University of Minnesota

The Tucker Center: 25 Years in the Making

1993-2018: Honoring and Celebrating our 25th Anniversary—What Decision-makers Around the Globe are Saying.


The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport is simply a gem and has been for 25 years. For all of us working to ensure that female athletes, coaches and administrators have equal access and treatment within the cultural institution of sport, the Tucker Center is the most trusted source for research-supported facts, supplying those of us working in the field the ammunition we need to explain to judges, juries and the media the artful mechanisms of sex discrimination still at play. The Center’s work is as relevant today as it was at its inception because it takes at least 60 years—three generations—to change deeply embedded cultural norms and stereotypes. The Tucker Center is that steady and persistent voice and source we all depend on to give us the facts we need to continue to break down barriers to equality.

Donna A. Lopiano, Ph.D.
President, Sports Management Resources
Former CEO, Women’s Sports Foundation

Congratulations to the Tucker Center on their 25th anniversary. The work of the TC has kept the inequalities women face in sports in the face of those responsible for hiring. Awareness leads to positive change. No one has done it better than the Tucker Center. It has inspired my own work on the Racial and Gender Report Cards.

Richard Lapchick, Ph.D.
Director, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport
President, The Institute for Sport and Social Justice
University of Central Florida

The Tucker Center—in its one-of-a-kind prominence—continues to push boundaries for girls and women in sports, whether it be media, female coaches, gender equity or youth physical activity. The fact that 25 years ago, Dorothy McNeill Tucker had the brilliance to build a first-ever research center and the vision to cultivate scholarly excellence is monumental. Year after year, the Tucker Center continues to report findings, bringing national awareness and dialogue to critical issues affecting women and girls. The staff is truly passionate and committed to bettering the landscape for females in sport. Wishing you a much deserved congratulations on your 25th anniversary!

Megan Kahn
Executive Director, WeCOACH

The Tucker Center is the go-to source for anyone intrigued by the issues unique to girls and women in sport. Tucker Center scholars have created indispensable visibility for crucial issues that need focused study and solution strategies. Through the innovative Women in College Coaching Report Card, a system of accountability has been created and is directly impacting how college athletic directors view their hiring practices. This is just one example of how Tucker Center scholars have effectively used research to influence vitally needed change! I consistently use their social media to stay abreast of top issues, and generate needed conversation on issues around equity, inclusion, and advancement of women in sport. There is no other resource in the world that serves this essential role. The Tucker Center is changing the dialogue around girls and women in sport, from deficit- to empowerment-based. The innovative events, reports, and research produced by the Tucker Center are truly driving change in our collective social conscious on girls and women in sport.

Nancy Lough, Ph.D.
Educational Psychology and Higher Education
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Tucker Center Affiliated Scholar

For the past 25 years, on the uncharted landscape of women's and girls' sports, the Tucker Center has been the premier trailblazer in paving a road of relevant knowledge and research. It has been my privilege to be on the journey since I attended the first Distinguished Lecture in February 1995 and the 40 subsequent others. The knowledge I have attained has inspired me to offer programming for my students to put into action the Tucker Center's research. Congratulations! I know the Tucker Center will continue to make a difference in our world by providing the best research on girls and women in sports and physical activity.

Mary Beth Barry
Physical Education Teacher
DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis
Friend of the Tucker Center

Supporting the work of the Tucker Center is important. I am passionate about creating and maintaining opportunities for women in athletics. I graduated from high school before Title IX, when young women did not have many opportunities to pursue sports at the college level nor to attend college on an athletic scholarship. It is important to understand women in sports can be different from men in sports. Teaching athletic activities can be very different between the genders. Opportunities for women in sports after college are limited. The Tucker Center’s focus is on equity for women in athletics. This is very important to me and is an important part of my philanthropic agenda.

Lisa Huey
Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Friend of the Tucker Center

I chose the Tucker Center for my Fulbright Senior Scholar Award as it was, and remains, the foremost research center in the world focusing exclusively on girls and women in sport. The key for me is that the research enables evidence-based decisions to be made which positively impact the lives of girls and women in sport, not just in the U.S., but worldwide. It is an absolute honor and privilege to be associated with the Tucker Center, and in particular working with you, Nicole, over the years. What I learned during my time with you has been instrumental in shaping the establishment of Women in Sport Aotearoa. With New Zealand hosting the International Working Group on Women in Sport for the next four years—culminating in the conference mid-2022—I look forward to maintaining and strengthening our links.

