Feb. 19, 2013
Note: Anne McCloskey will be honored on Saturday, February 23, prior to the Loyola women's lacrosse game versus Penn State. A ceremony will take place in the third-floor lobby of Ridley Athletic Complex (accessible from the west-side of the concourse level), beginning at 10:45 a.m.
BALTIMORE - In August of 1976, Loyola University Maryland hired a woman who not only turned three programs around, but also fostered the growth and development of athletic opportunities for both men and women in various sports. She coached field hockey, basketball and lacrosse, and was an assistant athletic director with various administrative responsibilities.
Prior to arriving at Loyola, Anne McCloskey was the athletic director, varsity and JV coach for field hockey, basketball and lacrosse at Maryvale Preparatory School in suburban Baltimore where she was also a physical education teacher. McCloskey was a strong advocate for implementation of Title IX and carried this enthusiasm for equality in sports to her position at Loyola.
McCloskey served Loyola as the field hockey coach for three years, basketball coach for five, and lacrosse for ten seasons. In her career as a lacrosse coach for the Greyhounds, she compiled a 103-43-4 record from 1977 -1986. In 1983 and 1984, McCloskey led her teams to the NCAA Division I Championships, a first for any Loyola team, men or women's. The team enjoyed national rankings in the Top Ten for several years. As a basketball coach from 1976-81, she guided the Greyhounds to four consecutive winning seasons.
McCloskey believes her biggest accomplishment with Loyola athletics was "elevating the women's sport teams, specifically lacrosse to the top 10 at the national Division I level." This feat was remarkable considering Loyola was competing against bigger universities that had significantly larger budgets, more staff and many more scholarships.
While McCloskey's accomplishments as a women's coach were significant, her impact on the school at large was felt by her commitment to enhancing and developing opportunities for women. She wanted to increase participation for women in athletics and provide equal treatment. Along with that goal, she wanted the community to develop an interest in women's athletics.
Upon her arrival, McCloskey did not realize just how much work needed to be done to reach this goal. In 1976, equality between men's and women's athletics was unbalanced. Loyola was under-equipped to support both men's and women's athletic programs. Facilities were inadequate, causing problems with scheduling as there were only two fields and a small gymnasium, McGuire Hall.
Women's field sports were mostly assigned to practice on a rough, poorly maintained field, while the main field used by the men was not much better. Both men's and women's basketball teams struggled with practicing and playing in the small gymnasium. More importantly, the women's sports programs were underfunded, resulting in a disparity with the men's programs in support services, equipment and scholarships.
"Through the perseverance of our female athletes at Loyola and the dedication of their coaches, they overcame these challenges and succeeded," McCloskey said. "I give them great credit for standing up for their rights and for working so hard to have their accomplishments recognized. Over the years it is evident that Loyola has increased its support of women's athletics and attained a more fair balance."
In 1980, McCloskey took over the administration of the intramural program and a few years later the club sports and lifetime sports programs, in addition to her other duties as assistant athletic director. McCloskey believed opportunities should be available for everyone. She opened all intramural sports to both men and women. If there was men's flag football, she established women's flag football competition. If a women's volleyball league existed, there was a men's league, too. She also brought coed leagues into the mix. These programs grew and flourished with the expanded opportunities.
In 1990 Recreational Sports became a separate department outside of athletics, and McCloskey was appointed the school's first director of recreational sports. In this position, she continued to develop and expand recreational, fitness, and sports opportunities for the entire campus community.
"My goal was to provide as many opportunities as possible for all students to participate in something they enjoy," said McCloskey.
Despite the numerous directions in which she was pulled, McCloskey succeeded in creating the foundation for athletic and recreational programs at Loyola that are highly successful today.
"It is my hope that I generally improved the opportunities for all women to participate in sports," she said.
Based on the stature of Loyola's women's teams now, she succeeded.
- Story by Kyle Gurganious, Loyola Athletic Communications Intern