The WNBA’s Inspiring Women platform celebrates leaders who help ignite the dreams and aspirations of women in all endeavors and honors women who embody the same qualities as our players. This season, the Los Angeles Sparks and Farmers Insurance will recognize two individuals who are part of the history of Title IX and who inspire others through their commitment and dedication to work, family, sports, and the community.
What is Title IX?
A portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, U.S. legislation which states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
- Title 20 U.S.C. Sections 1681-1688
Dr. Judith Holland
With over 40 years of progressive, comprehensive experience as an innovative leader in intercollegiate athletics, Dr. Judith R. Holland now serves as Executive Director for The Collegiate Women Sports Awards. Dr. Holland started the awards program in 1976 to recognize excellence in women’s collegiate athletics. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and a Masters degree from Sacramento State University. She served as the first Director of Women’s Athletics at UCLA from 1975-1980. With the passage of Title IX in 1972, Dr. Holland set forth on a mission to develop the UCLA women’s athletics program into a powerhouse equal to that of their men’s counterparts. She drafted a blueprint for success and embarked on an aggressive and sometimes exhausting quest to raise much needed funds for uniforms, travel, and coaching salaries. Dr. Holland recognized early on the importance of attracting the best players by offering scholarships for women’s athletics at the same level as the men. She gave her first athletic scholarship to Kids in Sports Board of Director, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, a 4-time All-American who is one of the most decorated student-athletes, male or female, in UCLA history and the only female to sign a National Basketball Association (NBA) contract.
Dr. Holland, the former president of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), made a bold move in 1981 to support the creation of the NCAA’s division for women to help improve recruitment, provide greater funding, and ultimately gain more recognition for women’s athletics. She went a step further to improve conditions for female student-athletes by proposing that men’s and women’s athletics programs be joined together in order for true equality to exist. In 1980, Dr. Holland was appointed Senior Associate Director of the combined men’s and women’s athletic program at UCLA, and shortly thereafter, many other collegiate athletic departments followed suit, supporting Dr. Holland’s model of a unified athletic department system.
She retired from UCLA athletics in 1995 after leading the UCLA Bruins to a record 24 women’s collegiate titles, and earning the National No. 1 Overall Athletic Program title 10 times during her tenure. Under her leadership, the UCLA athletic department now includes 12 women’s teams that have won over 30 NCAA national championships. In 1998, she received the UCLA Alumni Association’s University Service Award, and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Assocation (WBCA) Administrator of the Year Award. She continued her work at UCLA as the Executive Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at UCLA until 2006, when she officially retired from the university.
Colleen Matsuhara recently completed her tenth year as Head Women’s basketball coach and Associate Professor of Physical Education at West Los Angeles College where she was the 2009 Western State Conference South Division Coach of the Year.
Prior to her West LA tenure, Coach Matsuhara coached for over 23 years at the NCAA Division 1 level as well as Assistant Coach with the Los Angeles Sparks for two seasons (1998-1999). She is a charter member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
As an assistant coach, Matsuhara was on the coaching staff of two National Championship teams. In 1978, UCLA won the AIAW championship in front of a partisan home crowd in Pauley Pavilion. In 1986, the Texas Lady Longhorns became the
first women’s team to go undefeated (34-0).
As Head Coach at UC Irvine from 1991-97, Matsuhara led the Anteaters to their first ever, and to date, only NCAA post-season berth. She also was Head Coach at the University of Nebraska from 1980-83.
Besides UCLA and Texas, Coach Matsuhara has been an Assistant Coach at USC, Notre Dame, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton.
As an administrator, in 1984 Matsuhara worked as Assistant Athletic Director at UCLA while also serving as Secretariat of Basketball Competition for the 1984 Olympic Games.
She was Assistant Coach for the USA Gold Medal-winning 1987 Pan American team and has an extensive background working for various USA Basketball events.
Matsuhara was the coach and technical advisor for the movie “Love and Basketball” in 2000. In the past, she has been a color analyst/sideline reporter for UCLA women’s basketball radio, as well as a color analyst for some local cable.
Matsuhara was a three-sport student-athlete at both Cal State Sacramento and Sacramento City College where she is an inductee in the SCC Athletic Hall of Fame. She was a long-time player in both the Northern and Southern California Japanese American basketball leagues.