Athletics: Women's Basketball: History

Athletics: Women's Basketball: History


In 1967, intramural sports for women were introduced onto the Danville Junior College Campus. Field hockey, volleyball, basketball, and softball were the sports first offered.

Through the unwavering support of College President Mary Miller and Athletic Director Ed Evemeyer, DJC began fielding intercollegiate teams for women in 1968. Field hockey, volleyball and softball were the first sports to be offered. In 1969, basketball was added.

The first women’s basketball coach at Danville Junior College was Barbara Todd. In fact, Barbara is responsible for organizing the women’s athletic program and coached all sports until 1970.

No home games were scheduled during the early years; due to the fact that DJC didn’t have a gym. Practices were held at the downtown YWCA and according to Barbara Todd; the gym was not heated so it was very cold at times. The gym on the DACC campus was constructed in 1970. At that time, it was known as the P.E. building. In April of 1974, the gym was renamed the Mary Miller Gym, in honor of retiring college president, Mary Miller.

In 1970, Connie Peterson Johnson joined the DJC staff and took over as women’s basketball coach. During her tenure, the college changed its name to Danville Area Community College in 1979. Upon her retirement in 1983, the women’s basketball program was dropped for one year.

Jim Heeren, in 1983 stepped down as head men’s coach and agreed to take the women’s team for one year to try to resurrect the program. An abbreviated schedule was played that year, but the program was reborn.

In 1984, DACC began hiring part-time coaches for the women’s basketball team, Jackie Shunick, a former DACC player and graduate, coached the team for a year. Mary Bunyard, a teacher at Danville High School, coached the Lady Jaguars during the 1985-86 seasons. The following year, no team was fielded due to lack of players.

Kathy Kaler was hired in 1988 to direct the operation of the new fitness center constructed on the DACC campus and to become the 6th head coach in the history of the women’s basketball program at DACC. Kaler remained at the helm for 12 seasons and amassed a 177-190 overall record before stepping down to pursue other interests at the University of Illinois.

Lyle Hicks took over the program in 2002. Over the eight seasons he coached, Hicks went 107-135. He remains on campus as an Accounting instructor.

In 2010, Kyle Bent took over the Lady Jaguar program, becoming the 8th coach in program history. Bent enters his fourth season as DACC prepares for their 2013-2014 campaign.

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