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Interview with Judy Rose

Rose, Judy
Grundy, Pamela
Date of Interview: 
Women's basketball; UNC Charlotte; Coaching; Title IX; Women's athletics; Recruitment and women's sports; Diversity; Scholarships; Gender; Gender discrimination; Women's roles and sport; College basketball; Professional basketball; Femininity; National Collegiate Athletic Association; Collegiate athletics
UNC Charlotte Athletics Director Judy Rose discusses her personal experiences and those of women athletes in their quest for parity in collegiate sports since Title IX. She reflects upon her early career as a graduate student and coach of women's sports at UNC Charlotte and relates the challenges she faced during a time when gender conventions and lack of scholarship funding limited women's participation in sports and made recruitment difficult. She talks about the growing opportunities for women like herself in sports management, but discusses how they are still fraught with tinges of discrimination. While Rose details gender stereotypes like questions about femininity and physical ability that she and other women in athletics have had to endure, she contends that once proscribed gender roles are changing for the better. In addition, Rose talks about transformations she's seen in basketball over the years, including the reduction in size of women's basketballs, the elimination of jump ball, and the introduction of new rules and player technique.
Interview Setting: 
Levine Museum of the New South, Basketball Series
Collection Description: 
Interview was produced in conjuntion with an exhibit on basketball at the Levine Museum of the New South.
Interview Audio: 
PG (Pamela Grundy): [Laughter] Well, just say, this is Pamela Grundy. I'm here interviewing Judy Rose who is the athletic director at UNC Charlotte. And you were just going to start off by telling me an interesting high school story, so go (right ahead).
JR (Judy Rose): Well when I, I was first hired here, my job was to be the women's basketball coach.
PG: Uh-hum.
JR: The first women's basketball.
PG: Uh-huh.
JR: So I was fresh out of grad school in 1975, and when I accepted the position here was "If you coach basketball, you will coach tennis, and you will teach, and you will work intramurals and--."
PG: (No way).
JR: I'm like "Oh yes, yes. I'll do all that." Right when Title IX had come about
PG: Um-hum.
JR: and so there were a lot of good college jobs available. So I was the assistant coach at University of Tennessee while I was in grad school, and I came here. And I'll never forget, you know, I was doing my teaching and stuff, and I was talking to them. I'm like, "I've got to put signs on campus to have the first meeting for people interested in playing women's basketball." And I was so excited, and, and you got to understand my background. I played at Winthrop College,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: which had really good women's basketball--.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And then at Tennessee, their program was really good. So I was excited, and the night of the first meeting I had only eight people show up.
PG: Oh my.
JR: And I remember I went home to my apartment that night, and I was so depressed. I was like, you know, I can't believe this. Well, one of the people that had hired me who is over the women's sports program here called me home that night,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: and she said, "How did the meeting go? " And I said, "It was awful." And she said, "Well, what happened?" I said, " We only had eight people" she said, "That's wonderful!" And I knew I was in trouble. I'm like, "Oh my gosh, that's wonderful." I'm like you can't even scrimmage with eight people. And I said, "What if they don't, what if there aren't any good?" I didn't test their skills, and they weren't very good. And then it was a rude awakening even through the year, Pam, I, I thought how can I get people to come to women's basketball games?
PG: Um-hum.
JR: I thought I know what I'll do. I'll send a letter to all the junior high school and high school coaches and, and, and I'll even use the men's basketball program as a springboard. It's when we had Cedric Maxwell and, you know, really good--. I said, "If you come to the women's game, I'll let you in the men's game free." OK? Well I kept waiting for the replies. I never got a reply, never. And I was talking to the same girl, and I said,"You know I cannot believe that not one person has responded to my letter, not one." She said, "Who'd you send them to?" I said, "Well, I just addressed it to women's basketball coach, and then I did the high school and junior varsity. And she said, "Uh, Judy, they don't have women's basketball in the junior high schools or the high schools in Charlotte." I'm like, "What?" There's nothing to recruit from. So, I mean, it was a rude awakening to me that even as late as 1975 women's basketball was not a sport in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, junior high or high school.
PG: That's really amazing to believe. Even I didn't know (that either).
JR: I came from a small town in South Carolina, and, you know, it had less than 2,000 people in the whole town and that was a big deal-basketball.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Men's and women's basketball.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And it just amazed me that Charlotte-Mecklenburg as large as it was that they didn't have it.
PG: Well that's really. Yeah, I'm sure that was, that was quite a (difficult)--. So what did you do then? How would you get some of the--?
JR: Oh! Well see, we weren't scholarshiping either at the time,
PG: Uh-huh.
JR: the first three years that I was here. And I mean it was pretty difficult to recruit in my own mind to a place that they didn't have it in the city, and we didn't have a physical education major here either. And a lot of people that, when I was coming up, majored in physical education that participated in sport. And so we had some strikes against us. We didn't have scholarships. I'm like, "What am I selling? How can I get them to come here?" But you always come up with something, and I would sell facilities, the university, the urban setting, Charlotte being not far away, there's plenty to do in Charlotte kind of deal. So you had to kind of look at what else there was to sell.
PG: Uh-hum.
JR: A different type of sizzle is, is what you look for. And we ended up being pretty good. Not that first year [Laughter], not that first year at all. Maybe not the first two. But in then by the third year we were scholarshiping, really had some good teams.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And, and I was fortunate. I was a finalist for the job at Chapel Hill. And Dean Smith came here and interviewed me. It was quite--.
PG: Uh-huh.
