Name: Kathy Mullane
Position: First female St. Mary's coach, Acting Athletics Director, Manager of Athletics Facilities and Programming.
Dates associated with Saint Mary's: 1973-2005
Scope and Content: Major topics: coaching; growth and changes in women's sports at St. Mary's; changing attitudes towards women in sports.
Interview conducted by Kathleen Lingley on July 2, 2003.
Transcription by Danielle Dungey, November 19 and 22, 2004.
KL- Full name?
KM- My full name is Kathleen Sharon Mullane.
KL- And when did you come to Saint Mary's?
KM- I started in August, I should say on August 1, 1973.
KL- How did you come to come to Saint Mary's?
KM- I was 25. I had taught three years of High school as a Phys. Ed. And in those days, when you taught Phys. Ed., you wanted to be the world's greatest coach. So when the opportunity came up at university to coach basketball and field hockey, I jumped at the chance. So, I was 25.
KL- And were you recruited by Bob Hayes?
KM- No actually. How I found out about the job was through Al Keith who was a football coach at the time. I was at a Sport Nova Scotia meeting, probably was president of Field Hockey Nova Scotia at the time, and Al Keith was there representing Football Nova Scotia. And he knew that I had…actually I had coached a junior varsity football, sorry, junior varsity field hockey, and he knew me from that. So he came over and told me that Saint Mary's were gonna hire a full-time coach. And so that's sort of how I found out about it. And then I applied and was interviewed by Bob Hayes and Owen Carrigan at the time, for the position.
KL- So you were a player of field hockey and basketball at Dalhousie, right?
KL- What was it like to come from there where there's a programme fully built up and you sort of had to come in and start it up over here?
KM- Well, there's different things. First of all, when you go to Dalhousie, you don't really like Saint Mary's, especially in those days- there was more of a rivalry in the male sports. So as a child, my brothers went to Saint Mary's; and I was a real Saint Mary's fan. And then I went to Dal, and I became a really big Dal fan and no longer a Saint Mary's. So, that was kind of the first thing: to get over this sense of going to another school. But because it was new, and it was women only, it was a women's programme, it was really exciting. So I kind of thought really that it was nothing to do with Dalhousie, it was an opportunity to come coach and do what I thought I'd really like and build a new programme. Now when I came, I was only asked, offered a job to coach basketball. And I was the one who pushed to coach field hockey as well because at that time, girls that, or women that went to university usually played both sports, and it was a recruiting thing to be able to play both. So even though I was hired to coach women's basketball, I asked if I could coach field hockey at same salary - I never got extra money for doing that, but that was my own doing. So, the funny thing though about the Dalhousie connection, when I was going to Bob Hayes who was the athletic director at the time and say, you know, "what am a supposed to do?" and "how do you fill in this form?" or "what's the process for this league?" or whatever, I got "well, that's why I hired you. You're supposed to figure it out." So what I would do is I called my old field hockey coach at Dalhousie, Dorothy Talbot who was still coaching at Dalhousie, and she would help me out and tell me what you should do in a certain situation. So there was really no animosity between me being a student at Dal, and playing for Dal, and then coming to Saint Mary's. In fact, I got a lot of help, particularly from Dorothy Talbot.
KL- Were there any other women's varsity teams at that time when you came?
KM- At Saint Mary's or…?
KL- At Saint Mary's.
KM- No, no. Because remember, Saint Mary's was an all-male school up till, I believe, 1968/69. So when they started to take women students, which I believe could have been '69, there were a number of teams in the junior varsity league. At that time, you had your varsity league and junior varsity. And a lot of schools like Dalhousie would have had their best players playing varsity and the other next best twenty would be junior varsity. So Saint Mary's had teams in the junior varsity league before I actually started, was hired in '73. And they had played basketball and field hockey. And I actually coached field hockey in the fall of '72 at the junior varsity level. Okay. But when I came in the idea was that they were gonna hire a full-time coach and that we would begin to compete at the varsity level. So what happened at that time…so I was hired in the fall of '73, and I went to the meetings at the time with a Maritime Women's Inter-Collegiate [?] Association, I believe, which is now the AUS which combined the men's and women's association, but at that time there was just the…the men had their association to organise their sports and the women had their own. So at that meeting, we had to, Saint Mary's had to apply for varsity status. And what happened, it was agreed that we would go junior varsity for one year, so '73/74 we still competed at junior varsity league, and depending on how we did, it would determine whether we would be accepted into the varsity level. And we did well enough in our first year to say that we would be competitive- and we were competitive in the first year of varsity, '74/75.
