SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri State University and the NCAA lost a pioneer in women athletics.
Doctor Mary Jo Wynn passed away yesterday in Springfield.
The 87-year old was a Missouri State icon and trail blazer. Dr. Wynn was a part of Bear athletics for nearly 50 years.
The Hartville native graduated from the university in 1953. She started coaching Bears women’s sports five years later and in 1975 became the very first women athletics director at what is now Missouri State.
When Title IX championed women athletics, Dr. Mary Jo Wynn was ready. She helped build the Lady Bears athletic teams into national powers. The softball and field hockey teams won AIAW national championships. She hired Cheryl Burnett as the Lady Bears coach and Burnett led the women basketball team to two final four appearances.
Dr. Mary Jo Wynn was named a Missouri sports legend and is in numerous halls of fame.
Retired Bears Athletics Director Bill Rowe remembers the hard work she did in building the Lady Bears basketball program.
“Once they got started and the Lady Bears were winning. It was a never ending deal. It just kept going. I jokingly told her one time. I’ll never forget it and she won’t either. If she were here she’d laugh right now. I said Mary Jo is anybody paying? She said they will. And they did. It’s like the biblical one, she’s run the race, really, really well. She’s completed the task in lots of different ways. We’re grateful for the life of Mary Jo Wynn believe me,” said Rowe.
Other reaction today following the death of Dr. Mary Jo Wynn.
“She was an amazing administrator, person, mentor. Such a feeling of loss,” said former Lady Bears coach Cheryl Burnett.
“Today’s news comes with true sorrow. The impact she had on our campus, particularly within intercollegiate athletics, is felt every single day,” said Missouri State Athletics Director Kyle Moats.
I’m Dan Lucy with your Ozarks First web sports.