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Ruth Podbielski

Athletic Director ∙ Beaver Falls

 

 

 

 

Beaver Falls produced many famous athletes over the years – Joe Namath, Joe Walton, Bucky Mutscheller, and Joe Lonnett, to name a few – but none of them was a pioneer. Ruth Podbielski was. After graduating from Beaver Falls in 1944, she attended Slipper Rock State Teachers College and played intramural sports, graduating in 1949. She taught at Butler High School through 1955 and then accepted a position at Indiana University of Pennsylvania as a Health and Physical Education professor. Soon afterward, she became director of women’s intramurals and in 1968 was appointed assistant chairperson of the health and physical education department. In 1970 Ruth became associate director of athletics. During her tenure (1970-1987) Title IX was implemented to ensure women had the same collegiate athletic opportunities as men. Ten women’s varsity sports were started during her tenure at IUP, and her fight for women’s athletics has been compared to the Wright Brothers’ bumpy beginnings in aviation. Ruth was inducted into the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame, the Slippery Rock Hall of Fame, and was a charter inductee to the IUP Sports Hall of Fame. A new sports facility at IUP was named the Podbielski Softball Field.