JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (November 9, 2016) – Former ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Janice Shelton and former University of Tennessee Women’s Athletic Director Joan Cronan met with ETSU women’s basketball head coach Brittney Ezell and her team Wednesday in preparation for the the Buccaneers Nov. 15 matchup with the Lady Vols inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center presented by Eastman.
“We truly believe that this game will serve both functions as we honor a legend like Pat Summitt and continue to promote women’s basketball in the great state of Tennessee,” Ezell said. “We have no doubt that the East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina regions will share in our excitement for this monumental moment in ETSU women’s basketball history and will join us in the Dome on November 15th.”
The 30-year long wait for the Lady Vols to return to Johnson City is almost here as ETSU and UT square off in a special non-conference matchup sponsored by Eastman. While it has been some time since the two programs met at ETSU, the relationship between the two former athletic directors goes even farther back.
For Shelton and Cronan, the game inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center will carry a special significance considering that each were pioneers in the world of women’s basketball when monumental laws like Title IX were first initiated to bring more equality to women’s athletic opportunity. The site of the game will also be a vast improvement compared to the venue in which the two teams met back in the late 1960s. At that time, the ETSU women hosted the “Volettes” – Tennessee’s name for its women program at the time – and played in the basement practice gym located under the main floor at historic Brooks Gym. Shelton and Cronan coached against each other before coming AD’s of their respective schools.
“That gym was so small you had to put your foot against the wall to inbound the ball,” Shelton recalled. “The only people there were on a walkway with rails that looked over into the gym. Here Joan and I were with both teams right up against the wall.”
For more on Shelton and Cronan’s impact on Title IX, the game of women’s basketball, and their longtime relationship CLICK HERE.
This historic game is being sponsored by Eastman, a company with a long history of supporting women in sports. The company has been involved with the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame for 20 years and played a major role in the creation of the life-sized sculpture that greets visitors as they walk in the door of the Hall of Fame in Knoxville. Annually, a smaller version of the sculpture is presented to each of the Hall of Fame inductees. Additionally, Eastman is involved with the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators and is committed to advancing education and empowerment of women.