The Texas Southern University Department of Athletics recently celebrated the 35th Annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) with a special ceremony honoring its female athletes, trainers and staff members.
Established in 1987, the NGWSD originated in Washington, D.C. as a way to recognize women’s sports nationally across all levels of competition. Now in its 35th year, the initiative has evolved as an annual movement to honor the achievements of female athletes, coaches and leaders.
Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Kevin Granger opened the event with a welcome which was followed by an inspirational video featuring the female head coaches, administrators and staff talking about their various experiences as student-athletes and professionals in addition to encouraging words of inspiration.
“It’s an honor to celebrate the achievements of our female student-athletes, administrators and staff,” said Granger. “Our female staff members work tirelessly behind the scenes to elevate TSU Athletics and they show up daily with a smile on their face and are genuine.
“I can’t say enough about our female student-athletes and the effort they’re putting forth representing TSU athletics and the university in general during this pandemic,” added Granger. Some of our proudest moments athletically at TSU over the past few years can directly be attributed to our female sports teams.”
Spearheaded locally at TSU by Assistant AD/Academic Enhancement Kimberly Evans and her academic staff consisting of Tristan Badenhorst, Camille Mills, Kirsten Pitts and Arneecia Romeo, this wasn’t the first time NGWSD has been celebrated at TSU but the event marked the first time the department honored the female student-athletes in addition to acknowledging the diversity of the women who are involved in sports at TSU. Despite COVID-19 casting a cloud over the NCAA landscape the past year, nothing was going to stop Evans from achieving her goal of celebrating NGWSD in 2021.
“COVID-19 has dampened so much over the last few months and we wanted to find a safe way to celebrate our female student-athletes and trainers,” she said. “So we created a video celebratory presentation to honor them both in-person socially distanced and virtually through our social media platforms.”
On a personal note, the NGWSD holds a special place in Evans’ heart due to the experiences she has endured from high school to where she is now.
“As a high school student-athlete, I had all male head coaches,” she said. “In college, the coaching staff was more diverse but as I started my career in sports after college I was the first women’s head coach and first women’s athletic administrator at two local high schools and the first female head coach of a male sport at one of the same schools. Today, I am a Woman Administrator in a male-dominated industry. It is important to show our women student-athletes that women are making advancements in sports and that they are playing a part in history.”
After a successful 2021 event, Evans is already hard at work preparing for 2022 and beyond as her long-term goal is to have a one-day women’s empowerment workshop event on NGWSD.