Because of Title IX: Patti Phillips

CEO, Women Leaders in College Sports

Finish this sentence: “Because of Title IX..."

I have been able to work in the business of sports my entire career, as a coach, color analyst, NCAA employee, and non-profit executive. I still pinch myself every day, and am so thankful for these opportunities!

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

First, I was able to pursue my passion of playing college basketball because I received a scholarship to Baker University. Being immersed in a small liberal arts college environment and playing on a team for four years in college totally shaped my life and dreams, and was the foundation for who I am today. 

When I graduated from Baker, I became a collegiate volleyball and basketball coach, because they were looking for a woman. It was both an overwhelming and amazing opportunity for a 22-year-old. Although it wasn’t a straight line, that opportunity trained me and positioned me to be here at Women Leaders in College Sports today. I would definitely not be who I am today, or where I am today, had I not had the opportunity to play sports!

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

My high school basketball coach Chris Orel really influenced my belief that I could play college basketball, and my mom and dad nurtured my love of sports and always instilled a confidence and belief in me that was the foundation for my growth. After that I was fortunate to have both men and women champion and mentor me along the way. When I left coaching, Janet Justus—who was the Director of Education Outreach at the NCAA—took a chance and hired me at the NCAA, which ultimately changed the trajectory of my career. I learned more from Janet in two years than I did from anyone else my entire life. She is one of my most impactful mentors, and is still  a friend and champion of mine!

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

I am so fortunate to be championing women every day through our work here at Women Leaders!

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

YES YOU CAN! Your potential is far greater than you could ever imagine! Grow your confidence, and surround yourself with people that push and support you, because it is easy to get comfortable, and stagnate. Dream big and go for it!

See all our #BecauseofTitleIX stories here! »
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