A Bad-A** Introduction - Women in Sports

October 20, 2013

In preparation for our “Bad-A** Women in Sports” Panel coming up on October 28th, I met with our three speakers, all current UVA coaches, to try and tease out which “Bad-A**” female athletes they may talk about. However, I soon discovered that all three coaches were so Bad-A** themselves that they deserved to have Iris readers learn about their personal accomplishments first.

julie-myers-uva

Julie Myers, Joanne Boyle, and Kevin Sauer have all had amazing success coaching women here at UVA. Julie Myers and Kevin Sauer both bring years of experience to the table, having been head coaches here for almost 20 years. Joanne Boyle, on the other hand, brings new and different ideas to UVA Athletics, coming from coaching at Richmond and California. All three followed very different athletic paths and career trajectories in order to get to where they are today, but they have one thing in common: they are passionate about female athletes.

Joanne Boyle

Julie Myers and Joanne Boyle, who both grew up playing sports with the boys, have always known that girls are capable of unlimited athletic success. Both women were multi-talented athletes from a young age. Myers had to choose between swimming or playing field hockey and lacrosse in college, and chose the option that included the opportunity to play two sports at the University of Virginia. In the same mold, Boyle believes it was her athleticism rather than her basketball skill that got her recruited to Duke University in 1981. It is this inner passion and pure desire for sport that both women bring to the table everyday as coaches.

Kevin Sauer

Kevin Sauer, however, had a very different history involving female athletics. When four girls at Perdue first approached him about joining the club crew team he coached, Sauer admittedly didn’t even expect them to show up to practice at 5:30 the next morning. But they did, and in doing so, they showed this national-caliber athlete and coach that women had something to prove in athletics, too.  Once Sauer realized that these women had the same internal drive that led him to national-team level success as an athlete, he started to appreciate the opportunity they had to achieve just as much, if not more. Once Mia Hamm and the National Women’s Soccer Team started a resurgence of Title IX in the 1990’s, Sauer became fully supportive of making the switch from a club team to a Varsity Women’s Rowing program at the University of Virginia and has stayed there ever since.

Clearly, passionate female athletes like Julie Myers and Joanne Boyle have always been confident in each other and in the inevitable rise in women’s athletic pursuits. The fact that men such as Kevin Sauer have also taken on this role as leaders in female athletics shows a lot about how much our athletic vision has grown. As Myers often tells her players, “There’s always more inside of you than you think.” It is this passion and belief that allows female athletes to excel. Each coach, athlete, and leader has role models, such as these three outstanding figures, pushing them to achieve. Come to Iris Magazine’s “Bad-A** Women in Sports” Panel on October 28th and discover who these three ambassadors of women’s sports used as their role models on their way to success!

By Emily Lloyd.

Image Credit: University of Virginia Athletics.

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