DEKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois Athletics will recognize its proud tradition of women’s athletics at every home football game this season to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark federal legislation that provided women with unprecedented opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics.
At each game, NIU will honor some of the women who have made a significant contribution to the school, in competition or as coaches and administrators.
"Title IX is historic legislation that has had a huge impact across our country, and that impact is felt throughout NIU Athletics," said NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher. "The 40th Anniversary of Title IX provides us with an opportunity to highlight some of the tremendous women who have contributed so much to our athletics program. By introducing just a few of the many women who have helped create the history of NIU Athletics through our Huskie Legends series at home football games, we are able to recognize this important anniversary in a unique and exciting way."
Current NIU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, and former United States Olympian, Connie Teaberry will be the first honoree when she is recognized at Saturday’s game against UT Martin. Entering her ninth season at the helm of the Northern Illinois track & field program, Teaberry has helped the Huskies break 48 school records and coached six MAC champions and 15 NCAA regional qualifiers. In 2011-12, Northern Illinois broke 24 school records, captured four MAC individual titles, sent four entries to the NCAA West Preliminary Round and set school records for most team points scored at the MAC indoor and outdoor championships.
Jean Pankonin will be honored during the Sept. 22 Kansas game. Pankonin played six different sports – badminton, basketball, field hockey, softball, tennis and volleyball – for the Huskies between 1957-61 and was one of Northern’s four women charter inductees into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986.
Title IX was passed in 1972 to give women equal opportunities in education and all programs that received federal funding. Since its passage 40 years ago, nearly 200,000 women play in collegiate athletics in the United States today.
NIU is finalizing its list of female Huskie Legends to be honored at the four remaining home games. The Huskie Legends are presented on the field between the first and second quarter.
Northern Illinois (0-1), takes on UT Martin (1-0) Saturday at 6 p.m. in its Huskie Stadium opener. Season tickets, including the 2012 HuskieLand Plan, remain on sale through the NIU Athletics Ticket Office at 815-752-6800. The HuskieLand Plan offers a ticket to the UT Martin, Kansas (Sept. 22) and Toledo (Nov. 14) games for just $60 along with $15 gift cards each to Buffalo Wild Wings, Village Commons Bookstore and Hy-Vee.
In addition, Northern Illinois has joined with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to offer $10 tickets to Saturday's game with a canned food donation. The donation truck will be set up on the West Side of Huskie Stadium. Saturday marks Band Day at Huskie Stadium with 1,500 high school band students joining the Huskie Marching Band to provide halftime entertainment, while the crowd will be treated to a post-game fireworks show. The first 3,000 fans through the gates will receive a free red “We Are Huskies” t-shirt and all fans are encouraged to wear red.