LMU Hosts First Annual Betty Werner Cup
Loyola Marymount Men's Tennis will host the first annual Betty Werner Cup this Wednesday at LMU Tennis Center. The Lions will face Dartmouth Big Green at 1:30 p.m. The match will be played in the memory of the late LMU Senior Associate Athletics Director who lost her battle with cancer this past August.
Growing up in the heart of Texas, Werner knew what her passion was at a young age. Battling anybody she could in any sport was just the beginning to an illustrious 40-year career that paved the way for both male and female athletes today.
Her love for tennis started it all. At Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas, the women's tennis coach saw her playing at a boys' basketball practice and suggested she play on the tennis team. She did and an athletic career was born. She went on to have a successful career, playing No. 1 singles and doubles, playing the Texas Tennis Circuit and earning the Dallas Tennis Association Sportsmanship Award in 1964.
Werner graduated high school in 1966 and went on to the University of Tulsa where she played tennis. She played No. 3 singles from 1967-68 and No. 1 singles from 1969-70 and finished in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science. She went straight to graduate school and finished with a Master of Education at the University of Missouri in 1971. She then went on to play tennis after college and was ranked No. 1 in women's doubles and No. 3 in women's singles in Louisiana in 1971-72. She also claimed several international championships in racquetball, and was hired at Maryville College as an instructor of health and physical education.
She was then hired as the Women's Athletics Director at Drake in 1974. She was the youngest female administrator in collegiate athletics history (at the time) and the first female administrator at the University.
In 1979, when President Jimmy Carter implemented Title IX throughout the collegiate level, women were given the opportunity to have scholarships for the first time at universities around the country and Werner was at the center of it all.
In 1982, she was appointed to the committee of the NCAA's flagship sport, women's basketball. She served on the groundbreaking committee for five years. While with the group, she was the CBS Liaison, bringing women's athletics at the collegiate level to national television for the first time.
"Betty has done so much in establishing opportunities for young people - specifically women," said Athletics Director Dr. William Husak. "Everyone you talk to will tell you she did it with so much love. Betty will be deeply missed. Words do not do justice in describing how wonderful she was to so many."
Werner was hired to oversee all internal operations of the athletics department at LMU in 2000. During her time, the Lions saw unprecedented success, including the program's first conference titles in women's tennis, women's basketball and men's golf, and the first-ever NCAA tournament appearances for men's and women's soccer - all sports she supervised.
As her career took new heights, Werner continued to stay involved with the sport that started it all. Werner served as chairperson on the NCAA Joint Men's and Women's Tennis Committee. Under her direction, Werner brought both the men's and women's tennis championship to the same competitive site, bringing a heightened marketing exposure to the sport.
"Betty was a strong leader and active participant in the NCAA tennis community for many years. We all miss her tenacity and forthright opinion that help shape college tennis for the past decade." Dartmouth Head Coach Chuck Kinyon said.
On August 16, 2008, LMU and the tennis world lost a dear friend. Betty Werner passed away at her home in Torrance, CA after a five-month battle with cancer. She was 59.