We celebrate the 45th year of Title IX by highlighting some empowering females in the Wolf Pack Athletics Department.
Because of Title IX: Livia Mahaffie
Assistant Track & Field/Cross Country Coach, Loyola University New Orleans
Finish this sentence: "Because of Title IX, I …"
Because of Title IX I was able to compete as a collegiate athlete and pursue my dream of coaching collegiate cross country/track & field.
How have athletic and academic opportunities afforded to you because of Title IX impacted your life?
I discovered my passion for coaching while competing as a collegiate athlete at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. That experience changed the course of my life. I saw the impact collegiate athletics could have on an individual, team, and campus community. I was lucky to have such a strong support system- from my teammates and coaches to administrators and professors- I was challenged to push my limits and take risks, to operate outside of my comfort zone, and was encouraged to get involved and have fun! I realized my junior year that I could be that positive role model for future collegiate athletes during their journey of personal growth and development. I realized I could utilize my talents, passion, and love for the sport and make a positive difference. If it weren't for Title IX and the courageous women before me, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Tell us about a female (coach, professor, mentor, family member, etc.) who championed you in pursuing your athletic/academic/professional goals. How did her influence inspire or affect you and your career?
Before my parents filed for divorce, things were pretty rocky at home. They argued a lot and money was tight. My grandmother saw this and wanted to help. She offered to enroll my brother and me into a swim club. My dad and his two brothers grew up in the pool, so my grandmother knew the power of sport and the positive influence it can have. My grandmother drove my brother and me to swim practice every day, five days a week. The pool was an hour away, one way. Practices were three hours long. She also took us to all of our swim meets, which were often. Without fail, my grandmother was our biggest supporter and advocate for our involvement in sport. This continued for nine years! I eventually left the swim club and joined my junior high's track team- which has shown to be a fruitful decision- however, if it weren't for my grandmother, I don't know if sports would have become such a major part of my life. I learned so many valuable life lessons through my involvement in swimming. I can say that my love for competitive sport developed during those formative years and because of that experience, I was able to carry that mindset into track and field.
How are you continuing to champion the next generation of women and girls in sports, and raise awareness of the importance of Title IX?
I hope to serve as a role model to fellow women that are interested in competing and or coaching at the collegiate level by showing them that through hard work and persistence, you can achieve anything you set your mind to! There will be roadblocks and barriers along the way, but what will set you apart is your ability to overcome those obstacles. Always act morally and ethically, put in 110% effort in all that you do, and never give up!
If you could send an empowering tweet to every woman and girl across the country, what would you send?
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe." -Gail Devers
For more information on the history and current state of Title IX: https://youtu.be/Vx0714i-fDg
Please click the following link for more information regarding the "Because of Title IX…" initiative: http://bit.ly/2pLy33J