JR: It was great for me and my career at some point because we had, the first year that we got scholarships I really was able to sign some good kids. Not because of me. The university sells itself in that regard. And I think that's why they even looked at me. They certainly didn't look at our record,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: you know. It's just the fact that we were able to attract some kids to a program that had not been very successful once we began the scholarship, and we had good kids. And it was great. I ended up withdrawing my name because I decided I wanted to stay here, and I didn't want to coach 100 percent of the time. My position here was coaching and being assistant athletic director, and I wasn't sure which path I wanted to take a long range.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And if I got totally out of administration and into coaching, which was what it was going to be at Chapel Hill, I wasn't sure that that was the path that I wanted, and I didn't want to restrict myself so I think I obviously made the right decision.
PG: Right. Looking (at where you are).
JR: Looking now, but I, you know, I may not say that ten years from now, but right now I certainly say that. But I miss parts of coaching.
PG: Well, I am sure that you do. I'm sure that it's very exciting. Well, was there any particular region in this area that you were able to recruit players from?
JR: I recruited a lot from western North Carolina. I kind of did a combination, but I got a lot of players from like the Asheville-Hendersonville area.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: OK? Really good players there, and then I also got some from the eastern part though. Probably three of my best ball players-one was from Hendersonville, one was from Williamston, North Carolina, which is eastern part of the state down near Greenville, and one was from Bandys High School up here.
PG: Hum.
JR: So it's really kind of a variety of areas, but I'd say the bulk of mine came from the western North Carolina. Mountain girls.
PG: (Right. Really?)
JR: And, you know, it's funny. It's changed a lot. My main focus was on North Carolina because we didn't have a lot of recruiting dollars, and we certainly didn't have scholarships to begin with, but those three were my first scholarship class. And I mean they were good.
PG: Uh-huh.
JR: They were really good. Two of them were, were All-Americans.
PG: Oh, really?
JR: And I have--. They are in that picture over there. But great kids, and I keep up with everyone of them. But I'd say primarily western. Today it has changed so much. Our, our coach--. We recruit nationally. We've got kids on the team from Canada, from Michigan, all over. I mean you name it .
PG: So it isn't (just to)--
JR: I mean we, we go anywhere in the country to get the best players.
PG: What, what kind of difference has it made in the program?
JR: More diverse. Certainly I think you get different backgrounds coming into the program. Different diversity along the levels of coaching that they've had to get here. We look at a lot of things, not just at the athlete themselves. What has the discipline been from the coaching background they've had? Did they come from a strong program or where they the program? You look at a lot of different things. Now, granted, the primarily thing you're going to look at is is this student going to able to graduate. Do they have the potential to make it academically and play sports, because if you're just looking at their sports, if they are not going to be able to make it, they're not going to be with you long enough to be worth your time
PG: Right.
JR: that you invest in them. And we invest quite a bit of not only time but dollars in, in the recruitment process
PG: Right.
JR: of, of student athletes. People would be in awe today over the budgets of what they look at. You know, you've got to fly of coaches to look at these people, not just once, but three and four times. They've got to see them in this setting and this one in a practice setting and in a, in a competition setting
PG: Um-hum.
JR: and the whole scenario. And we are a member of quite a few recruiting agencies. We'll be a member of this for 150 or 200 dollars you pay, and they'll send you a roster of who the best players are in the country: the best guards, the best forwards, the best centers.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And I tell you something that's really changed in, in women's basketball primarily has been--. It used to be when I was coaching, if you had somebody six feet tall you're doing great. That was your center. Today your six footer is usually your guard,
PG: Um-hum, um-hum.
JR: and you got to have at least six-four, six-five, six-six. You, you got to have several of those
PG: Um-hum.
JR: in order to be really be successful today. It's changed a lot .
PG: Well, that is a big difference [Laughter].
JR: [Laughter] Yeah, really.
PG: Right, I would think that you would have to go nationally just to find that many.
JR: Six foot is not tall any more in women's basketball, not at all. A lot of changes. They've changed the size of the ball. They decreased the size of that several years ago.
PG: Right, what do--? Were you in support of that? Did you think that was--?
JR: Yeah, because a woman's hand is basically quite a bit smaller than the male hand.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And the ball was created for the size of men's hands. OK? And it, it's amazing by that--. It's just a very small reduction. If you picked up a ball, you wouldn't know that it was any different.
PG: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
JR: Just perception wise because you can't, you can't visually tell it. But it has made a big difference in women's basketball. And there're some things I wish that the men would do that the women have been doing.
PG: Which would be--?
JR: The women play a thirty-second clock, shot clock; the men play a forty-five. Women's game is much faster, much more interesting in that regard.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Can't stall the ball at all. I mean you really can't. You've got to make things happen. I like that better, and, and I wish the men would adopt that rule.
PG: Um-hum, um-hum. When did the women get that?
JR: Oh, gosh, you know, I don't even remember. All the time that I was coaching I remember in college, the, the thirty-second rule.
PG: Um-hum. Um-hum. And had you always played when you were growing up--? Had you always played the five-person basketball (trading places)?
JR: No, I played three different games I'd say basically. I played the three-and-three half court, where you had your guards on one side and the forwards on other. And the guards would dribble up and throw the ball to you kind of deal, and I was a forward. OK? And then my junior year in high school, we switched to rovers where two people--.
PG: Right.
JR: Played full court and the others stayed on the end. And then when I got to college it was five-player, everybody going back and forth. So I was glad that I had been the rover because I had just as much [Laughter] but at least I knew I was in shape and I knew, you know, what I was getting into. And that was the only experience I'd had to prepare me for college basketball. When I came through, Pam, they were not scholarshiping women's sport at the time. Telling my age, but I played--.
