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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Frances Hogan, May 23, 1991, and June 3, 1991. Interview L-0044. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Female athletes find unusual ways to reserve practice space

Hogan and the female athletes contended with inadequate practice space and competition from other school groups. The marching band interrupted field hockey practice so often that Hogan had the team run into the band formation once.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Frances Hogan, May 23, 1991, and June 3, 1991. Interview L-0044. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARY JO FESTLE:
And how often do you think they practiced a week?
FRANCES HOGAN:
In the early '50s, I would say twice a week. We had so many other duties like running intramurals, officiating, teaching, etc.
MARY JO FESTLE:
Which were every night?
FRANCES HOGAN:
Every night and the afternoons, too. Everything was different. Maybe we had two practices a week, sometimes three. But we never met every day until, say starting back in the late sixties. The last field hockey club I coached, we were playing Meredith College. We played where the Student Union Building is now. That was a first because the baseball diamond was there. The baseball coach agreed that we could use the outfield. We'd been maybe five minutes into the game when the band came out. They just started their practice right out in the middle of our game and marched right through. The Meredith team had to go home and we never finished that game. That is the way it was back then. We had to fight for every little thing. We used to play, way back in the forties and early fifties, out in Kenan Stadium, and we weren't allowed to put any lines down on the fields. So, for the striking circle, Mr. "Hutch", who was in charge of Kenan, would staple the circles down for me with rope, and any other markings I had to have were done with rope. And of course, by the end of the game, the players were all caught in the ropes and tripping around. But we had to do everything in Kenan. We couldn't use the field. We had to use the end zones, except for hockey. And it was just a hassle to haul everything up the hill, then get there and the gates would be locked. I can't tell you what I went through. If we had golf out there, it had to be behind the end lines, of course. And you hit out on the field and collected the balls. Archery was out there; golf, softball, field hockey. The women did not have an outdoor facility. Even out there in Kenan the band would take over. And so one day I was fed up with it and I said, "All right." And I told the girls to hit the ball directly in the middle of the band formation. I told everybody to chase the ball. I said, "Goal keeper and all. Everybody chase it." Instruments went everywhere and we made our point. It's just been a battle to practice. Even after my tennis club became more of a team than a club, and we were practicing every day, it was a hassle. I had to use the worst tennis courts on campus. And even then I could hardly use them because the boys would come in the gates and sit around just waiting to get them. So, finally I bought chains and every afternoon when I went out there, I'd chain up every gate, and when we finished practice, I'd unlock them. That was the way I had to do.
MARY JO FESTLE:
And you had to do that yourself? Just come up with some way to. . . . You probably bought the chains yourself.
FRANCES HOGAN:
There was no water on the tennis courts. They finally have a water fountain up there now. But the teams struggled. I mean, you'd have your opponents come in for basketball and "Oh, no. We've got to play in this box again?" The other schools called the women's gym "the box," and that's about what it was. The women's gym was not official regulation size for volleyball or basketball.
MARY JO FESTLE:
And so, did you have spectators?
FRANCES HOGAN:
We had them sometimes sitting in the windows. I remember Frank McGuire came down to see the girls play basketball, especially one girl. She was good. Coach McGuire said if she were a boy, he would have signed her up.
MARY JO FESTLE:
Really? Who was that?
FRANCES HOGAN:
Katherine Bolton. And she went on to teach at East Carolina. Very good athlete. And she and I used to compete a lot in badminton and other sports. She saw me not long ago and she said, "You know, I believe you're finally getting old enough and I believe I can beat you."