Basketball Career - Donna Lopiano, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, is credited with doing more for women’s sports in the United States than any other individual. She was named one of “The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sports” by Fox Sports and listed by The Sporting News as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Sports.”
Lopiano was born in Stamford, where at age eleven, she tried out and was chosen as a pitcher for the local Little League team only to have an adult invoke the “boys only” rule as she stood in line for her uniform. Denied the opportunity to play Little League as a child, Lopiano has spent her adult life making sure young girls have opportunities she did not.
Lopiano played basketball at Stamford High School before attending Southern CT State College. She played for Coach Louise O’Neal, whom she credits for having the most influence on her career. Southern’s five trips to the AIAW National Championships are among her greatest basketball thrills.
As an athlete, Lopiano participated in 26 national championships in four different sports. Sports Illustrated Women named her as one of the century’s greatest sportswomen.
Lopiano coached basketball, volleyball, and softball at Brooklyn College before becoming the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women at the University of Texas in 1975. At Texas, she earned a reputation for holding her coaches responsible for both winning and insuring satis-factory progress of their athletes toward a degree.
Some of Donna's most recent honors include the Jacobs Institute for Women's Health, Excellence in Women's Health Award (2002), the U.S. Sports Academy Distinguished Service Award (2001), and induction into the Institute for International Sports Hall of Fame as an International Scholar-Athlete (1999). Her commitment to excellence in women's sports is evident not only in her own participation, but also in her education, career path, professional organizational affiliations, publications,videos, and multiple distinguished honors. Lopiano, a past-president of the AIAW, became the Executive Director of the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1992 and has worked tirelessly to ensure compliance with Title IX throughout the country since that time.