History of ELAC Women’s Physical Education and Athletics
The first woman hired in 1945 in Physical Education/Athletics when ELAC first began as a community college was Betty Reeves. Betty graduated from Columbia University in New York. She was a pioneer in Women’s Athletics in the state of California. She was one of the first Athletic Director’s of a California Community College. She also began to include sports officiating classes into the Women’s Physical Education curriculum in which female athletes could make money at officiating local high school athletic games while participating as athletes in Intercollegiate sport at ELAC.
Betty coached the women’s and co-ed volleyball teams at ELAC for many years when co-ed volleyball was popular. She developed curriculum for and taught many of the first weight training, swimming and fitness classes offered at ELAC.
Betty passed away in February 2009 but she will always be remembered as one of the passionate advocates of women’s sports and promoters of women’s physical education and athletics. At one time Betty was also a National Synchronized Swimming Champion in the singles division.
Another progressive woman who brought archery as an intercollegiate sport and physical education course to ELAC and California was Eva Crum. She was hired as an ELAC Women’s Physical Education Instructor in 1953. She developed a highly competitive archery program in which several ELAC archery athletes successfully competed at the stated and national levels.
The next couple of visionary women to teach and coach at ELAC in the 1960’s and 70’s were Mary Farnell and Gloria Quintana. Mary Farnell continued to teach the officiating classes that Betty Reeves had established and successfully coached the Women’s and Co-ed badminton teams to several Southern California singles, doubles and co-ed badminton titles. Mary passed away in the fall of 1976.
Gloria Quintana was the softball coach at ELAC from 1965 through 1968. In the only year that she coached women’s intercollegiate tennis, Gloria coached them to a conference championship in 1985.
Gloria’s softball glove is bronzed in the Women’s Softball Hall of Fame as the best shortstop to ever play that position. She also began to play tennis herself after retiring from ELAC in 1986 and won the National Women’s Senior’s singles title in the age 55 and over category. She also became an avid equestrian jumper after retiring. Her last known residence was in Las Cruces, New Mexico as of 2000. It is believed that she is currently suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Another woman of notoriety who taught and coached at ELAC is Flora Brussa. Flora began teaching at ELAC in 1970. She coached the Women’s intercollegiate softball team and was one of the first Women’s Athletic Directors in the nation to direct a women’s and men’s intercollegiate athletic program.
Flora introduced the east coast intercollegiate sport of field hockey to California community colleges. She was an internationally known player of field hockey and was instrumental in bringing the 1984 men’s and women’s Olympic field hockey competition to ELAC’s Weingart Stadium before she became ill in 1984 with breast cancer. She battled cancer from 1984 through 1994 at which time she unfortunately succumbed to the disease.
While an instructor, athletic director and coach at ELAC Flora was invited to Washington D.C. in the fall of 1971 to write the language for the landmark legislation of Title IX which mandated that schools everywhere level the playing field for girls and women in athletics and education. She was an obvious early advocate and forerunner for women’s rights and equality.
Other noteworthy women in ELAC’s Women’s PE history are Pauline Sugine and Patricia Hernandez who singlehandedly developed one of the most successful community college dance programs not only in the state of California but in the nation. The success continues under the auspices of current dance instructors Kimberly Brown and Rick Crawford with contributions from dance instructors Wanda Evans and Benjamin Hernandez.
Several current instructors in the Women’s Physical Education/Athletic program at ELAC include former athletes and ELAC coaches Louis Ramirez, Women’s PE Department Chair Margaret Galvan and former Athletic Director and current Adaptive PE and Health Instructor Marilyn Ladd.
The ELAC Women’s Physical Education, Dance and Athletics programs have enjoyed a rich history of women and men who have been the most innovative and creative leaders at the local, state and national levels in developing some of the most advanced, highly successful programs at the community college level.