KL- When did the women's varsity programme begin to expand to include other sports?
KM- That's a good question. Now for the first ten years, from '74 probably to '84, the emphasis was on field hockey and basketball. We always had a women's soccer team as a club team and then at some point in the eighties, they became varsity. In '89, we put a women's volleyball into a club league, and I believe around the 1990s, our volleyball team entered in the varsity volleyball league. So that would give us field hockey, basketball, volleyball, soccer and now we have women's rugby, which was just three years ago, and women's ice hockey three years ago, and track and field has been off and on for last twenty years.
KL- What was it like to be the first female coach at Saint Mary's?
KM- It was an experience for many reasons. One, I came in, in 1973. In the spring of '72/73, the men's basketball coach had just won the national championship. In the fall of '73, the football team won the Vanier Cup, which was the national championship and the hockey team lost in the, if it wasn't the semi-finals, the finals against UofT. So it was an expectation that we would, that we needed to be competitive. And so it was pretty exciting to come into such a winning attitude. But for me, one of the difficult things was to know that to be competitive you had to recruit. So a big part of coaching today and even then, was to go out and try to encourage the best athletes to come to Saint Mary's. And Saint Mary's was the first teamed school to really actively recruit students, so that's why they were so successful in the seventies. And by the end of the seventies, all other schools were more actively involved in recruiting. So for me, I had to go out and try to bring in some of the best athletes across Canada and that was difficult because I probably hadn't thought that widely before. Like I knew that I'd coached in High school and won in the provincial championships, but it was based on the kids that were at my school not who I recruited. So I had taught at St. Pat's and at J.L. Ilsley previously, so I recruited a lot of the players from there, and that made us competitive at the AUA, which, or the AUS. And then, to be competitive nationally, we really had to go out and recruit students from outside the Maritimes.
KL- Certainly different, eh?
KM- Yeah, and it was different. And I had…was being encouraged by the athletic director at the time, Bob Hayes, he…it was hard for me to understand, he used to say, "it's not how well you coach, it's how well you recruit." And you don't realise that because you think you win because of you and then you realise as you coach, it's a combination: that if you don't have the athletes, it doesn't matter how good a coach you are. They might win one or two games, but they're not gonna win consistently. So you do have to go out and get the best athletes, which is what Blake Nill's doing right now to make our football team so successful. I mean he's really amazing. What he's able to do…so…And that's the thing that coaches often find the most difficult and the hardest part of the job is that you're always selling and you're always trying to recruit kids. And your success is somewhat dependent on how well you do. So…and many reasons people stop coaching is because of not liking the recruiting. But we had actually Nancy Knowlton, who just received an honorary degree from Saint Mary's, played basketball for us in '74 and had trained with the Canadian Squad. And she really kind of opened my eyes and the eyes of the other girls on the team to what you could do and how much better you could be at basketball. And instead of thinking locally, you needed to think much broader. And over the years, we've had some national team players come to play at Saint Mary's: Carol Turney? being one who would have been ranked the best basketball player in Canada; Donna Holman? played in the Olympics; Darlene Stoika? played for Canada in field hockey. And when those people played for us, we were competitive at the national level.
KL- What would you say were some of the challenges or highlights of your coaching career at Saint Mary's?
KM- Oh right off the bat, probably the most…my highlight was winning the field hockey championship in the AUS Field Hockey Championship in 19…I think it's '78. Because we had such a great group of players, so not only was it fun and rewarding because we won the Atlantic University Sport, but we're all still friends today. There would about be about fifteen, like we still see each other, we still get together. If somebody comes out of town and played on that team, we will all get together and reminisce and socialize. So that would be one of the highlights. And in that story we actually went from winning the Atlantic University Sport Championship to compete at the CIAUs and had the rules of field hockey not been so strict, which they were at the time, we probably could have won nationally. But at that time, when you played field hockey, there was a rule called sticks: when you swung the stick, you couldn't have the stick above your shoulder. And we had a girl that could score on penalty [corners], and it was very controlled and wonderful but every time she'd lift her stick, she'd cock her wrist to put more power, and they would call the goals back. And we could have won the national championship- which I would say is the closest that we've come, in the thirty years, to winning one, and so that would be since we've been varsity.
