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Barbara Hedges returns to Troy

by Minne Ho
Barbara Hedges, who created a new era for women's sports at USC during her first 18-year term, has returned to the university to help female student-athletes. (Photo/Two Point Pictures)
Barbara Hedges, who created a new era for women's sports at USC during her first 18-year term, has returned to the university to help female student-athletes. (Photo/Two Point Pictures)

If there is one person who personifies the sky-high possibilities for Trojan women athletes, it’s Barbara Hedges. From the time she first arrived at USC in 1973 — following the creation of Title IX — to work with legendary athletic director John McKay, Hedges saw the opportunities for USC to become a powerhouse for women’s sports.

Indeed, three years into her term, she was named associate athletic director, and USC awarded the first athletic scholarship to a female student-athlete, tennis player Barbara Hallquist DeGroot.

During Hedges’ 18 years at USC, women’s sports won 13 national titles, rising to dominate in women’s basketball and volleyball. Countless former student-athletes are her legacy, including Olympians Debbie Green, Cheryl Miller, Pam McGee and Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. More than 3,500 athletic scholarships have been awarded to date, largely thanks to Hedges’ vision.

After a storied career as the first woman to be named director of athletics for an NCAA school in a major conference, the first female president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the first female member of the board of directors of the National Football Foundation, Hedges has returned to USC to serve as co-chair of the Heritage Initiative — inspiring support for athletic programs as part of the $6 billion Campaign for the University of Southern California. She will also speak at the USC Women’s Conference on March 7.

Hedges was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the USC Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in 2012.

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