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ECCC honors letterwomen

By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
Oct. 6, 2003
DECATUR There was a time when women's basketball didn't exist for fame or fortune. The athletes didn't even receive scholarships. Or something as simple as letters signifying that they had in fact played college sports for their school.
They wore homemade uniforms and furnished their own socks and shoes and paid for their own meals.
What those ladies did play for was their great love of the game.
East Central Community College honored its women's basketball players from 1956-75 Saturday during homecoming ceremonies by presenting them with the EC letters indicating what they accomplished during their time here. Former ECJC (as it was then known) coach Lucille Wood, still a member of the school's staff and holder of more state championships than any other coach at ECCC, gladly handed out the long overdue letters to her former players.
At the time they played, none of the women thought about why the men received letters for playing sports and the women didn't.
Rita Gibbon returned from Birmingham, Ala., to receive her letter. ECJC didn't even have a women's basketball team her freshman year.
Other ECJC players over the years include LSU women's basketball coach Sue Gunter, Meridian Community College tennis coach Wanda Blackwell McPhail, and current Warren Central softball and former soccer coach Lucy Young.
The MACJC dropped women's basketball as a sanctioned sport in 1954. A few years after Wood joined the ECJC staff, she organized a club team and traveled the state playing other club teams.
In 1968, ECJC hosted the first state tournament with Hinds, Gulf Coast, and Mississippi State College for Women (now MUW) competing. ECJC won the tournament.
The 1970 ECJC team also won a state championship.