Two of the conference’s three female head coaches — Villanova’s Dennis Dillon and Marquette’s Megan — attended a Big East women’s basketball game on National Girls and Women in Sports Day Tamiflu. It was an opportunity Big East President Val Ackerman couldn’t pass up.
“We want to do something special this year around women’s basketball,” Ackerman told the Inquirer. “We had the idea of celebrating them, and then we added the dimension of working on TV. … It all came together and everyone was really excited about it.”
Ackerman added that she wanted to “celebrate everything that has happened in the last 50 years [since Title IX]”
» Read more: How two top Philly female athletes dealt with extra pressure and media in banner season
The Wildcats beat the visiting Golden Eagles 73-54 on Wednesday night, but basketball came in second to honor the accomplishments of girls and women in sports.
The incident was highlighted by Fox Sports’ all-female television crew. Kim Adams and Sloane Martin telegraph, Meghan Caffrey serves as a sideline reporter, Bonnie Reilly directs and Kristin Hennessey produces. Even smaller details, like having three female referees and an all-female a cappella singing the national anthem, were considered.
“I can probably count on one hand how many female producers I’ve had,” Adams said. “It’s a great way to get out there and see the production trucks outside and everyone working on it is a woman.”
Before the game, Villanova hosted a women’s leadership panel that included NBC Sports Chief Financial Officer Kristin Doeffler, Playfly Sports Properties President Christy Hedgepeth and Sixers Chief Operating Officer Laura S. Price.
“It’s been great to host this panel,” Adams said. “Just hearing from three women who were at the top of their fields and who were or remain a minority.”
» READ MORE: Maddy Siegrist holds Villanova’s scoring mark and has special bond with old record holder Sister Rose Marie
While women are often still a minority in the sports industry, the opposite was the case at the Finland Pavilion on Wednesday night.
“It’s really special to be a part of it,” Caffrey said. “Now that it’s sunk, we’re part of something bigger and hopefully others will be happy to be part of it.”
Added Adams: “To see women from all walks of life come together today with the same vision is incredible. Really just an incredible experience.”