Sarah Leberman, Ph.D.
Dean Academic & Professor of Leadership
 Massey University, New Zealand
Fulbright Scholar, Tucker Center Affiliated & Visiting Scholar

Congratulations to The Tucker Center on its 25-year anniversary. As the Director of the School of Kinesiology, I have seen firsthand the direct effect the Tucker Center has on girls and women in sport in the United States and across the world. For example, The Tucker Center has had a profound effect on better understanding the prevalence and important role of women in coaching positions. It has successfully challenged the status quo numerous times in order to increase opportunities for girls and women in sport. As a child growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I had more opportunities as an athlete than my mother did and thanks to the work by the Tucker Center and others, my 9-year-old daughter has more sport opportunities than I did as a child.  Since coming to the School of Kinesiology 11 years ago, I have attended every Tucker Center distinguished lecture and have been continually impressed by the complex issues that are addressed. There is more work that needs to be done and the Tucker Center continues to be the leader in moving the field forward.  I look forward to another 25 years of watching the Tucker Center have a significant effect on issues related to girls and women in sport.

Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
Director, School of Kinesiology
University of Minnesota
Tucker Center Affiliated Scholar

Throughout my career working on issues or projects related to girls and women in sports, the Tucker Center and its people and research have been my immediate resources. Nowhere else can I obtain such comprehensive and current information to answer important questions and provide valuable direction. The importance of the work the Tucker Center does cannot be overstated. I value the content, the vision, the questions raised and the questions answered and believe they are influencing our world's image of girls and women in sports.

Shelly Boyum-Breen
Author, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen book series

The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) congratulates the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sports on 25 years of important contributions to the women’s sports community. Since its inception in 1993, the Tucker Center has been a leader in research surrounding girls and women in sports and a trusted collaborator of the WSF. Its recent research series on women in coaching is a tremendous asset to the community of individuals and organizations looking to reverse the decline of women in coaching. We look forward to continuing our work together for many more years to come.

Sarah J. Axelson, MPA
Director of Advocacy
Women's Sports Foundation

I became familiar with the Tucker Center as a graduate student 15 years ago when I approached Dr. Kane for feedback on my dissertation proposal. She generously listened to my ideas and guided me to relevant research that improved my work. That was the beginning of my connection to the Tucker Center. As I developed my research program over the past decade, the work of the Tucker Center scholars has been a guidepost. If you want to be up on the very latest in research on girls and women in sport, these are the folks to follow. Currently, I consider it an honor to be an Affiliated Scholar with the Tucker Center. The Tucker Center is an invaluable resource for research as well as evidence-based advocacy on girls and women in sport. They are truly changing the landscape and I look forward to next 25 years.

Elizabeth Daniels, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Tucker Center Affiliated Scholar

I would not be the confident leader that I am today without the Tucker Center. In the past, as a female coach, I doubted myself. I did not think I mattered and I didn't know how to support other women coaches. By learning more about sport and gender equity—then working hands on in the Tucker Center alongside such smart, strong, and supportive people—I now feel confident in who I am, what I do, why I do it, and why women coaches (and women in leadership in general) matter. I see the work done by the Tucker Center making an impact on individuals like me, as well as making an impact  on a bigger scale in sport culture and society. This has also given me hope outside of the world of sport—that people can make a difference, and that you are never alone in the process—whether it's gender equity, racial equity, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. I am incredibly thankful for the Tucker Center, and to every person involved, and am looking forward to another 25 years!

Hannah Silva-Breen
2017 & 2018 Tucker Center Gender Equity Summer Intern

The Tucker Center is a treasured national resource supporting girls’ and women’s participation in sports and physical activity through the United States. Engaged in path-breaking research, conscientious advocacy, and responsible educational outreach, the Tucker Center offers a new vision for the role of sports in the twentieth century. I have been informed and inspired by the Center’s Report Card and ongoing research on women in coaching. Professor Nicole LaVoi has played an invaluable role in leading my colleagues and I in the Play Like a Champion Today, youth sports educational program to new approaches to involving women in coaching.

Clark F. Power, Ph.D.
Professor, Program of Liberal Studies
University of Notre Dame
Founder & Director of Play Like a Champion educational program

Happy 25th Anniversary Tucker Center! Where would we be without you? It’s 2018, Title IX was passed in 1972, and we still need you to measure and prove to the world that women in sports matter. Your work validates what every woman in sports feels on a daily basis, what we experience, and what we are trying to change. Thank you, Tucker Center, for your research, academic integrity and your support of female athletes, coaches and administrators across the country. We need you to continue this great work for the next 25 years. Every day you are changing the world. Thank. You. #SheCanCoach

Susan Teeter
  Head Swimming & Diving Coach, Retired, Princeton University
High Performance + Leadership Consulting
Ex-officio President, College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association
2018 Women Coaches Symposium Jean K. Freeman Keynote Speaker

The Tucker Center is the front line for research and resources related to women in sport and women coaches. Their research-based approach to education and advocacy makes it my go-to place for current trends as well as historical perspectives of women in sport, especially women coaches. If you're looking for a comprehensive information to support girls and women in sport, the Tucker Center is your place!

