Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, the growth of women’s sports participation and investment has propelled many women into leadership roles in the professional world.
Despite institutional barriers in the field of sports recruitment and promotion, Many Northwestern women alumni have had highly successful careers in coaching and athletics.
Here are some of Northwestern’s best-known alumni in sports and business.
Karen Stark Umlauf
When Stack Umlauf was a student-athlete at NU, her mother encouraged her to study speech and language pathology. But a year of playing basketball abroad confirmed Stark Umlauf’s passion for sports, and a long career with the Chicago Bulls that began in 1984 — coinciding with Michael Jordan’s rookie season.
“They’ve become so popular,” Stack Umlauf said. “I got in at the right time and was able to build from there.”
She spent more than 30 years with the Bulls, including three years as the first female assistant coach in Bulls history. Initially taking on the role was overwhelming, she said. Even after playing basketball for decades, she found herself being “bombarded” with new vocabulary and concepts every day.
Stack Umlauf said the experience also taught her about the risks of coaching. She was on the job just a few years before current Bulls coach Billy Donovan arrived and replaced her and several other assistants.
Now the Director of Operations for NU Women’s Basketball, Stack Umlauf continues to embrace her love of sports.
“When you come to work (dressed) like this, it doesn’t feel like work,” Umlauf said, wearing jogging pants and a blazer. “It’s so cool.”
Brown attended NU in 1982 — just a decade after Title IX passed — and quickly became one of college basketball’s brightest stars. A dynamic offensive threat, Brown earned multiple All-American and Big Ten honors during his time at Evanston. She finished her career as the leading scorer in the Big Ten, with the seventh-best career scoring average in NCAA history.
Brown has since held leadership positions in various organizations, including the NCAA, IBM, and UNICEF. In one of her most prominent positions, she served as the NCAA Vice President of Women’s Basketball, during which time she worked to develop the Division I, II and III women’s basketball championships.
Brown also worked for the New York Knicks but was fired in 2006 after complaining to management about workplace sexual harassment. After she left, she sued Madison Square Garden and then-Knicks head coach Isiah Thomas over the harassment. Brown won a landmark victory.
By the time Munday graduated in 2006, her accomplishments made her not only a contender for Northwestern’s greatest hockey player, but one of the best college athletes in history.
With two NCAA championships and a plethora of national awards and program records, Munday continued the sport, serving as an assistant coach for four years at NU and one year at Mount St. Mary University.
Mundy, who now coaches at USC, was hired in 2011 at the age of 26 to lead the university’s first-ever women’s hockey team.
Since then, she’s amassed multiple Coach of the Year awards, five NCAA Tournament appearances, and was named Hockey Magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year.
The development coach of the Portland Sea Dogs — a Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox — Claure isn’t your typical baseball coach.
Having held various analytical jobs with MLB, the Cincinnati Reds and Google before turning 25, Krall has proven himself to be a trailblazer in sports.
“As a woman in a male-dominated industry, you have two burdens,” Crowe said. “The first is to do your job and do it well. The second is, especially if you’re in a high-profile role like a coach, or if you’re a front office executive, you’re a role model for other young women and an embodiment of what they might be able to do .”
In June, Krall not only received an MBA from the University of Chicago, but also graced the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 50th anniversary of Title IX. Claure poses with Red Sox coach Bianca Smith, who with Claure made the Red Sox the first MLB organization to have two female coaches.
This is especially powerful for Krall, whose mother is a tennis player and a direct beneficiary of Title IX. Claure’s mother played on her high school’s first women’s tennis team during her junior year.
“She and I both cried when we saw me on the cover because of Title IX and what it did for both of us,” Crowe said.
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e-mail: [email protected]
— Mother-Daughter Movement Duo Reflects on Northwestern University and the Impact of Title IX
— ‘Competition and Win’: Former Northwestern women’s sports figures discuss the early days of Title IX
— Q&A: Former Northwestern Tennis Player and USTA President Katrina Adams Talks Title IX and NU Athletics