The Opportunity to Do the Things We Love
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX
By Robin L. Flanigan
Vol. 74, No. 4
The youngest of nine, Jody Lavin Patrick often played basketball with her brothers. She joined her first basketball team in elementary school, then tried out for the boys’ team as a high school freshman because there was no other option. She made the first cut before administrators announced that they would, in fact, form a team for girls.
Two years later, she watched the first women’s U.S. Olympic basketball team practice at Rochester—on the same court that would later be instrumental in a journey that would also take her to the Rochester Athletic Hall of Fame.
“I had a chance to see that the University cared about women’s sports, and to me, that was a pretty big statement,” says Patrick, named NCAA Division III Player of the Year in 1982 and a former CoSIDA Academic All-American. She’s now the physical education teacher and head coach of girls’ varsity basketball at the private Flint Hill School in Oakton, Va.
When Patrick arrived at Rochester in 1978, she found the supportive athletic department she’d been anticipating. The shooting guard and three-year captain scored 2,000 points for the women’s basketball team—landing herself among the nation’s leaders in scoring as a senior—and set 14 school records.
“To be a healthy student, I needed to be a healthy athlete,” says Patrick, who still plays basketball informally with several women from church. “The sport helped form my thinking when it came to organization, time management, and forging friendships. I just felt good about myself.” And she’s proud that her son and daughter have discovered the same positive effects as college-level athletes.
Patrick’s career highlights include serving on the USA Basketball Development System and being tapped in 2004 as one of eight coaches to participate in the USA Basketball Women’s Youth Development Festival. These days, she works as a TV and radio analyst, and as sports director of a summer camp at her current school.
She talks often with her female athletes about the importance of Title IX, and asks them to share their own research on the legislation.
“I coach with a passion, with a fire, because I want the girls to understand that when you really want something, you have to go after it,” she says. “We have to honor the women who came before us.”