116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Editor’s note: This is 33rd in a series counting down the Top 50 moments in Iowa Hawkeyes women’s athletics history in the 50 days leading up to the 50th anniversary of Title IX in June.
Christine Grant already had national prominence as an advocate for women’s sports by the early 1980s, but Iowa’s women’s athletics director by no means lived like any kind of celebrity in the 1915-built Halsey Gym.
She had an “old, wooden school desk that a teacher might have in the ‘20s,” said Paula Jantz, a now-retired Iowa athletics official who worked closely with Grant.
Some of Grant’s assistants grabbed some carpet squares from a nearby store.
“We used to tell her that she should be impressed because she was the only person that had wall-to-wall carpeting,” Jantz said.
But Grant, and Iowa’s women’s athletics department as a whole, was about to experience a big upgrade.
Carver-Hawkeye Arena, “built with both (men’s and women’s) departments in mind,” opened in 1983 and offered significantly more space for women than many peer institutions.
Jantz estimated it was “one of the few, if not the only one” to be so equitable in space for the two departments.
“It really helped with the success that the women’s department had in the ‘80s and the ‘90s,” Jantz said.
The space on the third floor was split between the men’s and women’s departments. Grant designed it to have one big locker room for all the women’s teams before teams eventually had their own spaces in future renovations.
Grant viewed Carver-Hawkeye Arena as an “equal opportunity project,” Jantz said, and then-men’s athletics director Bump Elliott advocated for Grant’s vision, too.
“The initial draft of the design basically had all the men’s coaches with offices that had windows and all the women’s coaches in the back, no windows,” Jantz said. “Bump looked at it and said, ‘You need to go back to the drawing board on this.’”
Comments: (319) 398-8394; email@example.com