The story of women’s athletics at Davidson begins with the 1972 formation of an intramural swim team. No large advances were made in women’s athletics until 1982, when women began to participate in Southern Conference play. However, only four sports — tennis, basketball, field hockey, and swimming — took part in conference play. The program was slowly strengthened as cross country, volleyball, track and field, soccer, and lacrosse were added to the roster of sports. The athletics program was slow to gain momentum, but that didn’t stop players from excelling.
Rebecca Stimson ’77 lettered in four sports at Davidson, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996. In recognition of this achievement, Davidson established the Rebecca E. Stimson Award, which is presented to the Davidson woman who best typifies the Davidson spirit in athletic competition and campus leadership. Since the beginning of conference play, female athletes have garnered top honors and the teams have made great strides.
The biggest honor came in 1984 when the women’s tennis team won the Division III national championship. In 1986, the basketball team won the State Division III Championship, the soccer team won Southern Conference Championships in 1993, ’94, and ’95, and the field hockey team won six consecutive Deep South Field Hockey Championships between 1991 and 1996. Today, Davidson boasts of an excellent women’s athletics program, and many foresee bright days ahead for the Wildcats.
Time Line of Notable Events
Women’s Sports begins with intramural swim team.
Trustee’s vote to include women’s sports at Davidson College Basketball and Field Hockey are first two varsity sports
First volunteer coach – Ann Holland
First “paid” coach – Susan Roberts for both Basketball and Field Hockey.
Record breaking year for Field Hockey – 14 straight wins
Emmy Knoblock is the first All American Athlete in Women’s Tennis.
Athletic Director “Kit” Morris was forced to cut women’s basketball from varsity athletics at Davidson.
Women’s Basketball team won State Division III championship
Women’s Tennis won Division III National Championship.
Rebecca Hawkins hired as Volleyball coach.
Missy Willis ’90 – first woman athlete to gain All Southern Conference – Cross Country.
Women’s Tennis team wins conference
Field Hockey won six consecutive Deep South Field Hockey Championships.
Women’s Basketball was reinstated with Coach John Filar.
Emily Knobloch ’82 inducted into Hall of Fame.
Women’s Soccer team won Southern Conference in 1993-94, 1996.
Rebecca Stimson ’77 inducted into Hall of Fame
Sarah Womack Parham ’80 inducted into Hall of Fame and is the only player to have her jersey retired.
Carolyn Kirsch became the first female basketball player from Davidson College to be selected for the first team All-Conference.
Carolyn Kirsch also earned the title of Southern Conference Player of the Year Award.
Jennifer Blizzard Halliday was named head coach for Field Hockey.
Women’s basketball ended the season with an 18-9 record the best in the school history
School record of 18 wins;
School record of 13 conference wins;
10-1 home record;
2nd in the Southern Conference regular season;
17th in the nation in field goal percentage;
1st time for three consecutive winning seasons.
Mary Kirk Cameron Ayars ’79 became a pioneer in women’s athletcs at Davidson College. She suggested to college administrators that a field hockey program be formed and was named to the All-Deep South first team. She also played singles on the women’s tennis team with a 6-2 record. She was nationally ranked in a sport in which Davidson has never had a team – Squash.
Ginny Dye was named to the GE Academic All District Fall/Winter at-large first team. She was one of nine females voted to the District III first team, made up of memebers from all fall and winter sports. She was the only Southern Conference athlete on the first team.
Tami Darwin is hired as the Head Coach of the 2000 Women’s Volleyball team.
Annette Watts is hired as Head Coach of the Women’s Basketball team.
Christy Morgan is the new Head Coach of the Women’s Field Hockey team.
Allison Matlack and Lauren Williams earned positions on the 2003 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Association Division I Academic Honor Roll.
Women break school 1600mm Relay record at SoCon Indoor Championship
Davidson College has joined with 11 colleges from four NCAA conferences across the region as a charter member of the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA), a new active Division I men’s and women’s swimming and diving conference.
Beaty, Mary. History of Davidson College. Davidson, NC: Briarpatch Press, 1988.
Cavanaugh, Christine B. “A Davidson Woman Needs No Introduction” Davidson Journal, Fall 1993.
Lloyd-Steel, Robert. “Celebrating Women’s Sports. Davidsonian. 1 March 1993.
Quips and Cranks, 1909
Author: Jason Hamrick and Sarah Enders
Date: October 1998 and March 2008
Cite as: Hamrick, Jason and Sarah Enders. “Women’s Athletics” Davidson Encyclopedia October 1998, March 2008 <https://digitalprojects.davidson.edu/omeka/s/college-archives-davidson-encyclopedia/page/women-s-athletics>