Thursday, June 23, 2022 | By Lance Tominaga
On this day 50 years ago – June 23, 1972 – President Richard M. Nixon signed the Education Amendments Act, better known as Title IX. This landmark law recognized that gender equity in education as a civil right.
The law reads: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
In 2002, Title IX was renamed to The Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act in honor of the late Hawaii Congresswoman who, with the help of Doctor Donnis Thompson, authored the legislation. Thompson would later serve as the University of Hawaii’s first women’s athletic director.
In the documentary film, Rise of the Wahine, legendary UH women’s volleyball coach Dave Shoji said of Thompson: “She wanted the best experience for her student-athletes. If that meant stepping on some toes along the way, then that’s what she did. She wanted everybody to have an opportunity to play sports.”
Although the words “sports” and “athletics” were not included in the text of Title IX, the new law unquestionably had a tremendous impact in advancing opportunities for female student-athletes in Hawaii and across the rest of the United States.
Here is a (very) subjective “Top 10” list of the greatest women athletes with Hawaii ties in the Title IX era, in alphabetical order:
JOCELYN ALO (Softball): When the Campbell H.S. alum signed with Oklahoma in November 2016, No one could have imagined that she would lead the Sooners to back-to-back Women’s College World Series championships. No one thought she’d twice be named the USA Collegiate Softball Player of the Year, either. Alo finished her NCAA career as college softball’s career leader in home runs (122).
JEANNE CHILDS (Swimming): Childs set numerous NCAA records in the breaststroke as a member of the UH swim team (1981-83). She was named an All-American in 1983 after capturing both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke events at the NCAA Championships. In 2021, Childs was recognized as one of the 100 greatest swimmers in the history of collegiate swimming.
CLARISSA CHUN (Wrestling): Chun won five junior national championships in judo before giving wrestling a try at Roosevelt H.S. She captured the state wrestling title in 1998 – the first year that girls wrestling was sanctioned by the HHSAA. Chun went on to win the a gold medal at the 2008 World Championships in Tokyo and a bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
DEITRE COLLINS (Volleyball): Arguably the greatest volleyball player in UH history, Collins led the Rainbow Wahine to back-to-back national championships (1982 and 1983). The three-time All-American was the recipient of the Broderick Cup, given to the nation’s top collegiate female athlete. Collins was also a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team.
NATASHA KAI (Soccer): As a member of the Rainbow Wahine soccer team (2002-05), the former Kahuku H.S. standout became the first player in history to win the WAC Player of the Year Award on three occasions. She was also the first to win WAC Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year in the same season. Kai was a key contributor for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team that captured gold in Beijing.
GWEN LOUD (Track & Field): The Rainbow Wahine standout became Hawaii’s first track and field All-American after capturing the 1984 NCAA Long Jump event (22 feet, five and three-quarter inches). She later qualified for the U.S. National Team and competed in a number of international meets, including the World Championships.
CARISSA MOORE (Surfing): In 2008, a 16-year-old Moore became the youngest winner of a Triple Crown of Surfing event. Since then, the Punahou product has won five World Surf League titles and, in 2021, became the first-ever gold medal winner in Olympic surfing. At age 29, she is already a member of the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.
JUDY MOSLEY-McAFEE (Basketball): Unquestionably the greatest player in Rainbow Wahine basketball history. Mosley-McAfee is the only player in program history to lead her team in points and rebounds for four seasons. She tops the school’s all-time scoring list (women and men) with 2,479 career points. She later played for the Sacramento Monarchs in the WNBA’s inaugural season.
MAUREEN O’TOOLE (Water Polo): O’Toole was an All-American swimmer at UH (1983-84), but would later enjoy even greater success in the sport of water polo (UH did not have a water polo program at the time). “Mo” was a 15-time U.S. National Championship MVP and six-time World Championship MVP. In 2000, at the age of 39, O’Toole helped the U.S. capture the silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games.
MICHELLE WIE-WEST (Golf): A golf prodigy, Wie-West qualified for a USGA amateur championship at the age of 10 – the youngest player ever to do so. The Punahou alum became the talk of the golf world and turned professional at the age of 16. Now retired from full-time competition, Wie-West won five LPGA Tour events, including the 2014 U.S. Open.
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