East Tennessee State University is home to a number of phenomenal faculty members, one of whom was recently recognized in a nationwide campaign. Last month, Gatorade launched “IX Who Shine” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a law passed in 1972 prohibiting sex-based discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. In it, they highlight nine women who have made significant impacts in the world of sport, including ETSU’s Margaret “Meg” Stone, director of the Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education.
Stone has held the women’s discus throw record for Great Britain since 1981 and her shot put best has been the Scottish record since 1983. A seven-time collegiate champion and holder of three Scottish titles, Stone took home gold from the 1982 Commonwealth Games. She is also a two-time Olympian, placing in the top 10 each time.
After an immensely successful athletic career, Stone proceeded to step into a career of “firsts.” She was hired as the head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Arizona, making her the first woman appointed in such a position at a Division I University. In 1999, she returned to Scotland to become the national track and field coach, making her the first woman in Europe to hold a national coaching position, and is the only woman ever to be honored with the “Legend in the Field Award” by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.
When approached by Gatorade to participate in “IX Who Shine,” which sought women who were instrumental in the promotion of gender-inclusive practices in collegiate sports, Stone was delighted to say she was familiar with all the women, if not personally, then by name. While proud to see the work they have been doing in their fields, Stone said that for her personally, gender has never been an issue.
“You know, people often ask me if being a woman in a male-dominated field has been difficult,” said Stone. “At a conference, I was asked what it was like to be a female coach, and an excellent strength and conditioning coach for the New England Patriots, Jonny Parker, jumped in and said, ‘Meg Stone has never been a female coach. She is a coach that happens to be female,’ and so I tend to lean that way when people are talking to me. I’m a coach first – the female bit comes second.
“I’ve had very, very few problems in the field as a woman. When people talk about challenges, the most difficult one I faced when I first started was getting the acceptance of the older generations. The kids will respect you if you know what you’re doing, if you’ve got passion and if you’ve got discipline.”