The award recognizes her advocacy for women in sports.
The National Title IX Holiday Invitational Classic ended not only with a fifth-place finish for the Sidwell Friends girls’ varsity basketball team but also with a surprise honor for their coach, Anne Renninger.
Tournament organizers presented Anne, the head of physical education at Sidwell Friends, with the Patsy T. Mink Equity in Education Award in honor of her long tenure promoting women’s sports as an athletic director and girls’ basketball coach. Janice Dove Johnson, executive director of the Sankofa Project, the tournament organizer, even credited Anne with first giving her the idea to host a tournament in connection with an existing annual conference on Title IX.
“It really means a lot, because of how important Title IX has been in my life and how, in my lifetime, it has changed opportunities for girls and women,” Anne said of the award. Patsy Mink, a congresswoman from Hawaii, was instrumental in writing and championing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the law that requires equal educational opportunities for women, including sports.
Anne was a sophomore in college when Title IX passed, and it was just taking effect as she began her coaching career in 1975. As the first head coach of the George Washington University varsity women’s basketball team, Anne gave the university’s first scholarship to a woman basketball player.
“I’ve always been on the cusp” of opportunities for women in sports, said Anne. “I’ve tried to give back and help organizations and entities that are trying to expand opportunities for girls, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Some of the best compliments I’ve received came from organizations that have struggled, and they’ve appreciated what I tried to do in that area.”