Deb Johnston was a freshman golfer at Illinois State University when her coach, Dr. Laurie Mabry, began canceling golf meets and finding single-day coaches to fill in for her at other meets.

Johnston knew that her coach, who served as commissioner of champions, and then president, for the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women — the women’s counterpart for the male’s National Collegiate Athletic Association — which kept her plenty busy, but the young golfer didn’t understand what was so important in Washington D.C. that was keeping her coach’s attention.

“We didn’t know the enormity of it when it was going on, but [Mabry] would cancel golf meets or find us coaches who would be at the same tournaments because she had to be in Washington for senate subcommittee meetings,” Johnston said. “We just wanted to go to Iowa, to Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan.”

Mason Schweizer is an award-winning reporter who has been with the Daily Journal since 2017 and sports editor since 2019. Save for time at the University of Illinois and Wayne State College, Mason is a lifelong area resident.

Recommended for you