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Charlotte’s Judy Rose on the 45th Anniversary of Title IX


From selling donuts to afford traveling to away games as a college basketball student-athlete to starting a Division I football program as Director of Athletics at Charlotte, Judy Rose discusses her journey in a society enhanced by the 1972 Title IX legislation.


1.  You graduated from Winthrop University in 1974, just 2 years after Title IX became the law of the land. Where did you see your career path taking you at that time?


I was a Physical Education major and all I wanted to do was coach basketball and teach.  But my student teaching experience was more about discipline than it was about teaching.  So I went into coaching.


2. As a coach, you had the good fortunate of working under the legendary U of Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt.  What did you learn from her that applies to your present position as athletic director at Charlotte?


Pat was unbelievable.


I am a very competitive person, but she took it to a whole new level. Both of us were good Southern cooks.  But Pat could get the most out of a player as she had the philosophy that if you do not expect it, you will not get it.  I remember vividly in 1996 when we hosted the women’s Final Four that Tennessee was losing to Virginia at halftime.  My husband commented to me that Pat might not make it to the Final Four.  I told him to just wait.  We were interviewing for a new basketball coach at Charlotte, so I missed part of the game.  But Tennessee came back to win as no one could motivate like Pat Summitt.  She did not curse, rather it was the look she gave you!  She would be on your case demanding the best from you, as all great leaders do!


3.  Patton called it the defining moment; Churchill termed it the sharp agate point upon which the preponderance of life’s fate turns; Eminem raps that “you own it you better never let it go”: When was that critical juncture when you decided that sports administration would be your career, that you would “…own it…never let it go”?


My first job for the Charlotte 49ers was to coach basketball, coach tennis, teach a class, and supervise the lifeguards.  The school was growing so fast it became a choice of coach basketball or work in sports administration full-time.  For me, sports administration just clicked.  It was the toughest professional decision I ever made to give up coaching basketball. But sports administration allowed me to have a family and not have to live, eat, and breathe basketball 24-7, worrying about an 18-year old making that crucial free throw!


4.  When you first started out in sports administration as the Coordinator of Women’s Athletics for the Charlotte 49ers in 1976, did any females in school ask you about pursuing a career in sports administration?  How about now, 45 years to the day that Title IX was enacted into Federal law and nearly 3 decades after you became AD for the Charlotte?


Very few asked me in the beginning.


I do remember one cheerleader in particular telling me she wanted my job when she graduated.  Not well into the future at another school, by my job at Charlotte when she graduated!


Since then, I have had the pleasure of mentoring many fine young women.


5.  There is no doubt that college athletes are treated the best in history at LEAD1 Association member universities.  You played college ball in pre-Title IX days. How are today’s players treated better than you were before Title IX was enacted?


When I played basketball at Winthrop University in the early 70s, we would ride to away games in a school bus painted maroon, our school’s color.  We would carry flashlights so that we could study on the bus.  For dinner, we were given a $1 to eat at Hardees.  We had to sell donuts and lapel pins to be able to afford to travel.


Basically, we had to pay to play.


Now, I am proud of how well Charlotte treats all of its athletes.  There is a training table.  They get cost of attendance.  Travel is by plane, when necessary.  The accommodations are so nice that my former players tell me their jaws drop when they see how nice the lockers are for all of the athletes here at Charlotte.


6.  LEAD1 tweeted out a great picture of University of Maryland AD Kevin Anderson hugging his lacrosse players after they won the championship this year.


What have been the moments when you wanted to or did hug your Charlotte 49er athletes?


I am a hugger, to begin with.


I hug to celebrate when things go well.  I hug to show support when things are not going well.  One time after a big game, I hugged our soccer coach cause I knew they would be leaving for a bigger school due to the success of the team.  After a women tennis coach passed away tragically from lung cancer, we all hugged.  


There have been other deaths where hugs were what was needed to best express my love and support.


7.  What is your greatest accomplishment?  Do you think it would have been possible without Title IX?


There are two.


My greatest as an athletic director was in bringing football to Charlotte five years ago.  Great strides have been made by the program, such as having a player drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns this year. Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was taken with the 65th pick in the NFL draft.


I was also the first female administrator on the NCAA men’s basketball committee in 1999.  I have always been an achiever but this brought a new responsibility as I was representing all women.  I could not fail.  It was a wonderful experience and they have since increased the number of women on the selection committee.


8.  That was a short question: now for the long one with 3 parts.


Many believe that Title IX applies only to sports, but there were 10 key areas overall, including career education, learning environment, and math and sciences, among others.  In the 2016 Center for World University Rankings, the top three were American, as were 7 of the top 10, with 2 of the top 7 being LEAD1 members: Stanford & Cal-Berkeley.


Do you think these high rankings would have been possible without Title IX improving US schools in those 10 academic and athletic areas?  In that regard, how does athletics contribute to the overall vitality of a school?


About this, Dr. James P. Clements, President of Clemson University, stated “People are happier. People feel good. That allows me to recruit more students, raise more money and spread the message of the good news of the rest of the institution: academics and research, facilities. It goes a long way. And also the fact we do it the right way. Our student-athletes graduate and I would argue we have the best coach in the country because he teaches them so much about life. It’s a winning formula.”


Do you agree with Dr Clements about this “winning formula” that Title IX has helped create at American universities?


Yes, and it would not be possible without Title IX.  I truly know that Title IX has worked in improving American universities and the economy.  Before Title IX, I knew many who were rejected from graduate schools because they were female.


9.  Time for another short one.  There is a great deal of concern that if college athletes are to be paid it will destroy the gains from Title IX.   Can the good that Title IX, indeed college sports overall, has achieved be able to survive the costs of having to pay athletes?


How are you gonna pay the guys without paying the gals?  


Having to pay athletes will result in programs and player scholarships being reduced for both men and women.


*Now for the bonus round!


Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, said in a recent interview that his secret pride was working a lacrosse stock so well no one could tell if he was a natural righty or lefty.  Just as Picasso said that every portrait is a self-portrait, what is that secret ability or unknown trait that reveals the most about you, your talents caches, if  you will?


That I treat everyone the same!  


I treat those who clean the athletic facilities for the Charlotte 49ers the same way as a I treat the coaches.  It is as basic and as simple as The Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.  I am as tough as nails when I need to be, but it is the care and concern you show for others that is the most important.


I lead with my heart and my head.