You Must Play to Win! A Coach's Journey from the Pit to the Pinnacle

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9781935778158: You Must Play to Win! A Coach's Journey from the Pit to the Pinnacle

Sport is one of the great institutions of civilization, and the rise of women s sport during the past half century has been one of the most dramatic and visible recent a personal reflection on the coaching career of Donna J. Newberry, coach, teacher, and administrator in the Athletics Department of Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio, whose passionate commitment to both excellence and gender equality in sport helped to make possible and epitomizes the significant expansion of women s collegiate athletics in the United States since the 1970s.

Fresh out of graduate school, twenty-two-year-old Donna Newberry accepted a teaching and coaching position at Muskingum in 1974. Once on board, her eyes opened quickly to the limitations she faced inadequate institutional funding, overwhelming teaching and coaching responsibilities, poor facilities for women s athletics, and a legendary men s sports program that controlled the entire athletics budget.

From the outset, Newberry set about to create an equitable environment within which to develop a quality women s athletics program. In 1978, she took the lead responsibility at her institution to effect the full implementation of Title IX provisions that guaranteed equal opportunity, in sport and elsewhere, for both men and women. Following a tragic traffic accident in 1989 that claimed the lives and ended the careers of several of her athletes, she led efforts to assure the safer transportation of teams attending off-campus matches. Throughout, she insisted that her athletes were, first and foremost, also students and that they were attending college to receive an education, to nurture their social and spiritual lives, and to prepare themselves for a lifetime of personal responsibility and citizenship. Applying her coaching and teaching responsibilities to herself, Newberry spent her summers in pursuit of what she termed experiential learning inserting herself into unfamiliar physical, cultural, or social environments, often pushing herself to the edge, as she explored new ways of learning about and understanding the world as well as to remind herself of the commitment and sacrifices she was expecting from her athletes.

As the years passed, the long-term consequences of Newberry s passion, commitment, perseverance, and high standards unfolded. She remained at Muskingum, the women s athletics program and facilities expanded dramatically, women s teams were admitted to the Ohio Athletic Conference and the NCAA, and the sports programs at Muskingum which Donna coached for decades women s basketball and softball assumed legendary stature of state, regional, and national significance. Newberry s teams made numerous post-season appearances in NCAA tournaments, including eleven at national Division III collegiate finals, and won the National Championship in softball in 2001. She was named the WNBC/Converse Coach of the Year in women s basketball in 1991 and the Muskingum softball coaching staff was named the NFCA Coaching Staff of the Year in 2001. Nineteen of Newberry s players were named All-Americans, and in 2008, Newberry was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Another facet of Newberry s life is that, by early in 2009, she was a two-time survivor of breast cancer, but a recurrence of the disease later that year led to her death in November, 2010. She dedicated the last few months of her life to writing this book in the hopes that her own perspectives on coaching might be made available, and be of value, to younger coaches, to those who might want to go into coaching, and to those interested in the transformation of women s athletics since the early 1970s. Those perspectives are presented here, in her own words, the way she wanted them to be passed on.

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From the Inside Flap:

Sport is one of the great institutions of civilization, and the rapid expansion of women’s sport during the past half century has been one of the most dramatic and visible recent developments within that institution. You Must Play to Win! is a personal reflection on the hugely successful coaching career of Donna J. Newberry — longtime coach, teacher, and administrator in the Athletics Department of Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio — whose passionate commitment to both excellence and gender equality in sport helped to make possible, and epitomizes, the significant expansion of women’s collegiate athletics in the United States since the early 1970s.In the Fall of 1974, twenty-three-year-old Donna Newberry, fresh out of graduate school with a Master’s Degree in Physical Education, began her career at Muskingum. At the outset, she faced inadequate institutional funding, overwhelming teaching and coaching responsibilities, poor facilities within a weakly developed women’s athletic program, and an athletics budget that was controlled by the men’s sports program. Thirty-six years later, the women’s athletics program at Muskingum had changed dramatically, due in great part to Newberry’s perseverance and standards — and her coaching accomplishments and advocacy of women’s sport had assumed legendary status of state, regional, and national significance.Donna Newberry passed away on November 10, 2010, a victim of breast cancer. In the Spring of 2010, knowing that she had but a short time to live, she committed her remaining days to writing this book, hoping and believing that her coaching philosophy and record of defining facets of her career might be of value — especially to young coaches and those aspiring to become coaches. Beyond coaches, however, Newberry’s perspectives on coaching and record of advocacy and accomplishment will also be of value to young athletes in general and to readers interested in the rapid development of women’s collegiate athletics since the early 1970s.

About the Author:

Donna J. Newberry was born on November 14, 1951, in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She graduated from South Parkersburg High School in 1969, then attended Glendale State College (Bachelors in Education, 1973) in West Virginia and Ohio University (Masters in Education, 1974) in Athens, Ohio. In 1974, she joined the faculty of Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, and remained at that institution (now Muskingum University) until her death from breast cancer on November10, 2010.

Donna had many teaching, coaching, and administrative responsibilities at Muskingum, but she is best known for building quality programs in women s basketball and softball which produced numerous conference and regional championships, appearances at several national finals tournaments in both sports, and one National Championship in softball (2001). Nineteen of her players were named to All-American teams. She was recognized as the WNBC/Converse (basketball) Coach of the Year in 1991 and head coach of the NFCA (softball) Coaching Staff of the Year in 2001. In 2008, she was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Jane Varley was born in 1965 in Dubuque, Iowa. She has studied English at the University of Idaho (Bachelors in 1986, Masters in 1990) and the University of North Dakota (Ph.D. in 1998), and is now an associate professor in the English Department at Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio, where she teaches creative writing and literature.

Jane has published a number of poems, essays, and reviews in literary journals, and is the author of Flood Stage and Rising, a book published by the University of Nebraska Press (2005) describing the catastrophic flooding of Grand Forks, North Dakota, in the spring of 1997 by the Red River and more.

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