PG: It wasn't all that long ago that they [Laughter] weren't doing scholarships (for women).
JR: No, I played '70 to '74 at Winthrop. And the game has changed a lot since then. It truly has.
PG: Into what, what would be some of the changes?
JR: I think the caliber of the athlete has changed. Because of the acceptance in the programs, and the attention being placed on women's sports that was not really placed on it earlier. The example of Charlotte Mecklenburg now certainly would have basketball and has had it for many years now. And I think the focus on fitness, overall. Years ago you were, you were certainly considered a tomboy when I did it. OK? It wasn't the most flattering term oftentimes. It didn't bother me, but, you know, you weren't considered oftentimes feminine if you participated in athletics. You were a jock, you know. Today you're more accepted if you do participate in something of that nature. It's a fitness craze. You're expected to be, it's OK to be aggressive and be a female. So I think the perception of the female has changed and that has certainly helped women's basketball and women's sports in general,
PG: Right.
JR: but certainly women's basketball.
PG: Um-hum, uh-hum.
JR: It's funny, we just did a promotion--, or we are applying for a grant. The Sara Lee Corporation, through the NCAA, has a grant to promote-and I'm going say the title is "Discover Women's Sports." And you can get x-number of dollars if you come up with this great promotion for your program. We've come up for one that we are submitting, and we did a little research behind it and see what some other schools had done over the years. And UCLA had a great one. Their phrase was "Discover Women's Athletics: The Power Behind The Grace," which was, I thought, was a great quote because it shows that you can be graceful and be feminine, but you can also be an athlete. And that's one thing we've tried to stress to our female student athletes. You can still have the femininity and still be a very good athlete.
PG: Um-hum. Are there still then some girls who worry about that, who have some concerns that you need to--?
JR: I don't think there's a lot of those anymore.
PG: Uh-huh.
JR: I think that some of that stigma has gone
PG: Um-hum.
JR: from that. I, like I said, I never worried about that to begin with, but I do think that some people did, you know. And I had friends in high school, my very best friend that we played basketball all through high school. When she knew I was going to major in physical education and play basketball in college she said, " Now, Judy, don't come back walking like a guy. OK?" And I'm like, "What?" I said, "I'll have you check it out when I get back," you know. After our first semester away in college. I went to Winthrop, and she went to University of South Carolina. And we, we laugh about it now.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: She said, "Because, you know, some of them just get so into that, and they become so masculine" kind of deal. But you know when I was playing that stuck with me all through college and what she had said. And when I played basketball, I had hair down to here just because I thought if I had long hair it'd make me appear to be feminine.
PG: (Really?)
JR: So I was trying to overcome parts of it just to make sure that people thought that I was. Now when I played basketball my hair looked absolutely horrible because I would wad it up in some little ball and stick it up here, which looked the least feminine of all. And I would one of these terrible sweaters. I mean I, I perspired terribly. My whole head would be wet after a basketball game. You'll think that I have been in the shower or something. But that stuck with me so it did, I did have thoughts about that that after she told me that. I'm like "Oh gosh, I've got to really work on making sure I'm feminine and that I don't try." But like I said today I think that has changed.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Because it's OK to be an athlete. It's accepted. People think it's kind of neat if you can do all that, if you can be an athlete and do other extracurricular activities and get your school work done.
PG: Is there a point that you can that you can sort point to a point in time when you think that change happened? Or--?
JR: Well, Title IX was a big step toward that, which was in the '70--, about 1975. That's when it first started occurring, because there was some national attention toward women's athletics. And it was shortly after that that the AIW, which was the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics,
PG: Right.
JR: was dissolved or brought into or merged with the NCAA. And when that happened there was more national attention, more dollars where put into the sport and Title IX certainly was, was part of the reason for that.
PG: Um-hum, um-hum.
JR: The focus that if, if, if colleges and universities and schools did not do it, federal funding
PG: Right.
JR: would be taken away from the universities, so there was
PG: Right.
JR: this impetus to make it happen.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: I'm sure that's why the job was created here at
PG: Right.
JR: UNC Charlotte and across the country. That year, you know, I was offered three different jobs.
PG: (Uh-huh.)
JR: And I'd go back to our graduate class, and there were about thirty of us in grad school at Tennessee, and I guess it's about fifty-fifty male and female. And I remember the guys would walk into class- and this is toward the end of the year-and one guy would go, "Yes, I am the new junior high football coach at such-and-such junior high school," and he'd be so excited.
PG: [Laughter]
JR: One of the girls would walk in and she'd go, "Guess what, guess what?" I mean it would be like right before class started. She'd go, " I'm the new women's tennis coach at the University of North Alabama!" and, and those guys would go, "Ga-lay!" I mean they were so excited until they heard the jobs that we were getting offered. Now ours was definitely right time, right place.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: No questions about it. And they were so ticked off and so annoyed, and we finally said "Hey, how long has it taken guys? Give us a break."
PG: Right.
JR: I saw that again when I was named as athletic director here,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: which was three years ago. I think at that time I was the second Division I athletic director in the country that was female, or Division I program. Now since that time, it's interesting each year to see. And I was recently approached by a Division I-A school with football to apply for a job in a major conference. And I said, "Eh, I'm, I'm really not interested." I said, "I'm very happy where I am. I like it here." But I did go ahead and talk to them when I was at New Orleans, and it was interesting. I said, "Are, are you looking for a woman?"
PG: Uh-huh.
