The Indiana Fever will honor its class of 2009 “Inspiring Women” during its annual Inspiring Women Night on Thursday, July 30, when Indiana hosts the Connecticut Sun (7:00 p.m.). Fifteen female sports and community leaders from Central Indiana will be honored during a halftime presentation that will include legendary University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt as the evening’s feature guest.
The winningest men’s or women’s basketball coach in NCAA history, Summitt will speak to the crowd following the introduction of the Fever’s annual class of local inspiring women. Summit also will take part in a pregame reception open to VIPs, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Ticket packages are still available for individuals and corporations wishing to take part in the private pregame reception. Each package includes a commemorative photo of Summitt and her former Tennessee pupil, Fever star Tamika Catchings, plus a WNBA Spalding notebook. Fever season ticket holders may purchase VIP packages at special prices without the game ticket. All packages are available by visiting FeverBasketball.com, or calling (317) 917-2500.
The Fever’s 2009 local honorees include:
Linda Barnett – An athletic director and coach at Clinton Central High School, she serves on the IHSAA Board of Directors. She began her teaching and coaching career at Zionsville High School in 1973.
Ruth Callon – One of first coaches to provide summer camps for high school girls athletes, she served on the first IHSAA Girls Advisory Board. A former coach at Franklin College, she has been a longtime advocate for the advancement of girls’ and women’s sports.
Donna Cheatham – The winningest coach in Indiana girls high school basketball history, she is currently the coach at Scottsburg High School. She guided Southwestern High School to a state title in 2002.
Jan Conner – A longtime coach at Warren Central, Benton Central and Martinsville, Conner retired from coaching in 2001. She won a pair of state championships while at Martinsville.
Judy Cummings – A former basketball and softball star at IUPUI, Cummings was the first female inductee into the IUPUI Athletic Hall of Fame. She graduated from Brownsburg High School in 1979 with what was then a state record 1,524 points.
Mary Louise Eisenhardt – A longtime coach and administrator at New Albany, Salem and Madison High Schools, Eisenhardt has been recognized numerous times for outstanding achievement in girls’ and women’s athletics.
Alfreeda Goff – The senior associate commissioner and chief of staff with the Indianapolis-based Horizon League, Goff has overseen championships and tournament operations for the past 11 years.
• Margaret Kelly – A longtime coach and referee in Hammond and a member of the Hammond Hall of Fame, Kelly is most remembered for her active membership on the IHSAA Girls Advisory Committee which established state tournaments for girls in all sports.
Joni Phillips – Phillips is an Indianapolis resident who played with the “All-American Redheads,” a touring professional basketball team of women who toured the country for parts of 50 years until 1986.
Bernie Price – A 35-year contributor to Catholic Youth Organizations (CYO), for whom she is the girls’ athletic director.
Janis Qualizza – The athletic director and a former volleyball, basketball and track coach at Merrillville High School, she serves on the IHSAA Board of Directors.
• Cinda Rice Brown – A former coach at Rushville High School where her teams won a record 18 consecutive sectional titles, she guided teams to the state finals in 1981, 1985 and 1993. She also has served as a TV analyst for IHSAA girls’ state finals.
Jacquie Rost – A volleyball coach and English teacher at Elkhart Memorial High School, she was the 2008 4A state volleyball coach of the year. She organized a 2006 service project to benefit a friend and colleague diagnosed with cancer. Her project culminated in a schoolwide and community effort that helped establish a scholarship presented annually to a volleyball player.
Judi Warren – Warren holds an historic role in Indiana, being named the state’s first Miss Basketball honoree while leading Warsaw to the first IHSAA girls’ state championship in 1976. Since graduating from Franklin College, she has coached at South Dearborn, Maconaquah and Carmel High Schools.
Cheryl Weatherman – Weatherman started girls basketball and volleyball programs at Franklin High School, where she coached from 1974-84. She was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash by Governor Robert Orr for her work with youth in Indiana.