Special Collections Graphic Image Women's Sports @R-MC: The Early Years

Randolph-Macon College admitted its first co-educational class of 50 young women in 1971. In addition to academics, the women sought to be involved in athletic activities.  R-MC women currently compete in 8 intercollegiate varsity sports:  Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, and Swimming. Numerous other young women participate in Cheerleading, on the Dance Team, and on a variety of intramural teams.

But It Didn't Come Easy...

It wasn’t until the fall of 1977 that the women had their own locker room. [Listen* to the first Women's Athletic Director, Rachel Anderson, talk about this.] A letter to the editor in the April 27, 1978 edition of the Yellow Jacket is entitled “YJ Ignores Women’s Sports,” and very little space on the sports pages at the time is devoted to reporting on the women's teams. Women’s sports did not receive comparable funding. College documents outlining sports budgets in the 1970s show that a coach of 3 women's teams earned less than a part-time assistant coach of a men’s team. Recruiting and equipment support for the early women’s teams was also significantly lower, and women's teams didn't receive equitable treatment for many years. Financial and other support for women’s sports has improved significantly over the years, due in part to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Find out more about Title IX and what it has meant for female college athletes. [Listen* to Coaches LaHaye and Anderson discuss TitleIX and hear* Coach Anderson's praise for the College's support of athletics.]

View a slideshow of the early teams.



The first official women’s team to be established was the tennis team in 1972, coached by Rachel Anderson, the Women’s Athletic Director. The Yellow Jacket Weekly in 1972 includes only two brief articles on this historic team. Listen to Coach Anderson* talk about the early years.



Although tennis was the first official women’s sport at R-MC, the college unofficially fielded a women’s basketball team in the early 1930s, organized by Dorothy Jones, a female day student from Ashland. Read more about it.

Women’s basketball returned to the R-MC campus with the formation of a club team in the winter of 1976. In 1977-1978, women’s basketball became a varsity sport, finishing its first season with an 11-6 record. In 1980-1981, Coach Carroll LaHaye joined the team as a volunteer assistant coach, beginning her remarkable career at R-MC. Listen to Coach LaHaye discuss being hired* as the permanent coach...of 3 teams!

View our online exhibit: Women’s Basketball @R-MC



Although women’s volleyball was expected to become a varsity sport in 1977-1978 and even was scheduled to play other colleges, the team never made it past the advanced intramural level in 1976-1977. Eventually women’s volleyball took off, and women’s volleyball finally became a varsity sport in the 1995-1996 school year.

field hockey


The field hockey team moved from club status in 1977-1978 to a varsity intercollegiate team with the 1978-1979 school year. By its third season, the team made the state playoffs.




Beginning as a club team in 1979-1980, lacrosse moved to varsity status the following year. In its second varsity season in the 1981-1982 school year, this team became the first R-MC women’s team to compete at the national level, placing a respectable fifth in the national tournament.



The women’s soccer club made a very public debut in March 1979, playing during half-time at a game between the Washington Diplomats and the Atlanta Chiefs, two now-defunct professional soccer teams. It wasn’t until 1981-1982 that this team achieved varsity status.



Starting as a club team in 1997-1998, the softball team became a varsity team the following year.



Introduced in 1999-2000, this women’s team finished its second season in third place in the ODAC.


*Audio clips from an oral history interview with Rachel Anderson and Carroll LaHaye, part of the Macon Memories Oral History Project. Listen to the entire interview (approx. 40 minutes).

Project curated by Laurie Preston. Project content compiled by Ashley Hampton '10 and Laurie Preston from the Yellow Jacket Annual, Yellow Jacket Weekly, and other materials from the Randolph-Macon College Archives.

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