JR: "Is that it? Is your focus on a female?" He said, "Absolutely not." He said, "What I'm trying to do is get a very qualified, diverse group of applicants." And after I talked to him for two hours, and I got a little bit excited about the job because it was fully scholarshiped and, you know, fully funded, full time coaches and different challenges than what we have here. Our challenges are a little different, and we're trying to get that point. And so I got a little bit excited my husband's going "Judy, now we're not moving out there."
PG: [Laughter]
JR: "We are not going to Iowa." And I'm like, " Well, let's just think about thi--." And he said, "Judy, [Laughter] you wouldn't move to Chicago with me." And he said, "Let's just think about this. Our families are here." And I wouldn't have probably moved, Pam, but his emphasis was one at least some diverse people in the group. Well, I called me back later and told him that I was not going to come. And he said, it was really kind of funny because he said, "Let me talk to your husband." And I said, " No, no. This was a, a decision we both made," and, and he certainly did not offer me the position. We were just in the very preliminarily stages of talking about it. I wouldn't even consider it an interview. And he said, "Well, I want to tell you something. Do you know that it is harder to move the rock of Gibraltar than it is to get a women to move."
PG: [Laughter]
JR: And I said, "You are focusing on women." He said, "No." He said, "I can't get qualified women to be interested in, in even discussing it though."
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And it was really kind of funny, now. They did end up having a female in the pool and a male, you know, different peo--. And I don't know who's gotten the job yet, but it was interesting because each year more and more females are at least being considered for the AD job thing where they never were before.
PG: Um-hum, um-hum.
JR: And when I was considered for this job or was talked to, I remember Jim Woodward said, our chancellor, when he was talking to me about it, he said "Are you the first female?" And I said, "I have no idea." And I said, "But wait a minute." I said, "If that's why you doing this," I said, "Lets forget it."
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Because I said, "That's his--, you know, that's, that's news today and history tomorrow, and unless I have the support and your belief that I can do this--. Let's just don't do it just because I'm a female, because if that's the reason, then I am not interested at all."
PG: Um-hum.
JR: I mean I've been here for many years. I was--. I've been here eighteen years in different roles. And, but he assured me that wasn't it, but now I can--. I mean there are at least ten or more athletic directors that are female. It's a small number compared to 292 Division I schools,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: but it's getting there.
PG: Yeah. ( ).
JR: At least it a little bit more accepted, and I have an example and if I am rambling too much--.
PG: Oh, no. This is wonderful. Just--.
JR: You tell me. I attended the national athletic directors conference last two years. And last year I went, and they have these roundtables, breakfast roundtables they call them. And you could pick out which ones you want to go to, and they're like twenty minutes on discussing of radio and TV or health benefit packages or different things for your program. Well, I, I picked four different ones I was going to rotate to, and I sat in on the one about radio and television programs, coaches' shows.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And the guy headed it up was an athletic director at a major Pack Ten football school. OK? And I said, "I want to ask you something about your coach's show." And he said, "Now where are you?" And I said, " I'm the director of athletics at UNC Charlotte." And he said--. He thought my question was pertaining to women's basketball coach's show, when it wasn't. I was just talking about the men's basketball coach's show, and I didn't specify women's or men's. I just said "I want to ask you about your basketball coach's show." And I asked whatever question it was, and, and he said," What do you do with your women?" I said, " We don't have a women's basketball coach's show." I said, "I'm talking about the men's."
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And he said, "Oh." Well--, and he never really gave me a real good answer. OK? There was a young black gentleman seated beside me, and he leaned over and he punched me. He said, "Doesn't he just make you sick." [Laughter]. He sa--, he sa--. [Laughter] He said, "It's real difficult." He said, " You did not stutter when he asked you what you did. You told him you were the director of athletics. You did not say over the women's program. You said you were the director of athletics." He said, "But in his mind, he's so darned prejudiced he thought, 'No way, she's got to be over the women's program.'" He said, "We're fighting that same battle," but it was really--. I mean it was kind of interesting
PG: Um-hum.
JR: to get his perspective on it.
PG: Right, right. (They were sort of) left out
JR: Um-hum.
PG: or kept out for a long time.
JR: Good old boy network.
PG: Yeah, so did you find that it's a lot like that?
JR: Still there. It's--. Gradually the acceptance is getting better, Pam. But initially certainly I'd say that's, that is the initial reaction when they meet you that they don't think you could possibly be the director of athletics because this is a good old boy network. This is a male job. You are a female in a male's role, traditionally.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: OK? That is, that is breaking now. I think you--, the one think you have to do once you prove your credibly with them,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: you're OK. If they, if they think you're just there in name and gender only,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: OK? Then you're not accepted. But once they understand that there's some credibly there and there's a reason, I, I haven't had any problem in that regard. You might have to prove yourself a little more than you would.
PG: Um-hum. Right. I can, I can imagine that ( ).Well, well a couple of particular areas that we were real interested in, in terms of particularly women's basketball, OK, because that's a certain that, that we've got, and wom--, and especially women's basketball and television exposure. I was curious as to whether you have any particular thoughts about the amount of television exposure there is and the use of that, whether that's a useful thing to have and that sort of thing. Is that a subject--?