And that leads to another interesting story. When we had Carol Turney and Donna Holman who played on the national team…they actually had played for the Olympic team in '76, so they were training here with Brian Heaney?, as the coach of the national team. And Brian had been a Saint Mary's coach who took a leave of absence. So they liked Halifax and they stayed and they played for Saint Mary's. And that year we won the AUS title, and then we went to the national championships, and we didn't do as well as we would have liked. You know, in hindsight, maybe a few things done differently, we could have won. But at that time, a gentleman named Jack Grey was very supportive and really interested in women's athletics, and he gave a package to the athletic director to open when we won a national championship. And I don't know where the package is now. It had been in the President's office at one point. I'm sure it's long gone because that would be twenty-five years ago, and we've never ever won a national championship. And that's kind of always sort of been something I've always thought, wouldn't it be nice if we won and Mr. Grey who gave us that gift could come and either tell us what the gift was or, you know, make a fuss about it. So it would be nice if we did.
KL- That would be neat.
KL- Do you have any sort of stories or fond memories of athletes that played on your teams or gone through the programme at Saint Mary's?
KM- Well, certainly I do…but Nancy Knowlton I mentioned earlier, she just got an honorary degree from Saint Mary's, and she and her husband have a company that produces Smart Boards, and they have revenues of over a hundred million dollars, so that's pretty impressive. But what was really neat for me, she came to visit before the ceremony and she was the exact same. It didn't really change her. Here she's, her company's making many, many millions and she was still the same person and went out of her way to come visit. That's a good one. I mean any…the team that played field hockey in '78 won the national champ…I mean the Atlantic University Sport and then we went to the CIAUs. We raised money, and I was selling chocolate bars, and I ate a lot of chocolate bars, and we flew to England. And we went on a two-week tour of England playing field hockey. And that was really exciting, and that's something that I'll, that I always remember. We went on Freddy Laker, which probably doesn't mean anything to you, but that was the first kind of discount, cheap flight that was introduced in the world and it happened to fly into Halifax. So we got to travel to England for 229 dollars a person, which even in the seventies, was a really good price. So I think fourteen of us went. We had no idea where we were staying when we got over there for the first three days. We got out of the airport, went to Victoria Station, I picked up a van that we had for the two weeks. And it was obviously on the wrong side of the road, and it was a standard, and to learn…we picked it up on a Friday at noon in the middle of London and traffic was pretty scary for some of the kids. And then we travelled all over England and Scotland and being billeted by teams we played. And that was a wonderful experience. That's a good memory. And those are those…the same group that I still keep in touch with. And then there are many others. Susan Baisley and Kim Robson were really my first two recruits when I started in '73, so they came…I had played field hockey with them on the Nova Scotia team, and they were both in high school just going to university- well Susan was, Kim had already been at the Mount. So they came to Saint Mary's and played field hockey and basketball. They're still friends of mine today.
KL- That's neat.
KL-How would you say that women's sport has sort of changed and expanded since when you first came?
KM- Well, the camps would be one indication. When we first started, you would never have an all-girl camp because there just wasn't the number of girls to come start in the seventies. Now Joe, our basketball coach, runs three to four weeks of camps which are all female, so that just shows the number of people that are playing in basketball. The other thing that I notice and I always get such a kick out of is if I'm walking down the street and I see a little girl walking along bouncing a basketball or kicking a soccer ball. Well, you would never have seen that in the early seventies. And the other thing that's changed is when I played in university and finished, which I would have been 22, it was sort of like you didn't play after that- that's it, you were done. So I was still playing basketball when I was 27/28, and people would, or field hockey, people would say, "are you still playing?", as if there was something weird. Now, if I was fifty and still playing field hockey or basketball, nobody would question it- they'd just say, "isn't that great". So I think that's changed. So there's a change in the number of people playing, the commitment to the girls to be good, the fact that there's leagues in more sports to keep playing as long as you want, and there are more teams to aspire to at the national level. So all those things have helped. And of course, like you've got women's professional soccer, professional basketball on tv., so there's a lot more role models.
