50 Years of Title IX: Shanele Stires – Women’s Basketball

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the ratification of Title IX by the US Congress. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX as part of that year’s Education Amendments. Written by Representative Patsy Mink, Representative Edith Green and Senator Birch Bay, the law prohibits sex discrimination in all schools that receive federal financial assistance. Although the text of the law does not refer to athletics, it was later decided to include all aspects of the school’s operations, including intercollegiate athletic programs. One study found that between the application of Law IX and 2006, there was a nearly 500% increase in the number of undergraduate mathematics.

Chanel Sters He was named the new coach of the Cal Poly women’s basketball team in April. “While challenging in my coaching career, I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and work in one of the best universities in the world,” she said. “I think this is the perfect combination if you want to coach athletics in college. I can make a profound impact on the lives of these young women while working with some of my best friends on the coaching staff. Incredible leadership of President Jeffrey Armstrong and Director of Athletics Don Oberhelmann. All of these things made him a dream role for me.”

Coach Stires grew up watching men’s basketball because the ladies weren’t broadcast on TV. Her favorite team, the University of Kansas, won the NCAA Championship in 1988. “Watching the Jayhawks is what got me interested in basketball and then fell in love with it.” Chanel Sters

Once the college basketball season was over, she would watch the NBA games. She became inspired by Magic Johnson. “He played with that passion and made his team even better.”

“Basketball allowed me to challenge myself — dribbling, shooting, passing, rebounding,” Steers says of why she chose to continue basketball over sports like volleyball and softball.

After attending Kansas State from 1992 to 1995, she began playing professional basketball in the NBA in 1996 after the Atlanta Olympics. “It was a huge breakthrough for women’s basketball in the United States. Team 96 was our dream team.”

After folding ABL in 1998, Stires traveled abroad to play for a year. Then in 2000, she was inducted into the Minnesota Lynx by the WNBA. She commented on being part of the second wave of women to join the WNBA, beginning her inaugural season in 1997. “You feel like a pioneer. There is a strong sense of responsibility in carrying this banner.”

“The fact that the WNBA has been around for twenty-six seasons is amazing. It’s a real positive sign considering that Title IX was only fifty years ago.”

“I am so grateful for the ninth door. I was born the year it was passed so I grew up with it. I look forward to those players who came before us who didn’t have the same opportunities that I had. So proud to be a part of the first generation that brought women’s professional basketball to this country.”

As for Steers’ advice for anyone looking to pursue a coaching career or play basketball: “Success leaves clues. I attribute my success to my mum and dad for instilling a great work ethic in me. What I’ve learned on my journey is that you need to focus and eliminate distractions. You must. Making daily choices to prioritize actions that will bring you closer to your goals. I think anyone can end up where I am, but I think it takes a lot of vision, focus, and discipline.”

Coach Stires emphasized how rewarding the training was. “The coolest part of my job is seeing the impact you have on the young ladies you’ve trained. You have to be a part of their lives for the rest of your life.”

Storyline: Katie Logan, Cal Poly Athletic Communications

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