JR: I'll say number one, I don't think there's enough. OK? That's one side of my conversation; the other is the business side. Until people are interested in watching it, the sponsorship dollars are not going to be put into it. It's the chicken and egg syndrome: if it's not there for them to watch how can they be interested or get interested in it.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Which comes first? I think recently the televising of the Women's Final Four has certainly brought focus that there is interest in it because number one this year's Final Four in the Omni was sold out before the event started.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: First time they've had a sellout before it started. Interesting also that the four teams that made it to the Final Four this year were not your traditional four. It wasn't your Tennessees, your Stanfords, your Western Kentuckys. It was four new ones. And they think that's part of the reason that it sold out. There was this new burst of enthusiasm and interest of, of groups coming in. Other types of exposure helped the television a bit, and that, that is the newspaper exposure, radio exposure. If those pump it up a little bit more, people become interested in watching it. But the sponsorship dollars are going to be a major issue. The fact that, that CBS did air the Women's Final Four I think has been major because people have an opportunity to see it. Their like, "Gaa, you know, women's college basketball really is good. They do play a lot like the guys." And, and I don't know if you watched any of this year--.
PG: I watched a little of it.
JR: But the Swoops girl from the Texas team. Oh, she caught the, the whole nation by storm, and she had a great interview so they saw that's she was articulate. It was a black female student athlete that was, was extremely talented, extremely articulate. I think she signed to play overseas for a large sum of money, so there's some people that are kind of comparable now. They're seeing that some things are being done for the women. There--some opportunities that weren't there in the past .
PG: When you say opportunities, you mean opportunities beyond college or--?
JR: Beyond college, yeah. Quite a few kids are playing overseas, but the overseas teams have, have put a quota on the number of, of Americans that can play on their team. And most of them have a quota of two per team. So that is pretty restrictive.
PG: Yes.
JR: And I think the Japanese may even have just one per team of, of Americans, because we kind of dominate in women's basketball, you know, when you look at Olympics and things of that nature we are pretty dominating in that.
PG: Well it's interesting if that's the case, but then there's professional basketball overseas and not here.
JR: And not here.
JR: You know, I think they tried to start it soon here. It's failed two times here, and I think a lot of it is, is they tried to do it before its time and before people really caught on to going women's college games. They kind of put the cart before the horse. They really needed to establish that good solid following
PG: Um-hum.
JR: and viewership in person, in attendance before they could get them to come to professional games. They couldn't support the programs financially because they didn't have the attendance
PG: Um-hum.
JR: and the sponsorship dollars either.
PG: Um-hum. Does this sort of limited amount of professional opportunity make say the women's program here different from the men's program? Is there--. Does that have an effect or the, the, the potential for going on to other play or--?
JR: For the women I, I think so. I think there's a different--. I think women athletes have a different perceptive than men do. When they enter college to play basketball, they do not view that as career opportunity for them. They, I think they view it as a way to pay for their education so that they can have a career. OK? I think most male athletes in basketball come in and say this is a step to the pros, which can be my career. There's an awful misconception on how many are going to make the pros and the realization of what your true talent is. You know, so many parents and so many young men just feel like that's their dream. I can do it. I'm good enough to play professionally, and what, less than one percent make it.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And the perspective is totally different when they, or perspective is totally different when they come in. Women don't necessarily--. I mean their first thought is certainly not playing professional basketball; it's not it. That, that's sort of like icing on the cake. If you get there and you're good enough and that happens, it's like "Gaa, now I have this opportunity, too. I can choose which one I want to do." And when I talk to student athletes that come in here, to ninety-nine percent, male and female, that I talk to I'm like, "Most important thing is that we get you on a career path to graduate because the chances of you making a living out of playing basketball, running track, or doing this are slim to none.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: You know, we got to get you on the right path. Now along this path, you're going to have a great experience because you're going to have the opportunity to participate in intercollegiate athletics.
PG: Um-hum. What do you think, what do you think that the benefits of this level of athletics are for students? They sort of already come through junior high and the high school, I think to some extent got discipline, learned to set goals and do some of the things that sports, you know, gets you to do.
JR: I think that that's a lot of it. It's funny, I have exit interviews with our seniors when they're leaving, certain ones, and, and ask those kind of--. That's one of the questions I ask: the benefits of participating. And I'd say the primary answer I've received is teamwork, opportunity to travel, the discipline, time management. Almost everyone of them said time management.
PG: Uh-huh.
JR: Because when you're in high school, it's a little bit different. You've got Mom and Daddy there to make you kind of do things. When you are away at college, well, am I going to watch this soap opera or this sporting event, or am I going to go to study hall or am I going to do this, and I've got practice for two hours and this, that, and the other. We kind of force some time management on them. We make all freshman go to study hall for two hours four nights a week OK? Now we tell them that we want them to study more than that two hours but at least that's the minimum. We're going to make sure that they at least have that time set aside. You can't make them study, but we can make them be there. And, and then we have another study hall system set up for those that are below a certain grade point average. But time management has been one of the main answers. The camaraderie. They like that. They like being a member of a unit, of a team. And, and they like the responsibility that goes with it.
PG: Um-hum. That sounds so important.
JR: You do become a part of a cohesive unit when you are member of the team
PG: Right. ( ). It's probably a very helpful think when you go off to school which is different and--.
JR: A lot of people want to hire athletes. They will look at athletes. Maybe they don't have the highest grade point average, but if, if they're fairly comparable to somebody else and they've had athletic participation because of the teamwork concept, the give and take, they, they will have a tendency to maybe have an edge sometime in the hiring process.
PG: Do you talk to people who are giving jobs--, the, they tell you they
JR: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. And they've said that.
PG: are interested in that?
JR: Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah. They like that. They feel like there is a strong degree of discipline there and teamwork.
PG: Well, I asked you some about some thing about the changes in the women's program since you started. What changes would you say that there've been in the men's program in basketball, in basketball sense.