KL- How do you think women's sport at Saint Mary's has changed to reflect the wider changes?
KM- Well, the fact that we've gone from two teams to, I believe, six teams is one thing to show because we've not always had the money to it, but because the demand was there, we've had to offer those. So that's one thing. The level of our facilities has improved: The Tower is wonderful to help recruit students to come and participate. The other change that has, I've seen, and I'm not sure if this fits in this question or the last, is that when I coached, every girl that played on the team really wanted to take Phys. Ed., which put us at Saint Mary's at quite a disadvantage. Like as well as recruit them and convince them they wanted to come to Saint Mary's, you had to convince them that they didn't want to take Phys. Ed., which was difficult when I had a Phys. Ed. Degree. But now I don't see that same trend. A lot of the women that play in sports across the country are taking business, physiotherapy, arts, science, and not having a Phys. Ed. Programme is not as big a drawback for us as it once was.
KL- Do you think the pressures on student athletes has changed? Like in terms of schoolwork and having money and that sort of thing.
KM- No, I think that they were…probably yes, I changed my mind because when I coached in the seventies, players didn't have part-time jobs. And now, there is a trend for students to have part-time jobs, and it's a little more difficult to make sure that they can be at all practices and all games. But in the last couple years, the fact that they put in that you can give athletic awards without…I mean and being proud of giving them has helped, so that you can help students financially, so they don't have to work. But again, you can't…I mean it'd be fine if we had enough money to help everyone, but we just don't have the unlimited resources. But…and they practice more. When I coached, you might practice three days a week and play four or five…play one or two days a week. Now if you're a student, you start in September and you're expected to practice or play seven days a week. So that's a little bit more commitment that way.
KL- Going back to, you mentioned kid's camps, when did those start?
KM- Well, they started I believe, in the sixties with Bob Hayes who started a football camp. And then I actually worked at a basketball camp at Saint Mary's, when I was still a High school Phys. Ed. Teacher. And so at that point, basketball had been introduced, so there was football, then hockey and basketball in the early seventies. And then as our teams expanded, so had our camps. So now we offer hockey, basketball, football, volleyball and soccer. And women's ice hockey actually. Yeah, we do a week of that.
KL- I used to come to the basketball camps when I was little.
KM- Did you?
KL- Yeah. Do you find that some of the girls or boys actually who go to the camps come to Saint Mary's whether on play or just as a student?
KM- Well, we're hoping that's one of the outcomes. We've never ever followed or gone back to look at what percentage of children that come to camp would end up coming to Saint Mary's. But we do think it plays a role in making them comfortable being on campus, identifying with the university. So that is one of the roles of our camps. Obviously the biggest role is to teach the basic skills to children, but it also provides a summer job for the athletes.
KL- Great. Just looking at my questions here…got out of order.
KM- Yeah, I probably didn't help because I'll go off on all sorts of tangents.
KL- Oh no, that's good- makes me think up more questions…[there was] another thing. Do you think women who aren't varsity athletes, are they involved in sport on campus, like students, Saint Mary's [?] students?
KM- I think that's a really difficult thing to involve the students. I was responsible for the intramural programme in the early, late eighties/early nineties, and one of the difficult things was to try to get more female students involved. Now in the nineties, the way to do it was to make it social because most of the female students that come to Saint Mary's…because we don't have Phys. Ed., and we don't have physiotherapy, and we don't have kinesiology, we don't have a lot of skilled athletes, and the ones who are skilled are playing varsity, so they're not actually supposed to participate in intramurals. So in the nineties, to encourage girls to come out, we tried to make it more social. And we would do…we would involve the women more in co-ed sports, like co-ed softball, volleyball, particularly broomball were really popular. And then the other thing that worked really well in the nineties, and I'm pushing to have introduced again, is we used to run a women's touch football league. And we had certain players from the varsity team to come out and coach them and teach them the rules. And we were actually on tv a couple of times- good for coverage because we got such a good response. And that was a very, very popular league. So the way we encouraged girls to become involved was to make it more social and a chance to meet people, and maybe to teach them while they were playing. And things like football because everybody would be just starting, was fun because it didn't matter if you would play basketball or soccer, you would still have an opportunity to be good. And now, Sandra Jamieson runs the intramural programme, and she's good because she brings another perspective cause my background is sports and jock (jock-y things), hers is more fitness and participation, so she's even introduced more things like ultimate Frisbee contests and things that the girls can become involve in without as much skill.
