July 10, 2012
UCLA Athletics continues its celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX with a series of profiles of UCLA's Title IX 40. This group of 40 Bruin women were game-changers in the Title IX era. The next two profiles are of a pair of Hall of Famers from the 1970's - softball player and former head coach Sue Enquist and women's basketball legend Ann Meyers Drysdale.
Sue Enquist, Softball (1975-78)
During her 31 years with the UCLA Softball team, Sue Enquist achieved elite status at all levels - player, assistant coach, co-head coach and head coach - and was involved in a total of 11 national championships.
As a standout player with a career batting average of .401 from 1975-78, Enquist led the Bruins to their first national championship, the 1978 AIAW crown. That year, she became UCLA's first-ever softball All-American and led the team with a .391 batting average.
After her collegiate career, Enquist was a three-time American Softball Association (ASA) All-American for the Raybestos Brakettes and led the team to four ASA National Championships. In international play, Enquist earned gold medals at three National Sports Festivals, the 1978 World Championships and the 1979 Pan American Games.
Enquist moved into coaching soon after her playing career, serving as a UCLA assistant coach under Sharron Backus from 1980-88. During those years, UCLA won four NCAA Championships - 1982 (the first-ever NCAA Softball Championship), 1984, 1985 and 1988. Enquist was promoted to co-head coach with Backus in 1989, and the duo led UCLA to three more NCAA titles in 1989, 1990 and 1992.
After Backus retired at the end of the 1996 season, Enquist became UCLA's sole head coach. In the next 10 years (1997-2006), the Bruins captured three additional NCAA crowns (1999, 2003 and 2004). Enquist retired in 2006 with a UCLA career coaching record of 887-175-1 in 18 years as a co-head coach and head coach (her .835 winning percentage puts her at the top of the NCAA charts for Division I head softball coaches), and she now works on special projects in the UCLA Athletics Development Office.
During her UCLA coaching career, Enquist mentored 60 All-Americans, 31 National team members, 12 Olympians, and seven Honda Award winners. She led UCLA to seven conference championships and was a three-time National and Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Enquist was enshrined into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006, the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and was the first Bruin softball player to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993. Her Bruin jersey (#6) was retired in 2000.
Ann Meyers (Drysdale), Basketball (1975-78)
Ann Meyers has been at the forefront of women's advancement in sports throughout her career as a basketball player, sports journalist and NBA/WNBA executive.
The first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship to UCLA, Meyers was the first collegiate women's basketball player ever to earn four All-America honors (1975-78). As a senior, she helped lead UCLA to the school's first women's basketball national title and earned the Broderick Cup as the Collegiate Athlete of the Year across all women's sports. Meyers finished her Bruin basketball playing career as UCLA's leader in 12 of 13 school records and still holds the mark for career steals and blocked shots. She led UCLA to a four-year record of 84-14, including a 35-1 mark in Pauley Pavilion and four consecutive conference titles. She had 84 double-digit scoring games, including 36, 20+ single-game scoring outbursts.
A multi-sport UCLA standout, she was a high jumper and pentathlete on the Bruins' 1975 track & field national championship women's squad and also played volleyball on Andy Banachowski's women's team.
In 1979, Meyers became the first (and only) woman to sign a free-agent contract with an NBA franchise (Indiana Pacers). Although she did not make the team, she then went onto to a standout career from 1979-1980 with the New Jersey Gems (Women's Professional Basketball League), earning co-MVP and top scoring honors. Meyers was also a standout for the USA National team and was the first woman to be involved with the squad while still in high school. She helped lead the U.S. to the gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games and to a silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Games.
Following her playing career, she has served as a network television sports analyst for ESPN, CBS and NBC for nearly 30 years. She has been the women's basketball analyst at four Olympic Games (1984, 2000, 2004, 2008), and from 1997-2002, she was NBC's lead analyst for the WNBA. She also became the first woman ever to do game analysis for an NBA team (Indiana Pacers). Meyers' network career also covered women's and men's college basketball (from 1989-91 she was the radio analyst for UCLA men's basketball) and NCAA softball and women's volleyball. In 2006, she earned the U.S. Sports Academy's Ronald Reagan Media Award, joining an elite list of previous winners, including Howard Cosell, Bob Costas, Keith Jackson and Frank Deford.
As she did during her playing days, Meyers achieved many firsts while being honored for her career. In 1988, she became the first UCLA female student-athlete to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame. In 1990, she and former teammate Denise Curry joined Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the first UCLA basketball players ever to have their jersey numbers retired. In 1993, Meyers was the first UCLA women's basketball player and the third female to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Additionally, she was inducted into the Halls of Fame for Women's Sports (1987), Women's Basketball (1999 charter class) and FIBA (2007 charter class/International Basketball Federation). In 2002, she was given the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, honoring her for her life's contributions.
Meyers and her late husband, Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale, had three children - sons Don, Jr. and Darren and daughter Drew, a sophomore high jumper on the UCLA women's track and field team.
Since 2006, Meyers has served as President and General Manager of the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA) and Vice President of the Phoenix Suns (NBA). She recently released her autobiography, `You Let Some Girl Beat You? The Story of Ann Meyers Drysdale'.