Successes of female athletes were not publicized in the early years
Regardless of their excellence, female athletes did not receive publicity for their successes. Part of that had to do with lack of interest; it also had to do with disagreements among the athletics staff. Even after Laura DuPont won the National Collegiate Tennis Championship, the campus paper did not mention her victory.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Frances Hogan, May 23, 1991, and June 3, 1991. Interview L-0044. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
One of the things you never saw was publicity on women's athletics. You just didn't hear about female athletes. And yet, we had excellent athletes. This is why these records are so rare. There was good coverage in the papers all around, from Winston, Greensboro, Raleigh, Durham and so on.
But I can remember Laura Dupont, who won the National Collegiate Championship in tennis in 1970. It was called the USTA Women's Collegiate Tennis Tournament. Laura was an exceptionally good player, and I knew she had a chance to win. The P.E. Department could not finance Laura's trip to the nationals, held at the University of New Mexico. I made up my mind to go to Homer Rice. I didn't know him at all. This was before I was made director of Women's Intercollegiate Athletics. But he said, "Well, is she any good?" And I said, "Well, I think she can win." "Well, I think we can arrange it." So, I thought, "Gosh, that was pretty easy." So, in a meek way I said, "Well, Mr. Rice, do you think I can go with her?" "I think we can arrange that." And that was all that was said and I went. So, of course back then, the women had always watched every penny. I still do that. Anyway, Laura and I went, and she did win the whole thing. And when they announced her the winner, and I knew the struggle we had been through, I had tears rolling down my
face. I even got a man who came through here selling equipment to send some tennis dresses for Laura to use. I wanted her to look really nice. So anyway, Laura was given some outfits. And she won the whole thing. Hot as Hades and no trees in sight. When Laura started the final match, she lost her first three games, without a point. All of a sudden I realized the singles net posts were in the wrong positions. I ran down the bleachers and went over to the tournament director and pointed it out. They stopped the match and corrected the net posts. Well, you know, you use the doubles court and then when you play singles, you adjust the doubles court for single. But it was just wrong. And Laura had been trying to go down the sidelines with error after error.
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[TAPE 1, SIDE B]
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
- FRANCES HOGAN:
Instead of trying to go straight down the line, she started hitting more in the center and cutting down on the angles of return. And all of a sudden, she started winning and she won the whole thing. And when they announced the "University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Laura Dupont," and they went out with this big silver bowl full of red roses. Tears were just running down my face. You know, I just couldn't believe that she had done it. And what a struggle we'd had to get there. So, I thought, "Well, when we get back, they'll really have this written up." Do you know the P.E. Department was so mad, the chairman was, that he would hardly speak to me because I had gone over his head. Before I left for New Mexico, I went over to see Jack Williams in sports information. I left all the information about Laura and where we were going to be. When I returned, there had not been one word in the papers. And I went in there and Mr. Williams said, "Well, I must have lost the information," and he kept going underneath papers on his desk, and he found the material I had left. He had no idea of writing anything. But that's how bad publicity was.