Dr. Kaye McDonald
In the 1960s and ‘70s women’s sports were, to say the least, an afterthought. That is, the few you could actually find. One Mesa Community College Hall of Fame member can be counted among the pioneers who helped create the opportunities young women of today enjoy.
Dr. Kaye McDonald began teaching at Mesa in 1966, just about the time athletics of any sort were beginning. She remained at Mesa in a variety of positions until her retirement. While she coached the basketball and tennis teams, far more important was her role as an administrator.
Initially, she was Director of Athletics for women’s sports, at a time when the men’s and women’s programs were administered separately. However, her role didn’t stop there. She, and the women’s Athletic Directors from Phoenix College and Glendale Community College, developed programs for the entire Maricopa County Community College District.
Her efforts went even farther, especially in basketball. She served on the National Basketball Rules Committee that helped modernize the women’s game by switching to the five-player format that brought the game out of the old six-player rules where players could not cross half court. McDonald was also the Junior College representative to the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for women (AIAW), the predecessor of the NCAA, which did not recognize the sport until 1981. The NJCAA actually superseded the NCAA by sponsoring a women’s national championship beginning in 1975.
Kaye’s role continued to expand. At MCC, she served as the Dean of Student Services and Director of Development. Outside of MCC she also became the Regional Representative to the NJCAA when that organization was creating its programs for women’s sports. When the history of women’s athletics is written, there should be a chapter on her. Kaye passed away on May 21, 2021 and the Dr. Kaye McDonald Memorial Scholarship at Mesa Community College was created to support the academic dreams of women participating in the basketball program.