Several women pioneers in the sports world earned Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) and other honors from the United States Sports Academy’s 28th annual Awards of Sport to highlight the 40th anniversary of the landmark Title IX legislation that ushered in a new era of gender equity in college athletics.

Pat Summitt (right), the former University of Tennessee head women's basketball coach, earned an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy in 2008 that was presented by Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (left). Summitt has won more basketball games than any other college coach in history, men’s or women’s.

The Academy’s Awards of Sport event annually pays tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport and follows the theme “The Artist & the Athlete.”  The awards show, which marks the university’s 40 years of excellence in sport education, is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Academy’s Daphne, Ala., campus located at One Academy Drive.

In addition to Title IX advocates, this year’s Awards of Sport also honors several athletes, coaches and administrators who participated in the 2012 London Olympics. (Click here to see a complete list of the Academy’s 2012 Awards of Sport honorees.)

Among the nation’s top women in sports to be recognized by the Academy during to mark the 40th anniversary of Title IX are:

Billie Jean King, who earned an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy, is a legendary women’s professional tennis player who empowered women and educated men when she defeated Bobby Riggs in one of the greatest moments in sports history—the Battle of the Sexes in 1973. She continues to be a force in the advancement of women’s sports today.

Christine Grant, who earned the Academy’s Distinguished Service Award, is one of the most highly respected college sports administrators, especially for her work with Title IX and as a founding member and past president of Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). Grant, the University of Iowa’s former women’s athletic director, is viewed as one of the most respected scholars and activists on the Title IX issue.

Sue Gozansky is being honored with a DSA for her career as a player, coach, administrator and eventually a strong proponent for women’s sports during the 40-year evolution of Title IX. Gozansky began forging a path in women’s athletics before the law passed in 1972, playing on the UCLA and U.S. national volleyball team. In 1970, when she was hired at University of California, Riverside, she became one of the few female collegiate coaches in the United States.

Julie Foudy, a former star American women soccer player and current ESPN sportscaster, earned a Distinguished Service Award for becoming an outspoken advocate for women in sports in 2003 when the Title IX Commission was trying to weaken the landmark federal law. Foudy publicly criticized the Commission, attacking its proposed changes for among other things ignoring critical evidence, slanting facts, and inaccurately portraying the commission’s process as “open, fair and inclusive.”

For more background on the Academy’s Awards of Sport and a list of past winners, click here.

Please, join us for the Awards of Sport celebration at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1 at the United States Sports Academy, located at One Academy Drive in Daphne, Ala. Wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. RSVP today by calling (251) 626-3303 or by emailing