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Hall-of-fame basketball coach reflects on career, Title IX impact

Linda Hargrove coached at nearly every level, including at Wichita State University and in the WNBA.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:05 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It was 50 years ago to the day Thursday, June 23, that the Education Amendments Act was signed into law. In that law is Title IX (nine), which recognizes gender equality in education. Although athletics wasn’t mentioned, the law forever altered women’s sports, giving new opportunities for female athletes and coaches, including Linda Hargrove, a decorated basketball coach and member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Hargrove coached at the junior college level with County Community College, at the NCAA Division I level at Wichita State University, at the professional level in the WNBA and with the U.S.A. Women’s National Team in the Olympics.

Now retired and living in Derby, Linda Hargrove and her husband, Ed, have combined to impact women in sports for more than 60 years. They’ve been married for nearly 52 years, since before Title IX.

“We didn’t have volleyball or basketball or anything,” Linda said. “We did start running track before I graduated from high school, but those opportunities just were not available. With the enactment of Title IX, then everybody kind of (took) a new look, ‘oh, I’m going to get my federal funding, I better provide something for the women.’” “We’ve come a long ways, we have a long ways still to go, but the opportunities just were not there in those early days.”

Hargrove started the women’s basketball program at Cowley College in 1972. Her niece, now athletic director at the reflected on her aunt’s legacy.

“They didn’t have those opportunities. She’s one of those great pioneers that spearheaded it here at Cowley,” Ali Nittler said. “Thankfully it got started and she was one that ran with it.”

Hargrove coached at every level, reaching the professional level before retiring. Looking forward, she reflects on her hopes for women’s sports.

“I’d like to see Koch Arena filled for the (Wichita State University) women’s games, the salaries become closer for men coaches as women coaches,” she said. “We have a long ways to go still, but wow, have we come a long ways in 50 years, you know.”

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