Starting up Women’s Sports
Was Lifetime Goal
for Assistant AD Munzer
No one has had as profound an effect on sports at Hutchinson Community College as Ruby Munzer.
She started women’s sports in 1974 – basketball, volleyball, track, cross country and tennis – built them into powerhouses from the word go, and kept them on top for the next 12 years until she retired in 1984.
Munzer was inducted in to the Quarterback Club Hall of Fame in 2002.
Munzer’s influence can still be seen. She persuaded Terry Masterson to coach the women’s cross country team shortly after he came to HCC 30 years ago. In 2001, Masterson’s squad won a national championship.
Her influence can also be seen in women’s basketball. Munzer got the program off to a flying start. She hired Larry Brin to coach the Blue Dragon’s second season. Two years later, his team took fourth in the nationals.
In 1975-76, the tennis team under Brin’s wife, Paula, went 9-1 and finished third in regionals.
Colleges all over the country were under the gun in 1972 to provide more opportunities for women in sports following enactment of the Title IX. The new law prohibited sex discrimination at public colleges, including in college sports.
Sam Butterfield, HCC’s athletic director at the time, turned to Munzer to start women’s sports.
Munzer was the logical choice. She had helped start the physical education program at HJC in 1962. And she had a reputation for being a no-nonsense manager who was determined to get the job done. According to Masterson, “She wore lots of hats and wore them well.” Munzer was also dean of women and drill team sponsor. She led the drill team all the 22 years she was at HCC.
Starting women’s sports was more than just a job for Munzer. It was a passion. She grew up in Eskeridge, Kan., and was all set to play sports in high school, just like her two older sisters did, when the new principal dropped women’s athletics.
“That’s the reason I went into physical education,” Munzer said. “I wanted women to have a chance to play. That happened, thanks to everyone who helped- the coaches and administrators.
Munzer started teaching right out of high school in 1937 while attending the Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia (now Emporia State) during the summers to get a degree. Munzer was determined. It took her 21 summers to get a bachelor’s and a master’s. “I never missed a year of teaching,” she said.
Munzer came to Hutch in 1950, right after receiving her degrees. She taught seven years at Sherman, three at Plaza and the last two at Central. Then she made the jump to HCC.
As head of Women’s athletics at HJC, Munzer attended as many games as she could, even away games. “I traveled with all the teams, no matter where they went,” Munzer said.
Once the doors opened, the doors she played a big part in opening, Ruby Munzer was determined to go through them and bring as many women as she could with her.