Women of USU: Then and Now, Women in Athletics

By Alana Miller Manesse |

The 1978 women's volleyball team claimed the Aggies first-ever national championship for any sport, men's or women's.Pictured: Front Row (L-R): Katrinka Crawford, Jill Hirschinger, Sheryl Meyer, Deia Kidd, Back Row (L-R): Drora Epstein, Gayle Adamowicz, Jo Ellen Vrazel, Sandy Lynn, Lucia Chudy, Annette Cottle, Jan Corley.

Since its earliest days, women at Utah State University have had a huge impact on the cultural, scientific, economic, and social fabric of the institution. The Year of the Woman shares these critical voices simply because their stories matter.

As an institution that has provided women with opportunities to participate in sports and physical activity since its founding, Utah State University joins with the nation in celebrating the 34th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 5, 2020, a celebration that recognizes women’s contributions to sports and society. Earliest Utah State records note an organized women’s baseball team by 1898 and a competitive basketball team by 1901. While not competing in an organized collegiate league, women’s teams engaged with local teams, including the Brigham Young Academy. 

For much of the university’s history, women only participated in intramural athletics, as there was not equality within athletic programs and USU women did not have a league to compete in or the funding to do so. 

In 1972, United States President Richard Nixon signed the bill creating Title IX, mandating equality in college athletic programs for men and women. It was not until 1976 that the USU Women’s Athletic Program began to take root. The university hired Marilyn Weiss as the university’s first Women’s Athletics Director.

1978 Women’s Volleyball
On December 9, 1978 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, tension was high for the ‘Ag Gals.’ Having been stripped of its number one national ranking just the weekend before, the women were determined to reclaim their title. In the championship game against the UCLA Bruins, the Aggies had claimed the first two sets while UCLA claimed the third. The Aggies didn’t need the fifth set, however, when they won the match in the fourth set with a score of 15-12!

A legendary night in USU athletics, the 1978 women’s volleyball team claimed the Aggies first-ever national championship for any sport, men’s or women’s. In a Herald Journal article from December 10, 1978, co-head coach Mary Jo Peppler said, “It’s a dream we had all year. The girls deserved it, and we got it.” 

Led by All-Americans Annette Cottle, Sandy Lynn and Lucia Chudy, Utah State had a 42-4-2 record during the season, including 26 straight wins to start the year. The Aggies went on to conclude the season with 12 straight wins, including its victory in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). 

This season proved to be the best several of the players had seen. Annette Cottle received All-American honors and the Broderick Award as the nation’s top player, while Sandy Lynn was named to the AIAW all-tournament team. The season also allowed for Lucia Chudy to set herself apart as an excellent player; she would go on to earn several All-American honors.

In 2008, the 1978 volleyball team was inducted into the USU Athletics Hall of fame, the first team ever inducted.

Amy Crosbie (1997-2002)
Amy Crosbie was a four-year letter winner for the Utah State University Volleyball team from 1997-2000 and helped lead the aggies to their first NCAA Tournament in 2000. She earned several honors from the Big West Conference, and she still ranks in the top ten in school history with 1,463 kills, fourth with 3,627 attempts, sixth with 98 service aces and eighth with 120 matches played. In 2001, she received the USU Robins Award for Female Athlete of the Year. In an article from the Statesman in 2001, Crosbie said that an individual’s award reflects the whole team and that “You don’t get those kinds of awards without your teammates.”

Following her collegiate career, she spent two years as an assistant volleyball coach for the Aggies.

Crosbie was born and raised in Visalia, California and attended Redwood High School prior to attending USU, where she graduated with a bachelor’s in family and consumer science in 2002. After graduation, Crosbie began a career in athletic administration at USU where she spent seven years as the assistant director of Student-Athlete Services, serving as an academic advisor and CHAMPS life skills director.

From USU, Crosbie went on to work at Weber State University where she worked with the director of athletics and oversaw student-athletes’ well-being, compliance and academics. She also worked as the sport administrator for softball, volleyball, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s golf. Additionally, Crosbie also participated on various Big Sky Conference and Weber State University Committees. In 2016, she received the Dixon Award, recognizing her for a career of excellence and going above and beyond to support students. Later in 2019, Crosbie received the WSU Friend of Student Crystal Crest Award, which is awarded to a non-faculty member who has demonstrated a willingness to go beyond conventional expectations in an effort to enhance the quality of WSU student life.

In addition to earning her bachelor’s from USU, Crosbie is a graduate of the 2012-13 NCAA Pathway Program class and earned her master’s degree from Weber State University in professional communication in 2014.

Crosbie has also worked as a facilitator for the National Consortium for Academics and Sport Mentors in Violence Prevention and Branded a Leader programs working with intercollegiate athletic departments, NASCAR and the NBA. She also spent time with the NCAA developing curriculum for their annual Leadership Forum and Leadership Academy Workshop.

In 2019, Crosbie returned to USU as the executive associate athletic director/senior woman administrator for Athletics. Her other responsibilities include planning, coordination and implementing student-athlete support services for the entire athletic department, overseeing compliance, strength and conditioning and assisting in sports supervision of various sports. She is married to Jeff Crosbie (USU Alum) and is the proud mom of three children: Kiera, Ellie and Carter.

The Utah Stateman, April 27, 2001
Utah State University Staff Directory
“An Encyclopedic History of Utah State University” by Robert Parson
USU Athletics


Alana Miller Manesse
Research Assistant
Year of the Woman


Joyce Kinkead
Professor, Co-Chair
Department of English


Athletics 163stories Women 150stories History 100stories Year of the Woman 85stories

Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.

Next Story in Athletics

See Also