Full Court Press: Season Life Winning Basketball Team Women Who Made It Happenby Lauren Kessler
Judy Runge, a young and ambitious basketball coach, arrived at the University of Oregon in 1993 and discovered a team--the Oregon Ducks--demoralized by its worst season in almost two decades and ignored and underfunded in a male-dominated athletic department. Fighting a legal battle with the administration for equal funding and support, Runge taught the players the importance of self-esteem and commitment, instilling in them a thirst for winning. In the course of a year, she changed university policy, raised the team’s motivation and morale, and exceeded all expectations but her own by leading the Ducks to a victorious season. Full Court Press is a poignant, entertaining, exuberant look at a sport that is capturing the American imagination and a moving profile of women who have learned to shatter barriers and win against the odds.
- Praise from Barbara Ehrenreich, Mary Pipher, Donna Lopiano, and excellent media reviews.
- The popularity of women’s basketball has exploded, especially after the American women’s Gold sweep at the 1996 Olympics.
- Publishing coincides with the WNBA championships.
In her eighth book, Kessler (Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese-American Family, 1993, etc.) writes, "The inherent drama of athletic competition is that somebody always wins and somebody always loses." The drama that serves as the focal point of her book, however, appears to have less to do with players' wins and losses on the hardwood court than with a coach's battles before the civil court. An up-and-coming coach on the assistant level, Jody Runge leapt at the chance to take over in 1993 as head coach for the University of Oregon Ducks. When she arrived, she was welcomed by a team that had enjoyed little success but appeared ready and willing to improve. The problem was that the university athletic department accorded to women's basketball (a non-revenue producing sport), and to women's sports in general, facilities and funding that were a significant step down from those of such prominent and profitable sports as football and men's basketball, especially where coaching-staff compensation was concerned. Runge knew that these and other inequities were violations of Title IX. So she hired a prominent sports lawyer in hopes of strong-arming the school into giving her and the team equal standinga status well earned as Runge led the Ducks to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. Nominally a story about women's basketball, one of the fastest-growing sports in America, this book generally centers on the efforts to correct common misperceptions about women and athletics.
While many big-time college sports powers' athletic directors are slow in accepting it, both Kessler and Runge make a strong case that athletes are athletes, regardless of gender.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.26(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.86(d)
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Meet the Author
Lauren Kessler is the author of nine books, among them Stubborn Twig, which received the Frances Fuller Victor Award for the year's best work of literary nonfiction. She directs the grad-uate program in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where she lives with her husband and three children.
From the Hardcover edition.
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