On Thursday, April 25, the Case Western Reserve University Department of Physical Education and Athletics will dedicate the student study space on the second floor of the Wyant Athletic and Wellness Center as the Nancy M. Gray Student Study Commons, honoring the long-time university coach and administrator.

Photo of Nancy Gray
Nancy M. Gray

Gray served Case Western Reserve for 32 years as an associate professor of physical education, tennis coach, soccer coach, associate athletic director and coordinator of physical education.

Gray broke new ground by advancing women’s sports at Case Western Reserve University while assuring the women of Mather College their place in history. She was chosen to head the first varsity women’s basketball team in 1971, following the federation of Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University in 1967.

“Nancy Gray was a pioneer in establishing women’s varsity athletic teams at CWRU,” said Amy Backus, director of athletics and chair of the Department of Physical Education. “Her knowledge, her integrity and commitment to equality shine brightly as the cornerstones of the University Athletic Association, which she helped to create. We all thank Nancy for her tireless contributions to the successful varsity programs we see today.”

Gray posted a 73-71 record in 12 seasons as Case Western Reserve’s women’s basketball coach, holding the record for most victories until it was broken in 2000. She also was the university’s first women’s soccer coach and primary women’s athletics administrator as designated.

Gray graduated from Muskingum University with a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and began her illustrious career in the South Euclid Lyndhurst School system. In 1964, she returned to Muskingum as an instructor, moved on to Kent State University that same year as a graduate assistant, then returned to Muskingum in 1966 with a master’s degree.

Case Western Reserve hired Gray in 1968 as an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Education, where she advanced to associate professor. She had an immeasurable impact until her retirement in 2001.