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Lynette Woodard

African American woman basketball player. Born: August 12, 1959, Wichita.

Lynette WoodardShe started shooting with a stuffed sock when learning basketball from her brother. By age 10 Lynette Woodard was in demand as a neighborhood basketball team member. The talented Wichita native was making her mark, often serving as team captain of the mostly male players.

As a ninth grader at Marshall Junior High School, Woodard was asked by the coach at Wichita North High to join the junior varsity team, but she declined. She preferred to wait until the following year to join the varsity team. At five-foot-eleven, Woodard was a standout in women's high school basketball. As a sophomore, she led her team to win the 5A state championship in 1975 and two years later received national recognition as an all-American high school team member.

Woodard took her team-playing philosophy to the University of Kansas in 1977. The Lady Jayhawks won three straight Big Eight Championships during Woodard's career with a 108-32 record (1978-1981). Woodard scored a total of 3,649 points in four years. Many of her records and honors are still unchallenged today.

The Kansan next put her talent to work for the U.S. Olympics. In 1980 Woodard was selected as one of twelve on the Olympic women's basketball team, but due to the U.S.-led boycott, her team did not participate. However, Woodard led a second Olympic women's basketball team to victory and to a gold medal in 1984.

In 1985 Woodard was signed as the first woman on the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. She played as a Globetrotter for two years before competing professionally on Japanese and Italian teams. In 1990 she was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. The Cleveland Rockers signed her in 1997 to play in the new Women's National Basketball Association.

Woodard served as the first athletics director for the Kansas City (Mo.) School District, as vice president of marketing for Magna Securities Corporation in New York City. In 1999 she began work as special assistant for external relations and women's basketball at the KU Athletics department, and head coach beginning in 2004. She was named the Native Sons and Daughters' Kansan of the Year in 2004. She currently works as a financial consultant in her home town of Wichita.

Entry: Woodard, Lynette

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: April 2010

Date Modified: August 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.