40 in 40 - Dr. Ruth Ann Meyer
Dr. Ruth Ann Meyer
WMU Assistant AD: 1972-76
Head Volleyball Coach: 1965-75
Northern Iowa Hall of Fame: 2000
WMU "W" Club Woman of the Year: 2003
Dr. Ruth Ann Meyer served three decades in the Western Michigan Physical Education Department and guided women's athletics during its formative years. A trailblazer, Meyer was the first female senior administrator at WMU, serving as the Assistant Athletic Director from 1972-76, after chairing the Women's Recreation Association from 1965-72.
Meyer was also the second head volleyball coach in school history taking over the young program from Jean Friedel in 1965. Meyer coached until 1975, leading her teams to an overall record of 115-82, including undefeated seasons in 1965 and 1967.
Meyer challenged the WMU administration to provide better funding and resources for women's athletics. In a 1974 interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette, Meyer spoke about the struggle for gender equality.
"I am satisfied to a point about the direction our program is headed, but when I look at the total athletic budget and compare it with the small percentage earmarked for the women's programs, I can't help but feel that we deserve a bigger share."
In a release two years earlier, Meyer stated, "I'm not fighting for a separate entity for women's athletics. There is an inequality between men's and women's programs, but the situation is improving, hopefully to the point where women will have the same opportunities as men."
Meyer stepped down from her post as Assistant AD in 1976 to take a sabbatical to finish doctorate studies. She continued teaching within WMU's HPER Department however until her retirement in 1998.
--- From a 1976 Letter to the Editor titled "She'll Be Missed" ... "As she departs from Western, Ruth Ann Meyer should be commanded for her leadership role during a difficult period when women were fighting for equality in collegiate athletics.
"Never one to boast of her own accomplishments, Ruth Ann Meyer did much for women in sports at Western during her too-short tenure here. She will be missed." ---
Meyer was inducted into the Western Michigan Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Northern Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2003, she earned the WMU "W" Club's Woman of the Year recognition.
Meyer earned a bachleor's degree from Northern Iowa, a master's from Northern Colorado and a doctorate from Iowa.