Women’s Sports Virtual Panel Discussion to Reflect on 50th Anniversary of Title IX
Event Underwritten by PNC Bank, Free to General Public, 11 a.m.-noon EDT June 23
Louisville, Ky. – June 14, 2022 – On June 23, the 50th anniversary of the day when President Richard Nixon signed Title IX legislation into law, the Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) will host “Breaking Through: 50 Years of Title IX,” a virtual panel discussion with nationally renowned speakers reflecting on the historic legislation’s impact on girls’ and women’s sports in the U.S.
The Zoom Webinar panel is scheduled for 11 a.m. – noon EDT, June 23, and is free to the public. Attendees can register HERE.
Olympic gold medalist and TV commentator, reporter and host Summer Sanders will moderate the one-hour session with panelists Christine Brennan, USA Today award-winning columnist, author and TV commentator; Sue Feamster, trailblazer for opportunities for girls and women in sports in Kentucky and nationally prior to and following Title IX; Maya McClendon, highly decorated NCAA Division I volleyball player and founder of Timeout, a digital health and wellness platform for athletes and sports organizations (thetimeoutapp.com); and Jeff Walz, current head coach and architect of the powerhouse University of Louisville women’s basketball program.
PNC Bank is underwriting the program, which will delve into the history of sports for females prior to the passage of Title IX, the progress made to-date and challenges still facing today’s female athletes. Kristen Byrd, PNC regional president for Louisville, who played NCAA Division III soccer at Transylvania University, will provide opening remarks.
“The genesis of hosting this event came from the announcement that Kentucky native Sue Feamster will be inducted into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022,” said LSC President & CEO Karl Schmitt Jr. “We wanted to honor Sue’s legacy, acknowledge the hard work of so many individuals who are champions for female athletes, and help educate people about the history of the federal legislation and the current status of initiatives in this area that have made our country a better place.”
LSC is using the Zoom Webinar platform so people across the country can listen and watch from their workplace or home to commemorate this significant milestone.
“When we think about how Title IX has empowered women, its impact extends far beyond the scope of sports,” said Kristen Byrd, PNC regional president for Louisville. “Sports help cultivate discipline, work ethic and a hunger for competition, so it should come as no surprise that female athletes go on to become dynamic leaders in business and their communities. As both a corporate executive and former college athlete, I am proud PNC Bank is helping make this important conversation possible.”
Summer Sanders was born and raised in northern California, joined a swim team at age four and never looked back. She earned a scholarship to Stanford University and won back-to-back NCAA Swimmer-of-the-Year awards in only two years as a collegiate swimmer. At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Sanders was the most-decorated U.S. swimmer, winning four medals – two gold, a silver and a bronze. Soon after, she shifted her passion to a television career that now spans 25 years. Sanders started with CBS Sports and MTV, hosting a show called Sandblast. She has worked numerous network and news programs, including the Today Show; Good Morning America; Rachael Ray, where she was a special correspondent; NBC as the co-host of NBA’s Inside Stuff; and Nickelodeon as the host of the cult favorite ‘90’s game show Figure It Out. She has worked nine Olympic Games as a commentator, reporter and host. She hosted Fox’s reality show Skating with Celebrities and The Sports List and was a part of Lifetime’s groundbreaking WNBA crew including Michelle Tafoya, Reggie Miller and Meghan Pattyson. Sanders had the guts to enter the world of reality television as a contestant for her charity, Right To Play, on Celebrity Apprentice and Guy vs. Rachael Celebrity Cook-Off. She currently co-hosts CBS Sports Network’s award-winning We Need To Talk. She is also the author of “Champions Are Raised, Not Born: How My Parents Made Me a Success.” Personally, her proudest titles are that of mom and wife. Sanders is married to fellow Olympian, Erik Schlopy, who competed in three Olympic Games in alpine skiing. They have two children: daughter Skye and son Spider. Summer is incredibly passionate about giving back and has been a part of her humanitarian love, Right To Play, as a U.S. board member for more than 20 years. She is also a strong supporter of the USA Swimming Foundation’s mission of teaching every kid in the USA to swim.
Christine Brennan is an award-winning national sports columnist for USA Today, a commentator for CNN, ABC News, PBS NewsHour and National Public Radio, a best-selling author and a nationally known speaker. Named one of the country’s top 10 sports columnists by the Associated Press Sports Editors multiple times, she has covered the last 20 Olympic Games, summer and winter. In March 2020, Brennan was named the winner of the prestigious Red Smith Award, presented annually to a person who has made “major contributions to sports journalism.” Brennan was the first woman sports writer at The Miami Herald in 1981 and the first woman to cover the Washington Football Team as a staff writer at The Washington Post in 1985. She was the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) and started an internship-scholarship program that has supported 200 female students during the past three decades. Brennan is the author of seven books. Her 2006 sports memoir, “Best Seat in the House,” is the only father-daughter memoir written by a sports journalist. Her 1996 national best-seller, “Inside Edge,” was named one of the top 100 sports books of all-time by Sports Illustrated. Brennan earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. She is a member of the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement, Northwestern’s Athletic Hall of Fame and the Washington, D.C., Sports Hall of Fame. She is a member of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees.
