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Virginia to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 6

uva basketball
Photo by Dan Grogan.

Virginia women’s basketball alumna Sharlene Brightly will be honored at the National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration when the Cavalier women’s basketball team hosts Clemson on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.

Since 1996, the Virginia Department of Athletics and the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center have collaborated in a celebration of the National Girls and Women in Sports Day, an event that brings national attention to the achievements of female athletes and to issues facing girls and women in sport.

The passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 changed the landscape of women’s athletics, opening up expansive opportunities for women and girls to participate in sports. This year, the theme of the event will be “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Title IX.”

Additionally, as part of a virtual celebration of the day, UVA Women’s Center Directory Abby Palko will moderate a panel discussion focused on the contributions women have made to athletics at the University of Virginia. Director of Athletics Carla Williams, long-time administrator Jane Miller (retired), Title IX Coordinator Meredith Smith, and members of UVA coaching staffs working with today’s female athletes will share insights into Title IX. The panel discussion is open to all and begins at 1:00 p.m. Register to attend the virtual event here: zoom by registering here: https://wahoowa.net/NGWSD2022

Brightly will be honored during halftime of the basketball game.

Brightly was a member of the UVA’s first varsity women’s basketball team and the first Black woman to represent the University in intercollegiate competition. Last fall, the ACC honored Brightly and George King III with its inaugural UNITE awards, created to honor individuals affiliated with the conference who have made an impact in the areas of racial and social justice.

Brightly earned a letter as a member of the basketball team during the 1973-74 season when she was a second-year student. She lettered again during the program’s second season before electing to concentrate on her academic requirements during her final year at the University.  Brightly earned her undergraduate degree in 1976 in linguistics and went on to a long career in network operations in the telecommunications field in Northern Virginia. Active in her community, she was a member of the board of directors for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic of Metropolitan Washington.

Recent honorees at Virginia’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration include NFL Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives Jennifer Langton, Olympic-gold-medalists Leah Smith, Lauren Perdue and Lindsay Shoop, the 1993 women’s basketball and 1991 women’s lacrosse teams, philanthropist and two-time women’s volleyball MVP Amy (Mitchell) Griffin, former UVa track standout and varsity football coach at Calvin Coolidge High School Natalie Randolph and longtime administrators Jane Miller and Barbara Kelley.


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