JR: One of the biggest controversial things, Pam, was, you know, where that three-point line was going be. They decided to keep it basically at the same spot, not where the professional line is, and that's been quite a bit of controversy. Over the years they've, in men's and women's basketball, they've taken away the, the jump ball.
PG: Um-hum. Right.
JR: I hate that. I really liked the jump ball. [Laughter] I think they ought to bring that back, but, you know, they take it out on the side or whatever
PG: Right.
JR: and so I prefer the jump ball. No other tremendous number of changes in, in men's basketball over the years. Some--. The dunk has certainly added,
PG: Right.
JR: you know. And I think it'll be nice when women's basketball can dunk. They might have to change the heighth of the goal in order for that to happen. Of course, if we keep getting taller players, they might not have to.
PG: Yeah, right. [Laughter]
JR: But men's basketball, when the dunk really came into effect I think that brought a new level of excitement to the game.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: People get excited about, just people just in a slam dunk contest,
PG: Right. Right.
JR: you know. You can do all kind of drills and everything. They aren't interested in that, but you run a slam dunk contest and they're extremely interested in that. The game I think with the three point shot overall not just where the line is placed, but the three point shot has changed men's basketball. Because is--. Now there's, there's an awful lot of emphasis put on guards versus in the past the majority of the emphasis was put on your centers.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Now if, if, if a person gets fouled shooting a three point shot they get three shorts, and people don't like that. And you can, if you're behind on a ball game and you've got a good three point shooter you catch up [Snaps fingers] a lot faster so it changes the game. You really got to--. Coaches are looking more offensively toward recruiting three point shooters and more defensively of having somebody that can defend that person.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: So it, it has changed the game.
PG: This sort of gro--, or growing emphasis on, particularly the NCAA, the tournament of Final Four, which it seems has just become more or more of a big, of a big event over the recent years. Does that make it easier or harder for smaller schools do you think to compete with the larger ones? Does that have an effect on who--?
JR: There're about thirty conferences within the NCAA, and most of those conferences have automatic bids to the NCAA. So usually you aren't competing against people that you aren't comparable with for the automatic bid.
PG: Right. Um-hum.
JR: Like in our league, we're a member of the Metro conference, and there're six other schools that we complete against. If we win our conference tournament, we go to the NCAA. Same thing would be true of the Winthrop Colleges or, you know, the different ones that are NCAA members. Now those are your larger schools. Then you have got the NAIA conference, which is usually smaller schools, but a lot of those are leaving and becoming members of Division II of the NCAA. And they have their own Division II tournament, but none of it is nearly as visible or prestigious as the Final Four, Division I.
PG: Right.
JR: You know, the upper echelon of it. And women's basketball is getting to that level of exposure now. We've put in a bid to host the Women's Final Four in 1996.
PG: Right. You were saying that.
JR: We had these folks in town last week. Our competition is Cincinnati and Kansas City. So we'll find out sometime in July as to whether we will get it or not.
PG: Well, that should be exciting. What, what made you deicide that you wanted to try to put that (tournament on)?
JR: It was interesting this, this city is certainly evidence their support men's basketball. No question. We've had the regionals. We've been the host institution for the last two years for the regional- last two times it's been in Charlotte for the regionals, and we are the host for the Final Four. We, we put in an application to host the regionals in 1995 and '96 for the men when they sent the paper work out.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Was anybody interested? Well, we were denied it in '95, because after you have the Final Four, they don't let you have anything.
PG: Oh really?
JR: They say you need a break; take one. We didn't like it particularly, but we said OK, we'll take it. In 1996 we applied for that one again for '96 for the men, because that came out first. We, it was between us and the Georgia Dome, and because we will have had the Final Four in '94 and the regional last year, they gave it to the Georgia Dome. They try to rotate it around on the East Coast for the people that want to it, if they've got comparable facilities. So right after we got denied, I got his form in the mail about the Women's Final Four, and I thought "Why didn't we do this?"
JR: Um-hum.
PG: It brings get great visibility to this city. It's on CBS; it's nationally televised. The ACC tournament that's been held in Rock Hill, they've had really good attendance and done a good job with that. Why can't we look at a new market of people? Let's try to expose this area to the best college women's basketball there is.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: So I had a meeting, and I set it up with Steve Camp of the Coliseum and the Charlotte local organizing committee and said, "Why, why don't we do it this? Lets think about it." And we sat there and write about the pros and cons, and I said, "I, I understand that it is not the normal market that we're used to dealing with."
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Are we guaranteed of a sellout? No. We just have to work a little bit harder to try to get it. To make people aware of how good this can be, and they all got excited about it.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And then after--. We had to go through all this procedure before this year's Women's Final Four, and when Atlanta sold out and did such a wonderful job, everybody got even more excited. You know, the level of excitement certainly increased.
PG: So that should change perceptions of women's basketball in Charlotte a great deal?
JR: Oh. Um-hum. Yeah. And the second part of that is selfishly for our university, it is great for the visibility of this university for us to be involved in every NCAA event we can possibly put on. It's great visibility opportunity for the university and for our athletic program here. People here the name UNC Charlotte it helps enrollment, out of state, in state. It helps in our recruitment of our student athletes if they can identify us with that. It's a great recruiting tool for us
PG: Um-hum.
JR: to say we're the host institution. And we would like to think that hopefully our women's teams going to be good enough that we might be in it.
PG: [Laughter]
JR: And we'd like to think that hopefully our men's basketball team would be good enough that we might be in it.
PG: You sure have had some good teams over the years here.
JR: We feel like we have. Our, probably our best recruiting year this past year was in women's basketball . We got-- , had a great recruiting year.
