Tag Archives: Ann Meyers Drysdale

Phoenix Mercury honor 40th anniversary of Title IX

When Title IX was signed into law on on June 23, 1972, equality for women was ensured across all educational programs, including athletics.

In celebration of the law’s 40th anniversary, the Phoenix Mercury will honor and celebrate all women who were impacted by the legislation. The season-long initiative will recognize the effect it has had on women in the sports and business world.

Ann Meyers Drysdale. Photo by Rob Turchick.

Ann Meyers Drysdale, Phoenix Suns and Mercury vice president, felt the impact of the law passing first-hand when she was the first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship for basketball at the University of California Los Angeles in 1975.

“Playing collegiate sports anywhere other than a local college, let alone receiving a free education for it, wasn’t even in the realm of possibilities for me,” said Meyers Drysdale in a press release. “Celebrating how far we’ve come in 40 years is a great accomplishment. Whether women played sports in college or were finally allowed to participate in the sport of their choice on the high school level, it’s worthy of recognition.”

Anyone with a story of how Title IX benefitted them, a friend or family member is invited to submit it online at phoenixmercury.com and join in the celebration at the Mercury’s June 23 game. All who submit an entry will receive a free ticket to the game and take part in an on-court recognition at halftime.

“Title IX made sports a viable option for women and girls. Growing up playing sports, my role model was Larry Bird. Now my nieces can grow up idolizing Diana Taurasi and DeWanna Bonner. Being a pro basketball player is a real option for them,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Amber Cox in a press release.

The 2012 season tips off May 20 on the road against the defending WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx. The club’s home opener is Saturday, May 26 at 7 p.m. vs. conference rival Los Angeles Sparks.

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Ann Meyers Drysdale to receive YWCA honor

Phoenix Mercury President and General Manager Ann Meyers Drysdale has been named the YWCA’s Sports Leader of the Year. The honor will be presented at the 18th Annual Tribute to Women luncheon tomorrow at the Arizona Biltmore.

Meyers Drysdale and two of her three children, DJ and Drew, appeared in a July 2009 cover story by multimedia journalist Vicki Louk Balint, who also recorded a podcast from her interview. Publisher & Editor Karen Barr wrote about the cover shoot, which took place in the Mercury locker room, in her blog, Behind the ‘Zine.

And thanks to help from audio/video production colleague Rob Turchick of yipDog Studios, we also posted a video featuring part of the interview.

Meyers Drysdale is entering her fifth season with the two-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury (2009, 2007). Enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. as a player in 1993, Meyers Drysdale’s basketball resume spans over four decades beginning with becoming the first high school player ever to make a United States National Team in 1974.

As an amateur, Meyers Drysdale was the first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship from UCLA. The Bruins basketball legend was a four-time Kodak All-American, the first male or female to achieve that honor, and was the first female to be named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

In 1976, she represented the United States in the Olympics, where she earned a silver medal as part of the first women’s US Olympic Basketball team.

Meyers Drysdale remains the only female ever to sign a free-agent contract with an NBA team when she signed with the Indiana Pacers in 1979. After being released by the Pacers, she provided color commentary for Pacers broadcasts and was the first woman to broadcast an NBA game.

In addition to her career on the court, Meyers Drysdale has established herself as an expert analyst on ESPN, NBC, ABC, FOX Sports and CBS and has done commentary for men’s and women’s basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball and baseball since 1979.

Meyers Drysdale, along with 10 other honorees, will be recognized at the event for accomplishments in their respective careers. For a full list of the honorees, visit ywcaaz.org.