"It came to me as a surprise," Dillahunt said. "I'm very appreciative of the award."
Dillahunt, a 1985 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, will receive the award at the Awards Luncheon of the Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (OAHPERD), at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Thursday, Nov. 29. She also will receive recognition at the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports General Session/Awards Luncheon in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, April 11, 2008.
The NAGWS established the Pathfinder Award to "honors those women who have been instrumental in blazing paths for the future of girl's and women's sports through their leadership and tireless efforts."
The OAHPERD committee members said they were, "pleased to honor Professor Dillahunt's significant contributions to girl's and women's sports programs not only in Ohio, but in the United States."
Her many accomplishments make Dillahunt a perfect choice for such an award. During her career, she was affiliated with multiple women's and sports organizations, including the Girl's Sports Advisory Committee for the Ohio Athletic Association, the Ohio College Association for Women's Physical Education and Sport, the Ohio Commission on Intercollegiate Sports for Women and the United States Field Hockey Association.
Dillahunt also co-founded the Sauk Valley Farms Field Hockey Camp in Brooklyn, Mich., and wrote the book, Field Hockey for Teachers. Barrier, a British manufacturer of field hockey sticks, named the BD#1 sticks after Dillahunt.
A revolutionary female student-athlete, Dillahunt's desire to develop women's sports began with her academic career at Wittenberg. Dillahunt rejected the opportunity for an early career with the All-American Professional Girls Baseball League, the association highlighted in the film A League Of Their Own, choosing instead to finish college. After graduation, Dillahunt returned to Wittenberg and went on to a 36-year teaching career in which she coached an amazing nine different sports program. She is the founder of the field hockey program, which remains one of the most prominent in Midwest, and in 1972, she became the women's athletics director until she retired.
Now 87, she still enjoys attending Wittenberg's annual Homecoming festivities to cheer on the Tigers, and she is delighted to see how far the university's athletics teams have come. The Tiger softball team plays on the Betty Doughman Dillahunt Field named in her honor in 1997.
"I think one of my biggest thrills was when they honored me by dedicating that softball field to me," she said.
Dillahunt's love for Wittenberg and girls' and women's sports has never wavered. Once again, a national organization has recognized that fact.
Written By: Elizabeth Burdsall '08
Photo By: Robert Gantt
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