KL- I was gonna ask you, what are favourite aspects of coaching, either at Saint Mary's or in general?
KM- Probably our…to see kids come to Saint Mary's and being responsible for bringing them here and to see that they grew and got educated and became better athletes and that it was a good experience for them. Because when you first start you know that you're influencing a person to come to a certain place, there's always this concern that, will it be the best match? Will it be the right thing for them? And it's say over the fifteen years that I coached, there'd maybe be one or two that maybe would have been better had they not come here, but overall, I think they've had an excellent experience. And that's a pleasure to see that they've grown through playing. They've grown because they've got a degree, and the friendships they've formed, and still have fun with their days here. And then ones that I still keep in touch with: like it's really neat every now and again to get an email from someone that you haven't seen or heard from for an number [of] years.
KL- How do you think your role has changed at Saint Mary's since you're not coaching now and you've gone on to new things?
KM- I…well, there's different things. I really enjoyed the challenge of setting up the intramural programme because prior to the opening of The Tower, which is when I started to do the intramural programme, intramurals were run by the different coaches: so the football coach ran all the intramurals that were on the field, the hockey coach ran the intramurals on the ice, and the basketball coach ran the intramurals in the gymnasium. So I think by putting one person in charge of them and hiring students to run it, that was to me a very, very good experience. It certainly was a lot like coaching because you had these students that you were training and you were getting to know, and they were running these programmes and doing a great job at. So I think I liked that I was still working with students, but it was a different arrangement. I was actually paying them because they were being intramural co-ordinators. So I didn't mind the step from going from coaching to Co-ordinator of Campus Recreation because I still maintained contact with the students. And then when I became Manager of Facilities and Programmes, I kept in the university and I was in contact with students. And I took over running the, promoting the squash court area, so I met a lot of students that I talked to and encouraged to play squash. So I didn't mind the change from coaching to Campus Recreation and then to, now to the Manager of Facilities because as I said to you before we started the interview, I've been lucky. Even though I've been here for thirty years, I've done something different, like maybe every ten years, I could all…a different thing that I'm responsible for and that I learn, so you don't get very stagnant. And then in the last three years, I was really lucky to work very closely with Larry Utech because Larry was ill with ALS, so I got very much involved with athletics again by helping him. So that was an interesting experience.
KL- Do you have any fond memories of your fellow staff, like Bob Hayes or Larry Uteck or anyone else that you worked with?
KM- Well, if…you mentioned the names Bob Hayes and Larry Uteck, they're both real characters, so you'd have to [have] many memories. I have lots of memories of Larry in the last three years cause I helped him so much. And even now, when I think of him, I just can think of his bright eyes because here he was in a wheelchair totally unable to do anything for himself, and always, you could see that he was thinking, what can I do to help Saint Mary's? What can I do to make the football team better? What can I do to make this programme better? So that's something that I always associate with Larry and with Bob Hayes: the love of Saint Mary's and the fact that they want always to make Saint Mary's and athletics better. So certainly, they are two people that stick out in mind. And then over the years, Brian Heeney coaching the basketball team. And now I see him on tv. And Al Keefe who coached football, Bob, yes, and Bob Boucher, they were all my friends when I first came here, and they were really helpful in taking in a new coach and sort of helping show you what you had to do to win. They also showed me a little different social lifestyle than I was used to. That…I think that in the seventies, it was a lot more alcohol, a lot more lunches with going to the Midtown. And even the students, like the students would come and drink with the coaches. The faculty and the staff, everybody used to hang out together, so it was a different atmosphere. You would not see that today, like in the nineties. And then that would another memory, would be the Lighthouse Tavern, which was down at the bottom of Inglis and Barrington, was a place where everybody from Saint Mary's that wanted to go out and socialise would hang out. So you'd have the President, no probably not the President, the Vice President, lots of senior administrators…
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KM- And have beer chugging contests and the students would participate. Everybody…and actually there's a girl that used to always win it. And so that's stuff that you would never do. And it would be held on campus. It would be it the room in Loyola, in the theatre-style room. They would have, the students would have a chugging contest there. And even in orientation, they would have tequila tosses. I mean, it was just a different environment then. And like every Friday night, there'd be a bash in the gym, and the line-ups would be huge and for the kids to try to get in. So yeah…there were lots of memories, and they certainly were fun.
