NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In conjunction with the Southeastern Conference’s 50th anniversary of its Title IX celebration, a distinguished group of individuals from all 14 SEC member institutions will be honored during the SEC Women’s basketball tournament (March 2-6) in Nashville.
Known as SEC Trailblazers, this group has contributed to the advancement of women and the growth of women’s athletics at their universities and within the Southeastern Conference.
Sharon Shields and Teresa Lawrence Phillips will be recognized as Vanderbilt’s honorees.
Phillips, a former athletic director at Tennessee State, made history as the first female Black student-athlete at Vanderbilt. She became Vanderbilt’s “Lady Commodore Athlete” in 1980. Phillips returned to Nashville in 1981 to become an assistant coach and helped Vandy win the WNIT championship in 1984.
Phillips became the athletic director at Tennessee State in 2001 and also coached women’s basketball at both Tennessee State and Fisk.
Shields’ career has focused on teaching, clinical research and practice in the area of exercise physiology, health promotion and disease prevention, community health and university/community service-learning and civic engagement initiatives. She became a faculty member at Peabody College in 1976 and was co-founder and program director of the Kim Dayani Human Performance Center at the Vanderbilt Medical Center.
She served as the interim director of the State and Local Policy Center at the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies and as assistant provost for academic service-learning. In the summer of 2005, she was a fellow at the National Poverty Center and, in 2005, was the recipient of a Fellowship from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Each trailblazer will be honored on court during half-time of their team’s first game of the tournament as well as with the full group of honorees on semifinal Saturday.
The SEC will have a yearlong celebration of the anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation enacted half a century ago that has had a dramatic and lasting impact on opportunities for women in collegiate athletics.
Under the banner of, “50th Anniversary of Title IX: Creating Opportunities,” the SEC’s celebration will include recognitions at Conference championship events, commemoration of achievements through online and social media channels, commemorative memorabilia and a collaboration with the SEC Network highlighting the advancement of women’s sports.