PG: Do you find that you have some difficulty in recruiting--? Let me know if you , you know, ( ).
JR: I have a dental appointment at 3: 15. I've got until three 'o clock, so we're OK.
PG: Oh, OK. OK. Well, all right. Do you find that you have difficulty or can you can compete programs like NC State and
JR: [Laughter]
PG: in particular, I guess NC State or Tennessee or these other ( )--.
JR: You talking about women?
PG: Uh-hum.
JR: OK. That, that's an interesting question. A lot of these schools won't play us.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Chapel Hill won't play us. I'm not sure about NC State. Clemson will only play us at Clemson.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: Georgia would play us both places, and we've beaten them and they have beaten us. Tennessee played us here and there. Tennessee we--. They beat us here, but we played them a good game. This past year they creamed us. OK? But they creamed most people they played. I was telling the NCAA committee that while they were here, and they all said, "Oh, ya'll did so good. You played the national schedule." Three of our players where out with debilitating injuries. One, two of them had anterior cruciate ligament tears, and another one had a tear of the Achilles tendon. That one may not re--, ever recover enough to play because that's a terrible injury.
PG: Uh-huh. Yeah.
JR: But for us to have even done what we did in that setting, we can compete against such teams. We took Virginia to a three point game, even with the injuries that I am talking about.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: So yes we can and especially with the recruiting class. If we get those people to play us,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: we can compete with them.
PG: Uh-huh.
JR: It's taken us a while, and we've got a great coach. He's a die-hard, and he's like the old die-hard battery: he doesn't ever stop, ever.
PG: [Laughter]
JR: I mean he keeps on and on and on. And I think that's why he had such a great recruiting year. He, he sells this university well, and he sells his program well.
PG: Uh-hum. Um-hum. What do you think about men coaches in women's basketball? Is it essentially the same to you or are there differences?
JR: I--. Its funny. When we were hiring five years ago for a women's basketball coach- four years, excuse me- I wanted a female. Probably a personal prejudice, because I what we needed some good female leadership and role models for the kids. The chancellor at that time, we had a different chancellor, and he wanted a female. However when we got the applications in--. Had a lot of applications. Wide margin between best candidate, who was at Ed Baldwin, and the others. I mean wide margin. Talked to the chancellor. He said, " Re-open the search." We re-opened the search and the same ones applied. We didn't get any new ones that made any difference. So I mean I was really struggling with it. And, and we bought Ed back in and interviewed him again, and Jeff Mullins was the AD then, and I was the assistant AD or associate AD. And we talked, and I said, "You know, I have this real problem hiring a female that is not the most qualified." We're not being fair to the kids if we're doing that. You know, I don't want a nurse to be working with me that is not the best nurse there is.
PG: Right.
JR: OK? If it happens to be a female, that's wonderful. If it happens to be a male, that's wonderful. The same thing's true of a doctor. I don't think we're in this to train people in head coaching positions. I think that role comes in, in assistant coaching positions. Now if I had the choice between an assistant coach being male or female and that was pretty comparable or maybe the male was a little bit more qualified, I'd take the female. Because I think we do have a responsibility to help get more good qualified females in it. But I have a real problem in not taking the most qualified person.
PG: Right.
JR: They were, they were laughing at me in the conference because they said that I can get away with it because I am a female. I could hire a male, but they couldn't do it.
PG: [Laughter]
JR: But the others couldn't. I said, "We ya'll," I said, "I've said this in meetings on campus. You got to hire the most qualified individual to lead our programs." And I really do believe that. Now it certainly didn't hurt that ours was a black male coach. That satisfied across campus a little bit. You meet, you know, some of the requirements and--. Because I mean they weren't going to make me hire
PG: Right.
JR: somebody that wasn't qualified. We have a male volleyball coach. And I really struggled there. I'm like," Ya'll--." But there again there was a big disparity in the difference. And I really try to look and I try to gear our search toward females, and I will try to do more of that for female sports.
PG: Is there really just a dearth of really fine female coaches these days?
JR: You know what I saw for the women's basketball was--. We interviewed some females. It's funny. Time commitment is, is a major emphasis. Women that have families have a real problem in coaching because of the demands of both. It would be very difficult to be a really good mother and a really good coach for the time commitment that both take. You'll see a lot of them have nannies. Pat Head Summitt, Tennessee, has a nanny that lives with them. Sylvia Hatchell at Chapel Hill has a nanny, because they just don't feel like they can do justice to both. And, and it's difficult to, to do it. To raise a family and to do that. It doesn't mean that it can't be done, but it's very difficult. A real motivated person is going to feel like they're not giving adequate time to each. So I think that's been part of the problem. Sometimes they force themselves to make choices in that regard. Real supportive husbands certainly help. [Laughter]
PG: Um-hum. Right.
JR: I have an extremely supportive husband. He attends almost all athletic events and really enjoys it, but that's not always the case. So I think that is tough.
PG: Well, time is kind of winding down. I'm going ask one ques--, one more question and then, and then just, just see if you have any, any final things to say. We've been asking everybody we interview, and have found that it's a question that brings some interesting answers, if they have one particular memorable moment related to basketball that just when you think of basketball that springs to your mind as the thing that you remember more than anything else. And I wondering if you had a--?
JR: Over the any part of my basketball career?
PG: Over any, any, any time. Just anything related at all to basketball. Something that just comes to mind.