KL- Sounds like it.
KL- What was it like to be inducted in Saint Mary's Hall of Fame?
KM- Well, that was fun too. Because there were so few women, Elizabeth Chard was the first one to be inducted and then I was the second one; I enjoyed it. I think probably maybe before I went in, there should have been some female athletes, but that was changed last year: Diane Chaisson was inducted. But we do need to get more female athletes involved. But with the Hall of Fame committee, it…with the Hall of Fame, and this applies to both men and women, you need the…people have to be nominated to be considered, so we have to encourage more women to nominate more women athletes, so we start to get more people in to the Hall. But yeah, it is kind of nice to go in to The Tower and look at all the people on the wall and realise that I'm one of that group. Yeah, that's neat.
KL- What are people's reactions when they see the Hall of Fame, visitors?
KM- Oh, people are very, very positive. And over the years, when athletes come back, and you take them on a little walk and show them, they think it's very, very impressive and all the pictures bring back memories as well. And so there's a combination of the fact they're very impressed with how professional it is, but then the memories that, when they look at the different people in the pictures or on some of the pictures that we have on the wall, it's kind of nice. It's very good.
KL- You mentioned a bit about The Tower before, but how do you think that's impacted sports at Saint Mary's?
KM- Oh, that's had a big impact. I'm just trying to think of the right word. For recruiting, it's amazing how much easier it is to recruit if you have a facility to show like the Tower. The gymnasium used to be where the current computer labs are under…in the main building. So to take an athlete to show them your facilities, you'd have to walk them down this dingy steps into this gymnasium under the church. And if there was something going on in the church, we weren't allowed to use the gym. But really, the facilities are very helpful for recruiting: the locker rooms, the weight room, the gymnasium itself, everything has really been positive in terms of recruiting athletes. And then as well as recruiting them, training them. We didn't even have a weight room when I started, but then neither did other universities. It was probably in the mid-seventies that people started doing, to bring in and set up weight rooms.
KL- Just going back to your coaching days a bit, did you have a motto or values or anything that you tried to instil in your athletes?
KM- Oh, I was very competitive- I hated to lose. So…I think we went in with the idea that we wanted to win. I'm not a believer that if you play your best that's okay. I do believe that, but I still think you have to set out to win and that the main idea of competing is to win a game. So I think that I tried to encourage people to win and to succeed and not to say, I tried my hardest that's okay. So, it seems a long time ago since I coached. I also was always pleased with the students that would go out and practice on their own and work at it on their own. So if you wanted to encourage people that they had to do more than just attend practices, when you would see the results of the students that worked on it on their own, that was always positive too. I think I would also say that I liked to stress that everybody was part of the team: all of the [unclear] and [unclear].
KL- [I guess] I wanted to [unclear] about the cheerleading team that you inspired.
KM- I didn't really…
KL- That's what it says in the [article].
KM- I'd have to read that…I know how I inspired it. What happened, to be honest, Pat Worsley[?] was going to be a student at Saint Mary's and wanted, I think her father had played football with Bob Hayes, so when Pat Worsley was coming down to have a look at Saint Mary's, I was asked to take her around. So when we were walking around, I'm introducing her to people, she told me that she would like to be a cheerleader and had been a cheerleader and was interested in getting involved. So, if I was involved that would probably be more through her than through me. That's funny because I've never been a fan of cheerleaders. I've always thought that girls…I would prefer them to be involved in the sport themselves than to be cheering at another sport. So I never ever realised that that was written in there. I don't think it's really accurate. I'd say it was more Pat Worsley. Now there had been some there before, but she would have been the person that really pushed and wanted to have cheerleaders and probably worked with Brian Heeney.
