The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC 40/40: Women's Athletics - A Timeline

1594 days ago
Tammy Wilson | SEC Digital Network
Photo: SEC Digital Network

We begin our 40/40 journey with a brief timeline of important milestones and events in the history of women's athletics in the Southeastern Conference. While this list is not close to being comprehensive it highlights many moments in our league that may not have happened without Title IX.

1979-80: SEC championships for women's basketball, tennis and volleyball recognized.

1979: The Kentucky Wildcats win the first league title in volleyball with a 35-18 record and a 3-1 win over Tennessee in the tournament finals.

1980: The SEC begins its first ever women's basketball tournament. Held in Knoxville, the first ever tournament game played was Florida defeating Mississippi State, 68-62. Four days later, Pat Head's Tennessee Volunteers defeated Ole Miss, 85-71, in the championship game.

1980: Florida won the first SEC Champion in women's tennis. In the beginning, the championship was determined by the accumulation of points in an individual flighted tournament.

1980-81: SEC championships for women's golf, gymnastics, swimming & diving, and outdoor track & field added.

1981: The Florida Gators win the inaugural SEC swimming & diving title with 913 points.

1981: LSU captures the first SEC title in gymnastics with a score of 141.10.

1981: Georgia defeated Pittsburgh, California and Arizona State (in OT) to capture the NWIT Championship, the first-ever national championship of any kind for the SEC in women's basketball.

1981: Florida wins the first ever women's golf SEC title in Opelika, Ala. with a team score of 875. The Gators Lynn Connelly won the individual title with a score of 217.

1981: Tennessee scored 197 points at the first league outdoor track & field championships to take the title.

1982: The Tennessee Lady Vols become the first SEC team to reach the women's Final Four. After beating Jackson State, Memphis State and Southern Cal to reach the Final Four, the Volunteers lose to Louisiana Tech in the semifinals.

1982: Florida becomes the first SEC school to win an NCAA title in any sport. The Gators, under Coach Randy Reese, scored 505 points to take the swimming & diving national championship. The SEC has won 11 NCAA titles in the sport of swimming & diving.

1982: Florida swimmer Tracy Caulkins was the first SEC female athlete to be chosen as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year, an award known as the Honda-Broderick Cup. Caulkins won it again in 1984. In addition, Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee), Candace Parker (Tennessee) and Courtney Kupets (Georgia) have won the prestigious award.

1983: Tennessee wins the first SEC Cross Country Championship held in Lexington, Ky.

1983: Georgia becomes the first school to have both its men's and women's teams reach the Final Four. Andy Landers' women defeated North Carolina, Indiana and Tennessee before losing to Southern California in the semifinals of the Final Four held in Norfolk, Va.

1984: Tennessee wins the first SEC Indoor track & field Championship with 148.5 points.

September 1, 1984: Women's athletics comes under the auspice of the SEC.

1985: Florida wins the NCAA title in golf, the first national championship in the sport for the league. Four national titles have been won in women's golf. Florida won again in 1986, Georgia in 2001 and Alabama won in 2012.

1987: Georgia wins the national title in gymnastics, scoring 187.90 points. Georgia has won ten NCAA titles in gymnastics, while Alabama has won six to give the conference a total of 16.

1987: Pat Summitt's Lady Volunteers win their, and the SEC's, first ever NCAA title in women's basketball when Tennessee defeated Louisiana Tech, 67-44, in Austin, Texas. Tennessee has won all seven SEC national titles in basketball.

1987: LSU win the NCAA title in Indoor Track & Field. A total of 14 national titles have been won by SEC women's indoor teams.

1987: LSU also wins the first NCAA Outdoor Track & Field title for the league. They won the league's 17th title in the sport in 2012.

1988: Auburn and Tennessee reach the Final Four of the women's NCAA Basketball Tournament, marking the first time one conference had two teams in the final round. Louisiana Tech defeated the Lady Vols in the semifinals and nipped Joe Ciampi's Auburn Tigers, 56-54, in the championship game.

1988: The Kentucky Wildcats take home the only SEC national title in cross country.

1989: The league has the top three teams (1. Auburn 2. Tennessee 3. Ole Miss) in the Associated Press Women's Basketball Poll. The SEC would go on to do it again in 2005 (1. Tennessee 2. LSU 3. Georgia).

1989: Tennessee's and Auburn's women's basketball teams again reach the Final Four and this time both make it to the championship game where Pat Summitt's Volunteers defeat Joe Ciampi's Tigers, 76-60 for the national crown. It is the first time that the same conference has two teams in the title tilt.

1992: Florida wins the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship. It's the first of eight national titles in women's tennis for the conference. Georgia has won two, while the Gators have won six including the 2012 title.

1993: SEC institutions adopt the Principles of Gender Equity recognizing that each school will provide at least two more women's intercollegiate programs than the number of men's.

1993: Vanderbilt defeats Arkansas 3-2 in double overtime to take the first SEC crown in soccer. Soccer became a sponsored sport by the SEC with four teams playing (Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky and Vanderbilt). All 12 members began play in 1996.

1995: FOX Sports South broadcasted the SEC Tournament Championship match between Alabama and Kentucky on a tape-delayed basis, signifying the first appearance of an SEC women's soccer match on television.

1995: Lea Slatter of Vanderbilt becomes the first SEC soccer player named an All-American. The NSCAA named her to the third-team.

1997: South Carolina's Trinity Johnson pitches the first perfect game in SEC softball history. The Gamecocks defeated North Carolina, 1-0.

1997: South Carolina defeated Florida, 6-0 to win the first SEC Softball Championship.

1997: Tennessee's Dena Head becomes the first SEC player to be drafted by the WNBA. Head was drafter first overall in the first round of the Elite Draft. Since the inaugural WNBA draft in 1997, the SEC has had 119 former players drafted for the professional league, including five No. 1 picks.

1998: Florida wins the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer College Cup with a 1-0 victory over North Carolina. It's the only national title in soccer for the league.

1998: The SEC entered the record book as the only conference to sweep the top three spots at the NCAA gymnastics meet (Georgia, Florida, Alabama).

1999: The SEC was the first league to ever have eight teams invited to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The league matched the feat in 2002 and 2012.

2004: Kristin Schmidt of LSU becomes the SEC's first Women's College World Series MVP.

2007: Vanderbilt wins the national championship in women's bowling. The Commodores are the only SEC institution with a bowling team.

2007: Monica Abbott of Tennessee throws two no-hitters, five days apart, in the NCAA Women's College World Series.

2007: The Tennessee Lady Vols reached No. 1 in both the Softball poll and the NFCA poll. They were the first SEC team to ever reach No. 1 in the softball polls.

2009: A league record nine teams received a bid into the NCAA Division I Softball Championship. The SEC matched that number in 2012.

2011: A league record eight teams receive invitations to compete in the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship.

2011: Kentucky wins the national title in Rifle, a co-ed sport.

2012: Alabama becomes the first Southeastern Conference team to win an NCAA softball championship with their 5-4 win over Oklahoma.

2012: It's announced that the SEC will determine a league champion in equestrian beginning in the 2012-2013 season. It becomes the 21st sports sponsored by the league. Currently Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M compete in collegiate equestrian.

July 1, 2012: Texas A&M and Missouri join the league. Both schools will compete in basketball, cross county, golf, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball. Missouri will also compete in gymnastics, while TAMU will compete in equestrian.