Because of Title IX: Liz Darger

Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator, Brigham Young University

Finish this sentence: “Because of Title IX, I …”

I grew up playing sports, I contributed to box scores instead of just reading them, and I now work with 300 of the greatest female student-athletes in the country.

How have the athletic and academic opportunities afforded to you because of Title IX impacted your life? Can you imagine your life without them?

I’ve always been tall, but haven’t always embraced it. The athletic opportunities afforded me by Title IX helped me embrace my height and see my physical stature and strength as an asset, not a liability. Those same opportunities provided me an arena to learn leadership, teamwork, and commitment in ways that were experiential and authentic.

Tell us about a woman who championed you in pursuing your goals. How did her influence inspire or affect you and your career?

Raegan Scott Pebley is the Women’s Basketball Coach at TCU. When I first met Raegan, I was finishing my undergrad at BYU and Raegan was an assistant basketball coach at Colorado State, where my sister played volleyball. Upon meeting Raegan, I told her how much I loved basketball and how cool her job seemed. She responded with encouragement to get in to coaching. I explained that I didn’t play college basketball and didn’t think I knew enough to coach. She told me she thought that was a bunch of bunk. Then, right there, Raegan called her dad, who was a local high school coach, told him he should hire me, and handed me the phone. That nudge (more of a loving shove, really), changed the trajectory of my life. It started me on a rewarding and meaningful career path in athletics. I will always be grateful to Raegan and her loving shove.

How are you continuing to champion the next generation of women and girls in sports, and raise awareness on the importance Title IX?

Growing up I remember craving mentorship. I looked up to my teachers, coaches, and church leaders, and hoped they might take an interest in me and my future. While I knew they all cared about me, I worried I would be bugging them and didn’t feel comfortable seeking their guidance and advice. Now, as I am in a position to mentor others, I strive every day to interact with student-athletes and young professionals in such a way that they will feel of my genuine interest in them and their success, and that I am never too busy for them. When I find those that have great potential, I offer myself as a mentor. I seek out opportunities to “nudge” others (and sometimes even lovingly shove); recognizing that while nudging may take five minutes, its impact can last a lifetime. My career is proof.

If you could send an empowering tweet to every woman and girl across the country, what would you send?

You are a beloved daughter of God and He has great things in store for you. Never doubt your divine origin, potential, or destiny.

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