Gail Stevenson, girls’ sports advocate and Westchester Hall of Fame high school coach, passed away on January 25, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Born July 9, 1937 in Hingham, Mass., she distinguished herself early as a school athlete and drill team member. She attended Springfield College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science, and Seton Hall University, from which she received a Master’s in Guidance.
She taught Physical Education at Wayne and Manchester Regional High Schools before beginning a 30-year career at Rye Neck School as a Physical Education teacher and coach.
A pioneering advocate of girls’ athletics long before Title IX was passed by Congress in 1972 Ms. Stevenson’s field hockey teams participated in private school leagues before there were public school leagues. When Title IX took effect, she was the first woman chair of a girls’ sport, field hockey.
Her Westchester Hall of Fame career included a 327-25-26 national coaching record. She was named Section I Coach of the Year in 1982, 1985, and 1989, and Conference Coach of the Year 14 times. She won 17 League championships, nine Sectional championships, and five Regional championships. She coached the Eastern State and New York State Championship teams, as well as four All Americans. She also coached an undefeated Section I basketball team to a title.
Her former student-athletes and fellow coaches said the secret of her success was: “Dedication, loyalty, honesty, and most of all, heart. Ms. Stevenson was passionate in support of her beliefs and standards, and was a level-headed mentor and friend to many over her lifetime.”
In addition to coaching and athletics, she enjoyed a good read, music, dogs, and her “little corner of the world” in Truro, Mass., on Cape Cod.