Sue Feamster – Starting in the late 1960s, Frankfort native Sue Feamster was a trailblazer in the advocacy for women’s participation in college athletics nationally, played a vital role in helping the University of Kentucky (UK) become a national leader in this area and was a champion for high school and college sports for girls and women in Kentucky. She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at UK where she worked with club and intramural sports for women. While still a graduate assistant at UK, Feamster was the mastermind behind a high school invitational tournament to determine a girls’ basketball state champion before the Kentucky High School Athletic Association implemented the Girls’ Sweet Sixteen. Feamster joined the UK faculty where she served on the Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (CIAW), founded in 1969 to govern women’s sports and sponsor national championships. When the CIAW transitioned into the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), UK became a founding member. Feamster was one of the founding members of the Kentucky Women’s Intercollegiate Conference (KWIC) that provided college sports teams in Kentucky opportunities to compete in postseason tournaments starting in 1971 and served as the organization’s president 1975-77. After the passing of Title IX, Feamster developed a strategic plan for UK women’s athletics, then oversaw the administration of UK women’s athletic teams for several years; was head women’s basketball coach in the mid-70s; was assistant athletic director (1978-86); and developed programs and hired coaches for swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, golf and gymnastics. On the national level, Feamster served on three powerful committees at the NCAA: the Special Legislative Committee, the Division I Steering Committee and the Television Committee,
Maya McClendon is a mental health and sustainability advocate based in Louisville, Ky. A Louisville native, Maya was a highly decorated volleyball player at Manual High School, the University of Louisville and Arizona State University. As a prep player, she was all-state and academic all-state at Manual High School and six-time AAU All-American. Among her collegiate accolades were AAC Freshman of the Year, ACC All-American, AAC Conference Champion and ACC Conference Champion. She was also nominated as 2013 Under Armour All-American and was chosen to represent the USA Junior National team in the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation Tournament in Nicaragua. In college, she studied pre-medicine psychology and graduated in 2017. After graduation, Maya worked at the University of Louisville Hospital, shadowing various specialties within the medical field. In January 2019, Maya founded the Sports Metaphor, LCC and participated in speaking engagements about holistic health and wellness related to sports for the PAC 12, the Green Sports Alliance and various youth programs. In 2021, she founded Timeout, a digital health and wellness platform for athletes and sports organizations. (thetimeoutapp.com)
Jeff Walz – Lightning speed. That’s the only rate at which Walz operates. It’s also the pace at which University of Louisville women’s basketball burst into the national spotlight under his tutelage as one of the most competitive and successful programs. Since he took over the program in 2007, Walz and the Cardinals boast an astounding resumé that includes 11 trips to the NCAA Sweet 16, seven trips to the Elite Eight, four trips to the final four and two trips to the national title game. Overall, he has compiled a 37-13 record in NCAA Tournament games and ranks eighth all-time and fifth among active coaches with a 74.0 NCAA Tournament winning percentage. Walz is the all-time winningest coach in program history with a record of 414-113 and averages 27.6 victories per season. From 2016-2021, he coached the ACC Player of the Year in five of six seasons as Myisha Hines-Allen won the award in 2016, Asia Durr in 2018 and 2019, and Dana Evans in 2020 and 2021. He also coached Angel McCoughtry to Big East Player of the Year honors in 2007. Prior to taking the reins at Louisville, Walz spent five seasons at Maryland, including his final season as the associate head coach in 2006-07. The season prior, he helped lead the Terrapins to a school-record 34 wins and the program’s first national title. His tenure in the collegiate ranks consists of stops at Minnesota, Nebraska, and Western Kentucky. Walz received a basketball scholarship to Northern Kentucky, where he graduated from with a bachelor of science in secondary education in May of 1995. He earned his master’s degree in education in August 1997 from Western Kentucky. Walz and his wife, Lauren, have four children: daughter Kaeley, son Jacob, and daughters Lola and Lucy.
Kristen Byrd is regional president for PNC Bank in Louisville. She is responsible for the greater Louisville, western Kentucky and southern Indiana markets. Prior to being named to her current role in March 2021, Byrd served as senior vice president and regional banking director of PNC Private Bank. Since joining the bank in 2002, Byrd has held a variety of roles in retail, business banking and private banking. A PNC-Certified women’s business advocate, she was integral to establishing the Louisville chapter of Women Connect, an Employee Business Resource Group designed to support the professional development of female PNC employees. Byrd serves on the executive committee of Louisville’s Fund for the Arts, is a member of Greater Louisville Inc.’s board of directors and is a former board member of Stage One Family Theatre. Byrd earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Transylvania University and Master of Business Administration from Bellarmine University. While at Transylvania University, she served as captain of the women’s soccer team.