Athletics to honor Huskie legends at football games to celebrate Title IX’s 40th anniversary

Connie Teaberry
Connie Teaberry

Northern Illinois Athletics will recognize its proud tradition of women’s athletics at every home football game this season to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark federal legislation that provided women with unprecedented opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics.

At each game, NIU will honor some of the women who have made a significant contribution to the school, in competition or as coaches and administrators.

Title IX is historic legislation that has had a huge impact across our country, and that impact is felt throughout NIU Athletics,” said Jeff Compher, NIU associate vice president and director of Athletics.

“The 40th anniversary of Title IX provides us with an opportunity to highlight some of the tremendous women who have contributed so much to our athletics program,” Compher added. “By introducing just a few of the many women who have helped create the history of NIU Athletics through our Huskie Legends series at home football games, we are able to recognize this important anniversary in a unique and exciting way.”

Former U.S. Olympian Connie Teaberry, director of NIU Track & Field and Cross Country, will be the first honoree when she is recognized at Saturday’s game against UT Martin.

Entering her ninth season at the helm of the Northern Illinois track & field program, Teaberry has helped the Huskies break 48 school records and coached six MAC champions and 15 NCAA regional qualifiers.

In 2011-12, Northern Illinois broke 24 school records, captured four MAC individual titles, sent four entries to the NCAA West Preliminary Round and set school records for most team points scored at the MAC indoor and outdoor championships.

Jean Pankonin will be honored during the Sept. 22 game vs. Kansas.

Pankonin played six different sports – badminton, basketball, field hockey, softball, tennis and volleyball – for the Huskies between 1957-61 and was one of Northern’s four women charter inductees into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986.

Title IX was passed in 1972 to give women equal opportunities in education and all programs that received federal funding. Since its passage 40 years ago, nearly 200,000 women play in collegiate athletics in the United States today.

NIU is finalizing its list of female Huskie Legends to be honored at the four remaining home games. The Huskie Legends are presented on the field between the first and second quarter.

For more information on Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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