Last time we asked a couple of questions about the history of the Lady Tigers basketball team.
Q: When did the Lady Tigers basketball team begin intercollegiate play?
A: 1973 and had a 3-8 season.
Q: Who was their first coach?
A: Jinks Coleman.
Barry Cowan of University Archives writes
Intercollegiate play for the Lady Tigers, also known at the time as the Ben-Gals, began in 1973 as a club sport, but women played intramural basketball as early as 1908.
Jinks Coleman, head coach from 1973-1979, taught kinesiology classes and was also volleyball coach until 1977. Coleman was the first coach in Louisiana to offer athletic scholarships to women athletes.
In their first seasons, the Lady Tigers had to drive their own cars to away games, stay in dormitories, and had no medical help for minor injuries. Coleman said “well, you just had to live through the blisters.”
The Lady Tigers and other women’s teams played under the auspices the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) until the early 1980s when the NCAA began sanctioning women’s athletics. Although the Southeastern Conference started holding postseason women’s basketball tournaments after the end of the 1979-80 season, the SEC finally recognized women’s basketball at the beginning of the 1982-83 season.
The 1908 Intramural Varsity team was made up of Annie Boyd, Louise Thonssen, Ena Paulsen (Capt.), Elizabeth Bott, Allie Spyker, Gladys Doherty, Jesse Turnage and Essie Guithreaux.
The 1908 Intramural “Scrubs” were Thera Nicholson (Capt.), Lida Coleman, Lulie Norwood, Lucille Scott, Ida Howell, Margeret Schoenbrodt and Mary Clarke.
Unfortunately we have no roster for the 1975 team.
Sources: Lady Tiger Basketball 1978-79 and 1982-83 GV 885.43 L68 L19
Gumbo 1908 and 1975 LD 3113 .G8