Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Patricia A. Lowry, PhD, Director; Wallace F. Cohen, EdD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


athletic programs, community colleges, higher education, history, intercollegiate athletics, Leadership studies, oral histories, San Diego (California), women


There has been a significant increase in the number of American women in athletics in colleges and universities during the twentieth century. The purpose of this research was to identify and trace the historical development of the women's athletic programs at community colleges in San Diego County from 1955-1972. This study was also designed to identify the leaders and the leadership abilities which enabled these women to develop successful women's athletic programs. The research design used was the historical method. Three types of historical sources were utilized: documents, quantitative records and oral histories. Thirteen oral interviews were conducted and taped. The subjects of these interviews were teachers, coaches, physical education directors and athletic directors who had initiated, encouraged and developed women's athletic programs at community colleges in San Diego County until the passage of Title IX in 1972. Analysis of the data revealed four developmental periods that occurred during the establishment of the women's athletic programs at the six community colleges. The periods were identified as the Informal Period, the Structural Period, the Formal Period and the Realization Period. Although five of the six colleges exhibited all four of these periods, the order of occurrence of the developmental periods varied at each institution. One of the college programs studied experienced only one of the developmental periods due to the fact that no athletic teams were established. The research showed that women's athletic programs were established and developed where there were strong women leaders present. These women leaders also exhibited Bennis' five leadership qualities which include vision, communication, persistence and focus, empowerment and rearrangement of key personnel. Despite experiencing many cultural and social restraints in their own personal backgrounds toward participation in athletics and in spite of the resistance they encountered from their own administration and men's athletic faculties, the women leaders in this study were able to persevere and create women's athletic programs where none previously had existed.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access