Athletics News

 Elma Roane
Elma Roane

1980 M Club Hall of Fame Inductee / 1996 Golden Tiger Award


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Elma Roane was the backbone of women's athletics at the University of Memphis for more than 50 years. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, she began her affiliation with the University in the late 1930s as an undergraduate at West Tennessee State Teachers College. After graduating in 1940, she began her career on the high school level but returned to the WTSTC in 1946 as a physical education instructor and also as the director of the women's division of physical education at the University.

She was appointed coordinator of women's athletics, which at the time offered no scholarships and had very little in the way of a budget. From 1955-70 she coached basketball, volleyball and badminton. One of her star pupils was Mary Lou Johns, who would become the Lady Tigers head coach and winningest coach in school history. An all-round athlete herself, Roane was selected to the Memphis Park Commission Athletic Hall of Fame in softball in 1973.

On a national level, her forte in badminton was renowned. In 1969 she finished runner-up in the Veteran's Ladies Doubles division of the United State National Badminton Tournament. During her long and illustrious career, Roane has been chaired numerous national committees and has received many awards for her service, including a Certificate of Recognition in 1977 from the Tennessee Commission on the Status of Women.

In 1973 she received the Southern District of the Association of Health, Physical Education Outstanding Achievement Award. Roane, who received her master's degree for Tennessee was inducted in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. She retired from the University of Memphis in 1984.

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