Growing up as a student at Southwestern Central School, Cheryl Bailey did not have any officially recognized girls sports in which to participate.
That certainly did not derail her passion for them, however.
And when Title IX went into effect in 1972, she ran with the boys track team, which would ultimately change the trajectory of her career aspirations years later.
After continuing her track and field career at North Park College and Slippery Rock University, Bailey began an athletic odyssey that has earned her a place in the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. Joining her in the Class of 2019 are Tiffany Decker, Vince Gullo, Mike Lopriore, Bob Palcic, Mark Weaver, Jack Harper, Charles Johnston and Luella Kye.
These nine individuals will be formally inducted at the CSHOF’s 38th annual banquet Monday, Feb. 18, at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club. The new honorees will bring the number of CSHOF inductees to 200. Tickets for the induction dinner are $50. Reservations can be made by calling banquet chairman Chip Johnson at 716-485-6991.
So what did Bailey do since those humble athletic beginnings in the early 1970s?
Consider the positions she’s held over the last 40 years:
Head coach, women’s soccer, Denison University, 1979-1988; head coach, women’s track & field, Denison University, 1981-1988; athletic director, Denison University, 1979-1990; senior associate athletic director, University of Wisconsin, 1990-2005; chairman, NCAA women’s soccer, 1987-1993; chairman, NCAA women’s basketball, 2001-2004; general manager U.S. women’s national soccer team, 2007-2011; and executive director National Women’s Professional Soccer League, 2012-2015.
That is quite an accomplished resume for someone who came from a humble athletic background as a teenager growing up in Chautauqua County.