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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Frances Hogan, May 23, 1991, and June 3, 1991. Interview L-0044. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Female athletes participated in special tournaments that accommodated the strict rules governing their activities

The women's athletics program accounted for less resources, a smaller fan base, and less time for competitions by setting its own style of tournaments. Students gathered on one day in a social setting. Even during general competitions, they learned to compete without rancor and adjusted to small living quarters while on the road.

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

FRANCES HOGAN:
Great athletes. And I tried to provide tennis experiences. I can't remember the starting date. I'd have to look in those notebooks. I ran twenty state championships on this campus during the '50s, '60s, and '70s. Now, this sounds ridiculous, but they were well run. They were scheduled at a time when we could get the courts, even the varsity courts, which was one day once a year. The varsity courts were down there where the Paul Green Theater is now. But anyway, I started the tournament because we had so many good tennis players here on campus. And I invited all the colleges in the state of North Carolina and it was a one day event. And the reason it had to be, women were not able to get out of classes for athletic events and neither could the coaches, who were all teachers, miss teaching their classes. So anyway, I started a modified tournament in which a champion was declared in singles and in doubles. And if you played doubles, you could not play singles. Each school entered their very best (two) singles and their best doubles team. It involved only four players from each school, in order to run it off in one day. It was modified to the extent that in the first rounds they played like five out of seven games. No sets, just five out of seven games. And this went on until the semi-finals, and then regular matches were played. I knew an awful lot about all the players, so I could always get the tournament set up and the seedings arranged. It was just an outstanding event. We even had refreshments. Everything in women's athletics had to be sort of a social. So refreshments were served always on the courts, and there was a little place set up where they could get sandwiches, crackers, drinks, and stuff. And we furnished all the tennis balls back then. Now where the money came from, I don't know. I had name tags, real cute, different every year. It was a really nice event. And we had linesmen, ball boys. From one of those tournaments, I did a film on officiating to show at the state NCAHPERD DGWS Convention. Finally, when we became a charter member of AIAW, things changed. The last couple of years I coached tennis, I ran a regular state tournament over a two day period. I'd have to look all that up. But I even had it sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association, but up to that point I couldn't because we were not playing regulation matches, even though we declared a state champion in singles and a state collegiate champion doubles team. It still meant the same thing to the players, you know. We had such great times back then and I think that we had more fun, actually.
MARY JO FESTLE:
Really? Let's talk about the importance of the social aspect.
FRANCES HOGAN:
Well, just go back to that hockey game where the Meredith team had to leave. I said, "Well, we can go down to the women's gym and have some refreshments." They all went down into the bottom room in the women's gym, three flights down. There were little tables and we had cokes and cookies. We did that after every event whether it was basketball, tennis, field hockey; didn't matter. You went down there and you were supposed to meet all the other girls, talk to them, get to know girls from other schools and so on. But going back to that tennis day thing, and we had to call it a "Tennis Day" because it was done in one day. It was not really like a play day. This was a more competitive thing. It was highly competitive.
MARY JO FESTLE:
Well, were you sort of fudging the rules in that way? I mean, having a "Tennis Day," yet making it very competitive and having a champion?
FRANCES HOGAN:
I thought it was a very unique idea. I don't know of any school that has ever done that. I don't know any community that's done that. I thought I was pretty smart to think about it. [Laughter]
MARY JO FESTLE:
I think so, too.
FRANCES HOGAN:
And the coaches loved it. And we would have as many as nineteen or more schools here, so you can imagine the crowd.
MARY JO FESTLE:
Yes, that's quite some organizing.
FRANCES HOGAN:
Yes. But all the staff in the women's P.E. Department helped. It was fun. And the funny thing was we always had excellent weather. There was one time when we didn't, and I had a picture in here for years. I don't know what happened to it. But it showed everybody mopping the courts. And we still played off all the matches.
MARY JO FESTLE:
I think the idea of the social stuff afterward is such a nice idea. Did it work out well? I mean, was it hard to compete with people and then be nice to them afterward?
FRANCES HOGAN:
I don't think so. No, not at all. No.
MARY JO FESTLE:
Were the athletes just as competitive?
FRANCES HOGAN:
Yes. I think they were competitive in a nicer way. It's just like now, I don't seem to enjoy tennis like I once did, because of the viciousness or the tantrums or all that mess. I just can't stand all that. And it used to be that you would say, "Well, it's out. I'm sorry." [Laughter] Or, if it was close to a line, I always said, "Good shot." And yet, I knew it was out, you know. But that's the difference. That's like I had Jane Preyor, just recently resigned tennis coach at Duke, on my tennis team. Excellent player. In fact, she and her partner reached the semi-finals at the National AAIW Tournament in 1976, and they won the Southern Region II, of AIAW. UNC's tennis team also won the whole Southern Collegiate Tournament in 1976. Jane graduated in '76. She was an excellent student, great attitude, very considerate; just the ideal type you want on a team. Her sister, who was here a few years earlier, was also on my tennis team and a good player. Not as good as Jane, but she was so nice. One girl on my team, from Charlotte, came up to me and she said, "Is that girl for real?" You know, it was just the way the Preyors were brought up. They were super people. And I can remember taking Mary Norris Preyor on a trip to Mary Baldwin with Laura Dupont and the others on the team, but I made Mary Norris share the bed with Laura. Back then you had to jam everybody together and use one room, practically. And so, she was to sleep with Laura Dupont. Well, that scared her to death and she just froze and she was scared to breathe afraid she would upset Laura. So, I found her the next day in the bathtub and that's where she slept. Her mother called to see how we were doing up there and I heard Mary Norris say, "We're doing great, Mom. Guess what? I had to sleep with Laura Dupont last night." And her mother said, "Well, Mary Norris, that's just great. That's about as close to fame as you're going to get." [Laughter] But you know, it was just that we had some great trips and great fun. I had some fine girls in tennis, really. Also, I ran the AIAW Region II tennis tournament here, which involved five states. And all of this was after '74. My husband said, "Well, I hope you tell them that back then you worked ten times harder than they work now." And that's the truth. I really believe that.