Fifty years is a long time to participate in any profession, but for Mary Lou Lanes, the time has flown by. Lanes, who is currently an assistant coach for the Montevideo Thunder Hawks golf teams, began her coaching career in 1968

Fifty years is a long time to participate in any profession, but for Mary Lou Lanes, the time has flown by. Lanes, who is currently an assistant coach for the Montevideo Thunder Hawks golf teams, began her coaching career in 1968.

Lanes grew up on a farm near Wegdahl and attended college at Augsburg, where she played basketball and graduated with a degree in physical education. She always had a strong desire to coach. This was before Title IX, and coaching was considered to be a man’s occupation.

Lanes’ first coaching opportunity came when she was hired straight out of college to coach basketball at Sacred Heart. She stayed at Sacred Heart for five years before going to coach at Marshall. “At Marshall, I coached volleyball, basketball, gymnastics and track.”

She then coached volleyball, track, basketball and softball at Brooten. After that, she ended up in Maynard in 1985, when Maynard and Clara City paired up. That year, their basketball team won the state championship.

In the fall of 1985, Lanes came to Montevideo where she coached tennis, basketball, track, softball and golf, which she still coaches today.

“I went to school to become a coach. In fact, I gave up teaching so I could coach. My goal when I graduated from college was to introduce girls to athletics, not dreaming that Title IX would come along and help,” said Lanes.

Title IX, which ensured that girls had equal opportunities to participate in athletics, came about in 1972. Prior to that, there were very few, if any, opportunities for girls to participate in sports.

“When I started coaching at Sacred Heart, the only other school I knew that had girls basketball was Glencoe, and they played in the Minneapolis Park Board system,” Lanes said. Title IX changed everything. “Even schools that didn’t want girls athletics were somewhat forced to accommodate,” she added.

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