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Athletic Director, Office of | Eastern Kentucky University - Special Collections and Archives

Name: Athletic Director, Office of


Historical Note:

Intercollegiate athletics for both men and women have been an integral part of Eastern Kentucky University since its inception in 1906. The position of athletic director had been around for many years, but it became more institutionalized in 1928 when Thomas E. McDonough assumed leadership. McDonough was largely responsible for overseeing the construction of the Weaver Health Building (1931), and Old Hanger Stadium (1936). After McDonough's resignation in 1942, Charles "Turkey" Hughes took over the position. Mr. Hughes was responsible for restarting athletic programs which were temporarily dismantled due to World War II. In 1961, Glenn Presnell took over the job as athletic director. Presnell was director during a period of rapid expansion at the university. During his administration, Alumni Coliseum (1962) and Roy Kidd Stadium (1969) were both constructed. Donald Combs assumed the position in 1971 and served as director until 1991. During his tenure, women's sports were returned to the university's program after being discontinued in the early 1930s.

The enactment of Title IX, an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in 1972 increased the opportunity for women to participate in sports. According to the policy, schools receiving federal funding had to provide men and women with equitable resources in educational programs and activities. There was some confusion at first over whether Title IX applied to college sports. The issue was resolved in 1974 with the Javits Amendment, which stated that Title IX included athletics. Like other schools, Eastern Kentucky University was required to comply with Title IX and offer financial aid, sports programs, and other opportunities to women in proportion to those offered to men. 

When women's sports were reconstituted in 1973, a separate office, headed by Dr. Martha Mullins, was established to control their functions. However, in the early 1980s, the athletic offices were combined and they remain so today.  Many changes have taken place in the Athletic Director's Office, but it continues to remain a vital part of Eastern Kentucky University.

Note Author: Bobby Hart, Heidi Taylor-Caudill





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