Title IX 40 for 40: Courtney Banghart
Courtney Banghart is entering her sixth year as
head coach with the Princeton women’s basketball team.
Banghart has led the Tigers to back-to-back-to-back Ivy League
titles and a 41-1 League mark during that stretch. She graduated
from Dartmouth in 2000 after a four-year career with the Big Green
women’s basketball team.
What impact has Title IX had on you/college athletics?
Banghart: Title IX was all about opportunity for girls and women. We’re seeing the effects of Title IX now, with the growth of so many women’s sports in terms of participation, growth, and exposure. I, personally, have built my life around the growth of women’s sport. The younger generation (both boys and girls) have come to expect equal opportunity- that to me says it all.
What has Title IX done for women outside of the sports realm?
Banghart: Title IX gave young girls equal access to many fields they didn’t have before- both educationally and athletically. And from that, so many girls chose sport. Some schools even started to require sport participation. I feel strongly that women in increased leadership roles is a healthy byproduct of Title IX. It’s seems an obvious extrapolation that Title IX’s goal of providing athletic opportunity to girls has over time shattered the glass ceiling in the professional sector. Where one is given access, she is able to show competency. We thank Title IX for providing opportunities. Then it was up to us, as women, to do something with those opportunities. So many women did.
What more can be done to improve women’s athletics?
Banghart: For women’s athletics to continue to grow, sport programs have to improve on the grassroots level. Youth development and proper coaching are critical to the growth of sport into the elite level.
What effects will Title IX have for the younger generation?
Banghart: Younger generations have already assumed equal opportunity. Girls go to school thinking they can play and do anything. That assumption by both girls and boys is the most important outcome.
Who was an influential woman in athletics to you and why?
Banghart: Chris Evert. She dominated the tennis scene, and tennis was a sport I gravitated to early in my childhood. She was athletic, in the media, competitive, graceful, and talented. And she was doing what she so clearly loved. I wanted to be Chris Evert someday. I just never got good enough.