April 1995: The NJCAA adds Division II for women's basketball, cross country, and soccer.

May 2004: Finger Lakes (N.Y.) hosts the first NJCAA Women's Lacrosse Invitational Championship in Canandaigua, New York.

July 2009: Interim Executive Director Mary Ellen Leicht is appointed as the third Executive Director of the NJCAA. Leicht becomes the first female chief executive of any intercollegiate athletics organization in the United States.

February 7, 2018: NJCAA participates in 32nd Annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day.

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