Sports Commentary 4/10/12
Today, it’s all about University of Hartford AD Pat Meiser ..
University of Hartford athletic director Pat Meiser has been part of my life for the better part of three decades...I phrase it that way because it’s a relationship I have come to cherish. Her impact on Connecticut sports has been indelible, starting at the University of Connecticut, where she was named Associate Athletic Director for Women’s Sports after a distinquished career as a tenured faculty member and head women’s basketball coach at Penn State. While at UConn Pat was responsible for one of the most important hirings in state sports history, bringing in a young assistant coach from Virginia to take over the women’s basketball program in Storrs. He’s still there, with a small measure of success on his resume. Always a pioneer of women’s sports, Pat assumed her current post at the University of Hartford twenty years ago, when female athletic directors were as rare as World Series at Wrigley Field. Today she is one of just thirty Division I female athletic directors. Pat’s arrival at Penn State coincided closely with the most significant moment in the history of women’s sports, the inception of Title IX, which would start women’s collegiate sports on the road to equal footing with men’s sports. From the beginning Pat has been in a postion to greatly impact the development of Title IX and women’s collegiate sports and her achievements along those lines position her among the giants of the movement. It was Pat Meiser who gave out the first women’s basketball scholarship at Penn State while moving the program toward national prominence. Her hiring of Geno Auriemma at UConn stands as one of the greatest milestones in women’s basketball, which now enjoys a national stage once thought impossible. Her accomplishments at Hartford stretch beyond the development of one of the most respected women’s basketball programs in the northeast and hiring coaches who have immediate impact, from soccer to baseball to basketball. She’s been responsible for the development of an open lot on the Hartford-Bloomfield line into an athletic facility that is the envy of America East. The America East has recognized Pat Meiser as a “Title IX Trailblazer” and released a video celebrating her committment to her athletics department and community, the league and the mission to create equal opportunities for women in sports. Pat is one of twenty five trailblazers so honored in video form as part of an NACWAA video contest celebrating major contributors to the move for gender equality. For twenty years there has not been one moment of her life when Pat hasn’t been representing the University of Hartford. I cherish my relationship with Pat for the honest and forthright manner with which she discusses important issues, her availability to help me formulate informed opinions, her willingness to get on the phone and tell me when I’m wrong. Sometimes we just agree to disagree. On this she will disagree with me only at her own risk. That Pat Meiser is being recognized for years of service to all of college sports, most particularly women’s sports, is long overdue. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.