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BSU to hold 50th Anniversary of Women’s Athletics Kick-Off Celebration

BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State Athletics and the BSU Foundation and Alumni Association have announced a year-long celebration of the 50th year of women's intercollegiate athletics at BSU, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 6, at BSU's American Indian Re...

BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State Athletics and the BSU Foundation and Alumni Association have announced a year-long celebration of the 50th year of women’s intercollegiate athletics at BSU, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 6, at BSU’s American Indian Resource Center.

Festivities are set to begin after the homecoming football game at 5 p.m. with a social, and a dinner and a program will follow at 6 p.m.

Present and former BSU student-athletes, fans and community members are welcome to participate in the kick-off event to honor the founders of BSU women’s athletics through photos, video and sharing memories.

The cost to attend is $20, with children 12 and under receiving free admittance. The deadline to register has been extended to Sunday, Sept. 30.

To pre-register, visit https://www.bsualumni.org/50th-Anniversary-Womens-Athletics .

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At the event, four pioneers for BSU women’s athletics will be honored: Marjory Beck, Ruth Howe, Betsy McDowell and Pat Rosenbrock.

Starting as a physical education professor at Bemidji State in 1963, Beck served as the Department Chair of Women’s Physical Education, was the first Women’s Athletics Coordinator from 1969 until 1978 and served as the first president of the Minn-Kota Conference, as well as the Minnesota Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. She also served as president of the Northern Sun Conference.

Howe coached Bemidji State students for more than 20 years starting in 1964, while the teams still participated as extramurals. In her 11 years as the women’s basketball coach, she led the team to Minn-Kota titles in the 1972-73 and 1975-76 seasons.

In 1976, Howe took over the women’s tennis program and led the team to a one-loss season in 1978 before finishing sixth place at the MAIAW state tournament in 1979 and 1980.

McDowell joined the BSU Women’s Physical Education Department in 1966. She coached field hockey for nearly two decades starting that year and led the team to 388 wins, a high for BSU female coaches.

During her tenure, the Beavers swon six Minn-Kota titles, six straight MAIAW state titles (1975-81), four AIAW regional titles and qualified for the AIAW national championships seven times and finished sixth in 1979.

Under McDowell, Bemidji State joined NCAA Division III in 1981, when the Beavers finished seventh in the country, narrowly missing a trip to the national championships.

Serving as a BSU faculty member from 1969-2006, Rosenbrock spent time as a physical education professor, director of women’s studies, women’s athletics director, coach and resident historian.

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As the gymnastics coach, she led the Beavers to six straight Minn-Kota championships, and her track and field teams won the MAIAW state championship in 1973 and 1974.

Also in 1974, she took over the volleyball program, coaching BSU to seven Minn-Kota championships and three second-place finishes in the MAIAW state tournament. The team also finished second in the 1977 AIAW Region 6 tournament and won the NAIA District 13 championship in 1987 and 1988, along with a Northern Sun Conference title in 1988.

As a historian, Rosenbrock also coordinated an effort to develop and archive a comprehensive history of women’s athletics at BSU, using that information to spark a celebration of the 30th anniversary of women’s athletics at BSU.

Related Topics: BEMIDJI STATE UNIVERSITY
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