Sr. Diane Leary

Sister Diane Leary honored as Title IX champion

Sister Diane Leary

This past February, former coach, athletic director and athletic hall of famer Sister Diane Leary (April 28, 1934 – Dec. 10, 2019) was recognized posthumously by Newman University and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) as a Title IX Champion as part of a yearlong celebration honoring 50 years of the groundbreaking legislation.

Over her more than 30-year career, Leary was considered a trailblazer. Prior to arriving at Newman, she was named director of athletics at St. Mary, becoming the first woman to hold that title at the college level in the state of Kansas. 

The Dodge City college closed in 1992, bringing Leary to Kansas Newman College, now Newman University, where she coached volleyball, taught history and later was named athletics director. 

The 50th Title IX anniversary ceremony showed that more than her 700-plus coaching victories, Leary will be long remembered and loved for being a difference maker for women’s athletics, especially all who played or knew the pioneering leader.