Interview with Jill Hutchison, Class of 1969


Jill Hutchison



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Oral history interview with Illinois State University alum and retired women’s basketball coach Dr. Jill Hutchison. The interview was conducted on June 28, 2023 by Ayushi Shukla, at the time an undergraduate student at Illinois State University.

Hutchison, born in the Bronx, New York, recounts her upbringing as an “Army brat,” moving frequently due to her father's military assignments. She highlights her exposure to diverse cultures and experiences, including living in Japan immediately after World War II. Her academic journey led her to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico before obtaining her master's degree at ISU in exercise physiology. Notably, her thesis research on female athletes' heart rates influenced a change in the rules for women’s basketball.

In 1970 she was hired into ISU’s Department of Health and Physical Education for Women as a faculty member and women’s basketball coach. She remained the university’s head women’s basketball coach for 28 years with a short break between 1973 and 1974 to pursue her doctoral degree at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Reflecting on her time at ISU, Hutchison recalls impactful colleagues like Phebe Scott and Laurie Mabry and remembers the university presidents she served under as being very supportive of women’s athletics.

Hutchison delves into the challenges and divisive issues in women's athletics during the 1970s and 80s, particularly regarding Title IX and the transition to NCAA governance. She highlights her coaching achievements, including leading the United States to a gold medal at the 1983 World University Games and a silver medal at the 1978 Pan American Games. As the first president of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, Hutchison sought to represent women's basketball interests within the NCAA (which had otherwise cut coaches out of governance of the sport) and recognize players’ and coaches’ achievements with awards.

Hutchison concludes by describing her role in organizing the first AIAW Women’s Basketball Tournament, which took place at ISU in 1972 and required ten months meticulous planning. While crowds for the first tournament were “terrible,” within a few years the Final Four games were receiving national television coverage – “a huge step for women’s basketball” in her estimation.

Hutchison provided two oral history interviews regarding her career to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The first, which was recorded in 2004, is available at She and her colleague Linda Herman were also interviewed for the Redbird Buzz podcast in 2022:

Interview Date



  • Introduction; Hutchison’s early life: 00:00-01:58
  • Pursuing graduate degree in exercise physiology at ISU: 01:58-04:16
  • President Braden; first impressions of Department of Health and Physical Education for Women: 04:16-05:55
  • Notable faculty: 05:55-07:05
  • Significant events on campus in the late 1960s to early 1970s: 07:05-08:52
  • Notable female colleagues; observations on leadership qualities: 08:52-11:54
  • Beginning work at ISU; doctoral degree at University of North Carolina at Greensboro: 11:54-13:12
  • Navigating implementation of Title IX: 13:12-16:33
  • NCAA takeover of AIAW: 16:33-19:13
  • Most meaningful career accomplishments: 19:13-22:52
  • Changes to ISU since Hutchison’s retirement: 22:52-24:54
  • Reflections on evolving leadership style and university support for women’s athletics: 24:54-27:22
  • Serving as first president of Women’s Basketball Coaches Association: 27:2-28:45
  • Coaching at 1983 World University Games and 1978 Pan American Games: 28:45-30:17
  • Organizing first AIAW Women’s Basketball Tournament: 30:17-35:08

Interview with Jill Hutchison, Class of 1969