MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kittie Blakemore, the first women’s basketball head coach at WVU, died at age 91. The university announced her passing Wednesday afternoon.
After the implementation of Title IX in the early 1970s, Blakemore, a Manassas, Va., native, helped establish the women’s basketball program, which had its first season in 1973. Blakemore was at the helm for 19 seasons, compiling a 301-214 record, which including the 1989 Atlantic 10 tournament championship, the 1992 regular season A-10 title and NCAA berths in 1989 and 1992.
Blakemore was named the A-10 Coach of the Year twice (1984 and 1992), and following her retirement from coaching, she served as assistant athletic director for sports development and senior women’s administrator at WVU. After her retirement from the professional world in 1997, Blakemore was inducted in the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Kittie Blakemore,” current WVU women’s basketball head coach Mike Carey said in a statement. “As the first coach of this program, she set the bar and developed the foundation Mountaineer women’s basketball stands on today. Even after her retirement, her love and support for this team was unquestionable, and we are so thankful for her. We will greatly miss Kittie and forever remember her in our hearts.”
Blakemore earned her bachelor’s from James Madison in 1950, and after teaching and coaching at the high school level for nearly a decade, she came to WVU in 1960 and earned her master’s degree in physical education
From 1960 to 1970, Blakemore was an instructor and assistant professor for the School of Physical Education at WVU. From 1970 to the time of her retirement, Blakemore was an associate professor for the School of Physical Education.
She was inducted into the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences Hall of Fame