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Pac-10 celebrates 25 years in women's sports

December 20, 2010

With 123 NCAA women’s team titles, an unrivaled 527 individual national championships, and a culture that has produced some of the greatest athletes of all time, the Pac-10 has plenty to showcase as it officially launches a celebration of 25 years in women’s sports.

No collegiate conference has had a greater impact on women’s sports than the Pac-10. Established in 1986, women’s sports in the Pac-10 have produced more national championships than any conference in the country and have forged a path for some of the most remarkable athletes to flourish, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Gail Devers, Cheryl Miller, Lisa Leslie, Lisa Fernandez, Jennie Finch, Mary T. Meagher, Janet Evans, Natalie Coughlin, Amanda Beard, Julie Foudy, Kerri Walsh, Bev Oden, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa to name a few.

“Celebrating 25 years in women’s sports in the Pac-10 allows us to pay tribute to the many influential people who have helped shape and define the landscape in women’s athletics,” said Larry Scott, Pac-10 commissioner. “The Pac-10 has been a leader in athletic excellence and providing opportunity for women in sports. We are proud of that heritage and are excited to celebrate some of the most amazing accomplishments and people in the history of sports.”

As part of the celebration, the Pac-10 has created a microsite dedicated to the anniversary, which will feature stories and videos on some of the most important events, the most successful coaches and greatest athletes ever to compete in the Pac-10.

 To help launch the celebration, the conference will unveil three public service announcements that have been produced by legendary copywriter Janet Champ, co-creator of the iconic Nike women’s fitness campaign in the 1990s.

“We are honored to pay tribute to the many remarkable women, past and present, who have worked so hard to establish the Pac-10 as a true leader in women’s athletics,” said Danette Leighton, chief marketing officer for the Pac-10. “Janet Champ is an icon, who has helped shape some of the world’s most powerful brands with her creative campaigns. Very few people have had more impact than Janet when it comes to empowering young girls and women, especially in sports. Having her join us for this celebration of women’s sports is truly a highlight to our program.”

Champ, who co-produced the groundbreaking "If You Let Me Play" campaign for Nike, that empowered young girls to participate in sports, has spent her entire career working to improve cultural representation of women and self-image in women. Aside from living in Oregon, she identified with the Pac-10’s celebration of women’s sports and volunteered to help.

“When the Pac-10 gauged my interest in bringing a voice to such a stellar group of athletes, interest was too mild a word,” Champ said. “These women paved the way for generations of athletes. They're true, unabashed role models for both genders. My art director partner, Rick McQuiston and I wanted to capture the true visceral connection between athlete, fan, competition and school. Together with our new company Switzerland, we think we've created something powerful.”

Coughlin, Finch and Leslie, three of the most decorated Pac-10 athletes of all time, provide the voices in the three PSAs, which speak to the athletes, the fans and the impact of sports. Dynamic images of some of the greatest female athletes from Pac-10 schools, including Joyner-Kersee (UCLA), Saori Haruguchi (Oregon State), Grace Park (Arizona State), Anna Mickelson (Washington), Kelly Blair LaBounty (Oregon), Jacquelyn Johnson (Arizona State), Natalie Williams (UCLA), Jennifer Azzi (Stanford), Tina Thompson (USC), Walsh (Stanford), Coughlin (Cal), Finch (Arizona) and Leslie (USC) paint a picture of the determination, perseverance and success that have defined women’s sports in the Pac-10.

The PSAs will air on Pac-10 men’s and women’s basketball broadcasts as well as the conference’s other televised events during the remainder of the 2010-2011 academic year. They also will be played on the video boards in each Pac-10 home arena.

“The history of support for women’s sports in the Pac-10 actually predates Title IX and predates NCAA participation,” said Lisa Love, Arizona State’s Vice President of Athletics. “The West has been so progressive in this area for a very long time that Title IX just gave it a launching point for a program that was already in existence.”