Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Athletics has been around for nearly 100 years in various capacities. The earliest record of SMWC Athletics dates back to 1916.
In the early years of SMWC Athletics, sports existed on campus mainly as intramurals and competitions that took place between classes. The Women’s Athletic Association (WAA) was organized as the governing body of all athletics on campus while being overseen by the Director of Physical Education at The Woods.
The early sports that were offered at SMWC consisted of Riding, Golf, Tennis, Bowling, Basketball, Swimming, Hiking, Skating, Walking, Track, and Hockey. The sports offerings often changed from year to year based on the demand of the student body.
While the majority of contests were played between classes, SMWC did compete on an intercollegiate basis from time to time. The first recorded intercollegiate game was in 1920 when SMWC basketball faced the Indiana State Normal College. This excerpt from the Indianapolis media the next day describes the event. “The fast Indiana State Normal College basketball team went down in defeat last night to the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Varsity, in what was probably the first intercollegiate athletic contest ever played by women in the state of Indiana. The final score, 21-6, does not do full justice to the superiority of the girls who represented Saint Mary.”
As time went on, the athletic programs were transformed through the WAA. The WAA sought to enhance athletic participation among all students, eventually developing a system in which students that competed in athletic activities received points and were honored with emblems and sweaters.
As the WAA grew in size, it too grew in influence. By the time the 1940’s rolled around, the WAA, along with the physical education department, began mandating that students pass a swimming test in order to graduate. SMWC Athletics grew to new heights from the 40’s to the 50’s, as the teams became more and more organized and began to represent the school in intercollegiate competition more consistently. Although sports at The Woods were becoming more organized, there were no scholarship athletes. Athletics at SMWC continued this informal trend into the 1980’s.
In the 1980’s, SMWC took its first steps toward becoming an organized athletic department, and Mary Hums held the title of the first Athletic Director at SMWC. In 1985, Hums petitioned the school to become members of the NAIA. From 1987-89, SMWC was an active member of the NAIA in five intercollegiate sports including basketball, softball, tennis, cross country, and volleyball.
After 1989, Mary Hums was replaced by Jan Blade as Athletic Director. Blade moved SMWC from the NAIA into the NSCAA in which the Pomeroys competed in until 2000 when they then moved to the USCAA in the fall of 2001.
Present Athletic Director Deanna Bradley arrived in 1991 and oversaw the transition of SMWC from the NSCAA to the USCAA. Bradley reevaluated all of SMWC’s athletic programs, and ultimately canceled athletics in 1992. This canceling of SMWC Athletics was a pivotal point in SMWC’s long history. It sparked a change that has since impacted SMWC in a positive manner. The two year hiatus of athletics from campus allowed for the school to formulate a plan to begin scholarship teams for the first time. The move directly led to the current state of SMWC Athletics as a department that offers nine scholarship programs.
It has been 20 years since the beginning of scholarship athletics at SMWC. Since then, scholarship athletic teams have gradually formed and become a part of The Woods. While the Pomeroys have shown tremendous growth over the years, SMWC isn’t done yet. The College announced in May of 2015 that it would become a coed institution. With the coed announcement, men's golf has been announced as the first male sport ever at SMWC. Below shows the year in which each scholarship team began at SMWC.
Women's Basketball – 1994
Softball - 1995
Women's Soccer – 2000
Women's Golf – 2008
Women's Equestrian (Hunt Seat & Western) – 2008 (coed 2016)
Women's Cross Country – 2009
Volleyball – 2015
Men's Golf - 2016
Men's Cross Country - 2017
Men's Soccer - 2018
SMWC's teams are known as the "Pomeroys". Their name was chosen in memory of alumnae and faculty member Sister Mary Joseph Pomeroy. Sister Mary Joseph Pomeroy was a Sister of Providence who was a great advocate of athletics and physical fitness. The name "Pomeroy" is not so much a thing, but a spirit of athletic excellence and sportsmanship.
Sister Pomeroy also was a member of the basketball team that played in the first recorded intercollegiate basketball game in school history when SMWC defeated Indiana Normal College in 1920. She was noted at that time by the Indianapolis media as being a stellar player.
Athletic Director Timeline
In the early stages of athletics at SMWC, the Physical Education Director oversaw athletics. This was the case up until the 1980’s when Mary Hums was named as the first Athletic Director.
*Dates and names are in the process of being gathered. Those that you see below are what SMWC Sports Information has been able to uncover to this date.
Jane Middleton (1916)
Helen Dawalter (1917)
Helen Stewart (1918-20)
Marguerite Holzbauer (1921-22)
Helen Miller (1923)
Ethel Scofield (1924-25)
Euphrasia Donnelly (1926-29)
Rose Eresch – asst. director (1929)
Katherine Maher (1930-31)
Margaret Fitzsimmons (1932-34)
Agnes Carlin (1935-38)
Dorothy Courtney (1939-41)
Mary Kathryn Young (1942-1945)
Betty Farians (1946)
Barbara Duffy (1947)
Thelma Basham (1948-51)
Mary Kathryn Young (1952-59)
Patricia Rooney (1960)
Sharon Izor (1964-66)
Marianne Pries (1967)
Mary Meyer (1968-)
Vikki Sordean (Early-70’s)
Julie Cox (Mid-70’s)
Darlene Gordon (Late 70’s-early 80’s)
Mary Hums (1984-89)
Jan Blade (1987-91)
Deanna Bradley (1991-current)
SMWC Sports Information continues to strive to uncover more about SMWC Athletics and the rich history that it has had. If you have additional information or clarification on SMWC’s athletic history, please contact our Sports Information Department.