Griffin Honored by Women Leaders in College Sports

Pat Griffin
Pat Griffin

Women Leaders in College Sports has named Pat Griffin, professor emerita of education, the 2017 recipient of one its most distinguished awards, the Honor Award.

The award recognizes outstanding achievement and dedication to the advancement of women in leadership, administration and intercollegiate athletics.

Griffin will be celebrated Monday, Oct. 9 at the NIKE Lifetime Achievement and Honor Awards Luncheon, part of the 2017 Women Leaders National Convention in Dallas, Texas.

Griffin retired from the university in 2003 as a professor in the social justice education program. She also taught in sport studies and was women’s swim coach from 1971-76. She published hundreds of articles on sexism and heterosexism in education and athletics.

In addition to a successful academic career, Griffin played a pioneering role as an open lesbian publicly speaking out on behalf of LGBTQ athletes, coaches and educators. Sometimes called the grandmother of the LGBTQ sports equality movement, she has been a persistent advocate for LGBTQ people in sport for more than 35 years.

In 2013 she received an honorary doctoral degree from Laval University in Quebec recognizing her scholarship and activism on LGBTQ issues in sports.

Her 1998 book, “Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia in Sport,” was a ground-breaking exploration of the topic and its effects on all women in sport.

She was the founding director for Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project and the former director of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s It Takes A Team project, and she works with the NCAA and consults with college and high school athletic departments on LGBTQ issues in sports.

Griffin has also taken a lead role in initiating discussions about finding common ground among LGBTQ people and people of faith in athletics so that all athletes and coaches can participate fully regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or religious faith.

A life-long athlete, she played field hockey, basketball and swam at the University of Maryland and was a member of the 1971 U.S. Field Hockey Team. She coached field hockey and basketball at Wheaton High School in Montgomery County, Maryland. She also won a bronze medal in the Triathlon at the 1994 Gay Games Triathlon and a gold medal in the hammer throw at the 1998 Gay Games.

Women Leaders in College Sports is the premier leadership organization dedicated to empowering, developing, and advancing the success of women.