Missy Price, Ph.D.
Head Soccer Coach & Assistant Professor of the Practice
President, United Soccer Coaches Association

The Tucker Center provides invaluable research on girls and women in sports, which I often use to design curriculum for my inclusion workshops. I am most grateful for the pioneering efforts and leadership the Tucker Center provides to increase opportunities for women coaches and young girls who aspire to coach, as it is important for them to find their likeness in the game.

Nevin Caple (pronouns: she-her-hers)
Co-Founder and Managing Partner | Strategic Diversity Consultant
LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program

The Tucker Center is our role model. We, the Japanese Center for Research on Women in Sport, are hoping for closer collaboration with the Tucker Center for our mutual success to advance women and sport.

Etsuko Ogasawara, Ph.D.
Juntendo University, Tokyo

The Tucker Center has become an invaluable resource for my work in sports.  So thankful they saw the importance of focusing on girls and women in sports so we can better understand the issues and challenges facing us. Their research is unparalleled.

Lea B. Olsen
Sports Broadcaster

As the development officer who "discovered" Dr. Tucker, the Tucker Center is one of my proudest fundraising achievements. To see all that has been accomplished by the Center speaks to the power of philanthropy to drive innovation and make an impact on addressing critical societal needs. I regularly communicated with Dr. Tucker until she passed away and she said on several occasions that her gift was the best investment she ever made. The return on investment for her was the joy she received as an alumna donor-investor, doing something impactful with her money, and creating an enduring legacy for the values she shared in the Tucker Center’s mission. Professor Mary Jo Kane had the right idea at the right time for the right donor.

David Madson
Former Development Officer
College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota

For years, the Tucker Center has been my go-to source for statistics, historical context and expert analysis of women’s sports issues. There simply is no other place like it in the country. Through its research and advocacy, the Tucker Center helps us understand the impact of sport on women’s lives—and how participating in sports enhances the impact women have on our world. Congratulations on 25 great years!

Rachel Blount
Sports Reporter
Minneapolis Star Tribune

The Tucker Center has a reputation of excellence in a wide variety of research on girls and women in sport. It’s evident whenever I attend conferences: When presenting my research, I start by introducing myself not only with my academic appointment but also with my Tucker Center Affiliated Scholar status. Everytime, wherever in the world I present, I see eyes light up, which shows the credibility that the Tucker Center affiliation immediately establishes in other scholars’ minds. I’m proud to support the Tucker Center and to have the Tucker Center support me.

Kent Kaiser, MAT, MLS, Ph.D., APR
Professor & Chair, Communication Department
University of Northwestern, St. Paul

I am honored to help advance the work of the Tucker Center through philanthropy. The founding gift from Dorothy McNeil Tucker is an outstanding example of how private support can transform a field, and loyal donors who care about girls and women in sport have an ongoing impact on the center’s programs and interdisciplinary research. Today, the Tucker Center is widely recognized as a national leader for its expertise and efforts to better the lives of female athletes–both on and off the playing field. Generous alumni and friends continue to be critical to its success and excellence and see the difference their gifts make. They are excited by the Tucker Center’s groundbreaking research and educational initiatives, and remain loyal donors because of its strong stewardship. Congratulations to everyone associated with the Tucker Center for an extraordinary 25 years, and I look forward to what the future will bring.

Susan Holter
Chief Development Officer
College of Education and Human Development
University of Minnesota

The Tucker Center is truly one-of-a-kind. From their groundbreaking research to their unparalleled public scholarship to their advocacy for true and lasting equitable change, they are the leader in the why and how of creating inclusive sport climates, practices, and policies for all. I'm beyond honored to be a part of the Tucker Center as an Affiliated Scholar and support the incredible work they do each and every day to impact the lives of so many!

Dr. Chelsey Thul
Senior Lecturer, Honors Faculty Representative
Tucker Center Affiliated Scholar
School of Kinesiology
University of Minnesota

The Tucker Center puts words and numbers behind what girls and women in sport are facing today, even the parts that can be difficult to prove or name. What drew me in is that its leaders and associates always go a step further and apply their findings to create tangible positive change in every aspect of the sporting world.

Elizabeth Labedz
Central Region Program Coordinator
Girls On The Run, Chicago