In Memoriam: Elma Neal Roane (1918-2011)

Elma Roane, a strong advocate for equal opportunity for women in college sports, has died at her home in Cordova, Tennessee, at the age of 93.

Roane was associated with the University of Memphis as a student, coach, faculty member, and administrator for more than 45 years. She graduated in 1940 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from what was then known as West Tennessee State Teachers College. For six years, she taught high school while earning her master’s degree at the University of Tennessee.

In 1946 she returned to Memphis as an instructor of physical education and rose to be the director of women’s athletics. She coached basketball, volleyball, and badminton, the latter a sport in which she was once nationally ranked.

A fieldhouse on the University of Memphis campus is named in her honor.

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