Photo Gallery: The First Teams – Dartmouth Women’s Athletics in the 1970s

The College went coed in 1972. In just seven years, its athletics program grew to include 12 women’s varsity sports.

The Dartmouth field hockey team’s season opener against Keene State College in October 1972 was the first women’s intercollegiate competition at Dartmouth. That fall, the College's first coeducational class, which included 177 women, matriculated. They joined 205 female transfer and exchange students.

The College hired Agnes Bixler Kurtz the previous spring to start the women’s athletics program. After surveying female students to gauge their interest in athletics during the initial weeks of the 1972-1973 school year, Kurtz established basketball, skiing, squash, lacrosse, tennis, and field hockey teams for women that first year. Kurtz coached the hockey, squash, and lacrosse teams for the first three years. Named assistant director of athletics in 1974, Kurtz spent the next several years leading the steady growth of women’s athletics at the College.

By 1979, there were 12 varsity sports for women at Dartmouth. Today, there are 18—plus sailing, a coed program. Forty-six Dartmouth women have competed in the Olympics and Paralympics. They have won 46 team Ivy League championships. During the 2018-2019 school year, 416 student-athletes will compete for the Big Green.

The trailblazing students of the 1970s began a tradition of excellence that continues today. In honor of that effort, the following is a collection of team photos from those early years. All photos are courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics unless otherwise noted.

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Women's Tennis 1973
Tennis, 1973. Ann Fritz Hackett ’76, front row, far left, played in the No. 1 singles spot that first season. Coached by Jan Strohbehn, the team went 4-0.

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Dartmouth Track and Field 1978
Track & Field, 1978. The 1977 team won the first Ivy League outdoor track and field championship.

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Dartmouth Cross Country, 1975
Cross country, 1975. The 1975 team was the College’s first women’s varsity cross country team.

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Dartmouth Ski Team 1973-1974
1973-1974. The ski team celebrates their Winter Carnival win. Photo courtesy of the Dartmouth Library.

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1975 Women's Crew
Crew, 1975. The crew team celebrating after the National Invitational Regatta, Mount Holyoke College in October 1975. The team’s captain, Judy Geer ’75, Thayer ’83, back row, far right, was Dartmouth’s first female Olympic athlete. She competed in both the 1976 Montreal Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

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Dartmouth Soccer 1979
Soccer, 1979. The team went 4-9 during the 1979 season, its first as a varsity sport. Caroline Eich ’80 was the leading scorer with seven goals. Paula Ness ’80 and Jenny Chardon ’80 served as co-captains.

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Dartmouth Field Hockey 1974
Field Hockey, 1974. Coach Agnes Bixler Kurtz, second row, far right. Members of the 1972 team donned makeshift uniforms, some purchased by the players at Campions on Main Street. By 1974, they were fully outfitted. Sandy Helve ’76, front row, fourth from the left, won 11 varsity letters during her time at Dartmouth.

 

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1975 Lacrosse
Lacrosse, 1975. Freshman Jane Kirrstetter ’78, front row, far left, tallied 28 goals, including two six-goal games, pacing the 1975 squad to a 7-2 record. Coach Agnes Bixler Kurtz, back row, far left, coached varsity lacrosse from 1973-1981.

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Dartmouth Basketball, 1979-1980
Basketball, 1979-1980. Coach Chris Wielgus, second row, far right, came to Dartmouth in 1975; she went on to coach the Big Green for a total of 27 seasons. Gail Koziara Boudreaux ’82, front row, fourth from left, led the squad in winning the 1980 Ivy League championship (the league’s first).

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Dartmouth Ice Hockey
Ice Hockey, 1979-1980. Goalie Janice Ellis ’81 and forward Holly Raths ’80 served as co-captains.

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Dartmouth Squash
Squash, 1976-1977. The squash team pictured with Coach Kurtz.

 

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“She will never know the extent of the impact she has had,” says Joann Halpern ’88. “It’s much broader than any individual could ever know.”

The July/August 2013 issue of Dartmouth Alumni Magazine featured an interview with Agnes Bixler Kurtz.