JR: I would say really quite honestly probably-and this is going to seem maybe trivial- but the quality of individuals that, that I was able to recruit to this program. And one particular instant that, that really bugs my mind. We were just trying to really to develop some credibility for this program, and at this point you were allowed to bring tryouts, women's basketball was, NAIAW. And I had a tryout here on campus. And I'd sent letters out to invite specific individuals to come try out, and then it was an open tryout, too. Others could come. And I had a kid that came here from western North Carolina, from Asheville. And I heard she was really good, that she'd gotten most valuable player at the Blue Star All-Star Game. I had not seen her,
PG: Um-hum.
JR: but she got it the night before. And she came up on that Saturday to try out. And probably what impressed me the most was--. I mean she put on a clinic that day. The men's basketball coach came down that day.
PG: Um-hum.
JR: And he was--. And he sat down and he watched part of the tryouts. And I had them do different drills and scrimmage and do different stuff. And he said, "Judy, that girl can make my team." He said, "If you don't want her, can I have her?" He said, "She's better than any guard I've got." And that stuck with me that number one, we were able to get a kid to come here to try out for a team for scholarship. And I know how much we gave her; we gave her three hundred and twenty-nine dollars to come here to play basketball.
PG: Oh really?
JR: OK? I also look back--. Now, she was overlooked by some people. And that's before basketball really got big and these, all these agencies were not around and you could get some blue chip players. You could steal some almost. Well, we didn't have lot of money, and I thought we had been giving a lot of money. I'll never forget once we got here--. We got her that year, and we got the other All-American that year. And the way we got the other one, both these stories where just--. The men's basketball coach was on the road recruiting, and he wrote me a note and put it on my telephone. Said, "Judy saw a girl play last night. Got there early for the men's game saw this girl play. She's really good." Well interestingly enough, I went to see her play. She played horrible. I mean absolutely horrible. It was in the state, and I'm like, "OK. There's got to be more here." I thought her team was playing bad, but you can tell she's athletic. But, boy, she hasn't shown that she can really shoot. Well, we got both that kids that year, and they both turned out to be All-Americans. And just the fact of how much women's basketball has changed. Today you couldn't do that. You'd never be able to sneak up on and pay three hundred and twenty-nine dollars for each one of them. And both of them came from backgrounds where nobody had been to college and their families basically. And it was funny, when they got here, they're like, "Who's going to pay for my books?" I'm like, "You have to pay for you books." "We can't do that!" They didn't have money. They didn't know they had to do that, but I'd just say being able to attract those kind of kids. It kind of renews your faith and that good things are going to happen if you work hard and, and these were good kids that came into our program. And they made a name for this program here , so that's probably one of my most memorable--.
PG: Well that's, that's great. ( )
JR: It's usually the kids most. Most of mine are dealing with the kids.
PG: Um-hum. Um-hum. Well that's, that's just great. Well then I'll just ask in the five minutes before you need to go to the dentist, which I, I pity you for--.
JR: Sorry about that. [Laughter]
PG: Well, I'm just glad it's not me.
JR: [Laughter]
PG: If there's anything else that you think is particularly important about basketball here or your own basketball experiences or Charlotte or anything like that that you, that you think would be important for us to include that I haven't asked you.
JR: I think that the history of the basketball in the Carolinas. There's certainly strength, and the ACC has a history of strength of, of basketball, primarily in men's basketball. They've been so visible. I look at someone a like Jeff Mullins, who was our coach. And one think that I try to tell the folks from the NCAA, I said, "Now 1994 is, is the Final Four and that's real important that it's been held here at Charlotte." I said, "There's a point of interest there." I said, "Jeff Mullins is our coach. In 1964 Jeff participated as an athlete in the Final Four." And I said, " So I think we ought to look at that span of years, thirty years later." OK? "He's in Charlotte as a head coach. We want to make a play on that in some manner." And I do think that's an interesting little sideline, that here's somebody that played in it and, and quite an athlete himself and if we could put some focus on Jeff for this area for us to lure a Jeff Mullins into coaching. I don't know if you know his background.
PG: Not specifically.
JR: He owned a car dealership. OK?
PG: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
JR: Jeff had never coached.
PG: Huh.
JR: He played, was an All-American at Duke, was a gold medal Olympian, five-time NBA All-Star. Played for like ten or twelve years on the west coast. Jeff was attracted to it because he wanted to coach and wanted to work with people he thought. Like, at the time, I said he owned car dealership in Cary. So we took a big risk. I mean we took somebody--. We knew he was a great player, but I can tell you this: a great player does not necessarily make great coach. We've seen that. Jeff has done quite a job for us. He's considered one of the most credible, ethical people in the business. He's sort of like the white Popsicle man. Everybody sees him, you know, it's like, Oh, Mr. Ethics. That's what they think of when they think of Jeff Mullins, because of his background. I mean he's sort of like walks on water in the community. Very well respected nationally from his own playing experience, and he's been such a credit to our kids, advising them when they've gotten opportunities to play overseas. I mean Jeff takes a personal interest. He's brought these kids in and said, "All right. Now you are going to make this much money. Don't go over there and buy all this gold jewelry. Don't flash it. Don't do this. You put this much in the bank each year and this--. I mean he, he, he deals with them financially, he deals with them in every aspect of the game in their life. And that is so important because I think that as coaches and educators and administrators when we are dealing with the lives of young people, we have a responsibility. And Jeff takes that seriously, and I appreciate that in a coach. And I think that's important to maybe focus on him a little bit because of his varied background and having played at Duke
PG: Right.
JR: and come up through North Carolina. He didn't live in North Carolina; he's from Kentucky.
PG: Uh-hum. Well good. Well, again, thank you very much. This just has been--.
JR: Well, I'm sorry--.