Monday, April 20, 2015

Dorothy "Dot" Casey (class of 1948): Champion for Women's Athletics

For much of her time at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina, Dudley, NC native Dorothy "Dot" Casey spent her time involved in athletics, both in the classroom and in club sports (she was involved in more than a dozen club sports in her Junior and Senior years). Casey graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education.

Her love of athletics and physical education led her next to UNC Chapel Hill where she worked as a graduate assistant while completing her Master’s degree. Even before she received that degree in 1951, she joined the faculty of the Physical Education Department at Wake Forest University.

Casey participated in many club sports at WCUNC
When Casey arrived at Wake Forest in 1949, women’s athletics were strictly intramural only. Part of her job was to encourage the female students to play sports. In the late 60s, Casey organized and coached a tennis team. In 1970, fellow Physical Education faculty member Marge Crisp asked WFU President James R. Scales for a budget for women’s athletics. He gave her $500. During this pre-Title IX era, female students and coaches often had to provide everything for themselves or make do with what little they had. Female student athletes were responsible for their own transportation, food, and often, uniforms and equipment. Important organizations for female athletes like the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) in which Casey served, helped to bring women’s sports up to par with their male counterparts.

Dot Casey with Dr. Jack Sawyer, 1988
While Title IX, passed in 1972, required equal opportunities for both sexes at all institutions receiving any federal funds, it took many years to implement fully. Still, at institutions like Wake Forest University where Casey became Director of Women’s Athletics in 1974, the passage of the law meant that women’s athletics would be rapidly expanding. The change from intramural sports to intercollegiate competition had arrived. Casey was a large part of that transition as she headed the women’s athletics program at WFU for 14 years, ending with her retirement in 1988.

Casey served in various capacities as teacher, coach, and Director of Women’s Athletics over her distinguished career of 39 years at Wake Forest University.  Casey won an Honor Award from the North Carolina Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance in 1984. In 1993, she was one of the first two women inducted into the Wake Forest University Sports Hall of Fame. Dorothy “Dot” Casey passed away July 16, 2013, having devoted a majority of her 87 years of life to the cause of Women’s Athletics.

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