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Woodard, Lynette

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Lynette Woodard attended Wichita North High School and led the school to two state basketball titles. In 1977, Woodard came to KU to play college basketball. She was a four-time All American at KU and averaged 26 points a game and scored a total of 3,649 points at KU. In recognition of her athletic achievements, Woodard is the first KU woman to have her jersey hung at Allen Fieldhouse. She was also an outstanding student at KU, and twice she was named and Academic All American.

Woodard is truly the consummate trail-blazer: KU All-American in basketball and the holder of numerous records, an Olympic gold medalist, the first woman to play for the legendary Harlem Globetrotters, one of the first players to compete in the Women’s National Basketball Association, a member of the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, the first woman named to the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame, and most recently, the 2015 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball.

As a star athlete, Woodard helped vault women’s basketball onto the national stage, and as an accomplished student, she set the standard for balancing the dual roles demanded of student-athletes. She represented her country with grace and honor in leading the 1984 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal, and she achieved a number of “firsts” throughout her distinguished career. She ventured beyond sports to work as a stockbroker and financial adviser before returning to the University as an assistant coach. Woodard also served as athletics director for the Kansas City, Missouri, School District.

Among Woodard’s numerous honors is the 2015 Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) Women’s Professional Basketball “Trailblazer” Award, which she received with along with nine other female basketball icons. “The award recognizes some of the most influential people in professional women’s basketball, specifically those who helped blaze the trail, shape the overall landscape and pave the way for women’s professional basketball,” according to the WBCBL. “These 10 women have prevailed to greatness in a male dominated sport and give hope to young girls who inspire to be professional players, coaches, and team owners.” 

As the WBCBL noted in honoring her last year, Woodard has become a role model not only as a certifiable national star athlete but also on a more personal level as a coach and mentor to individual athletes and young women who seek to excel in any endeavor. Another of her many honors is the 1993 Fly Hyman Award, presented to Woodard by President Bill Clinton at the White House to an athlete who represents the dignity, spirit and commitment to excellence of Flo Hyman, captain of the 1983 U.S. Olympic volleyball team who died of Marfan’s Syndrome in 1986.  Through her hard work, determination, commitment, and service to others, she has inspired, motivated, and encouraged young girls and women to follow their dreams.

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