KL- Interesting. [You can] look at that if you like, [there's] some pictures [inaudible]…
KM- So this is our first team…Ashley Simpson was just in town visiting and dropped by to see me. These were the two girls, Susan and Kim, that I mentioned. And all these girls, one, two, three, had played for me in high school. That's kind of neat. And this was Nancy Tolkerick who ending up coaching Dalhousie but must have been watching her sister play. I remember that: the crazy kids wanting to do that. And the uniforms.
KL- Oh! What's the [inaudible] change in women's basketball? When sort of the uniforms…the rules, did you play under the women's rules at all?
KM- No, not at Saint Mary's. By the time Saint Mary's introduced basketball, we were playing full men's rules. I, my last year in high school, which was 1966, was the last year that what we call girl's rules were played. When I went to university in '66 was the first fall that everybody played men's basketball- that's when it was changed. But now you would never see girls wearing these tunics. Now these tunics we had specially made and that was what people wore in those days. And then the…when we first started, we weren't called…we were the Huskies. We were unique: that we weren't the Huskiettes. But somewhere in the first or second year, someone suggested we become the "Belles of Saint Mary's". And so I'd say, it might have even been this game, I walked in the gym, and they're playing this song for the warm-up, and it was Bing Crosby singing the "Bells of Saint Mary's". And I could hear all these jingle bells. And they had bells tied in their shoes. So that was kind of the humourous things. We were never really called the Belles very much until the field hockey team of '78 when Joannie Sully played for us, and Joannie liked the name, the "Belles", so we kind of became the Belles for that year and a couple years after. And then probably in the eighties, we went back to being the Huskies. See and these people are all still friends today, of each other and of mine. So it's kind of neat.
KL- So do you find that the women who come to Saint Mary's now, do they still play field hockey and basketball or have they branched off into…
KM- Actually, it's almost come full-circle. For a while there, you weren't able to play both. You had to make a commitment cause the seasons all start so early. But now we found, in the last couple years, sometimes we can recruit some of the better athletes by giving them the opportunity to play two sports. So on women's ice hockey, Sarah White who was the rookie of the year, actually I think in women's hockey and women's field hockey, choose Saint Mary's because she was able to play on both sports. So sometimes now that's a method to recruit that other schools don't have because not every school will let them do that. This is fun to look through these.
KL- It sort of jogs your memory.
KM-Yeah, but I have to say that needs to be corrected. I was not an inspirer of field hock…of cheerleading.
KL- So, I've asked all my questions, do you have anything that you wanted to share that I didn't ask you about?
KM- Well by just looking at some of the pictures reminds you of some of the things, like the Belles, that was always a fun story. And some of the people I haven't seen or thought about for a while…[?]…so this year was '74/75. So this was the first year we were varsity. And you can see we finished third in the league. Which was really pretty impressive for our first year in the varsity league.
KL- Hey, when did you stop wearing the tunics?
KM- Never when I coached. Always when I coached…no, I'm wrong. We stopped wearing the tunics probably in the next year: '75/76. We switched to tops and bottoms: shorts and tops.
KL- You look like.
KM- Well that's right. And as a Phys. Ed…these were tennis uniforms that the other team has on. And even as a Phys., as a teacher, that's what I would wear to coach them. And probably by the mid-seventies, everybody start wearing sweats- even the coach. So yeah, this was the first year of competition, and we finished third, which was really pretty exciting. No, I had a great, a good time over the thirty years, I can't believe it's thirty years. And as I said probably, the reason I've enjoyed it is that I've done something different probably every ten years.
KL- Great. Well, I guess I'll turn this off then.
KM- Debbie Worthford. And we did have a women's ice hockey team, which people didn't realise in '74/75. And it was a club team. And Debbie Worthford had a lot to do with organising it. And Debbie was also the secretary in the Department of Athletics and Recreation. And she did everything at that time. She ran the sports information, she did all our brochures, all our publications. She was the secretary for all the departments. And she was a pretty amazing person. Yeah, so it's kind of fun…so for people who think that we just started women's hockey, we did have a team in the seventies. I guess that's really the only other thing that I would add.
KL- I'll just turn that off then.
Tape stops- end of interview.