A professional basketball player, the first female member of the Harlem Globetrotters and one of the first members in the WNBA.
Lynette Woodard was born in Wichita, Kansas. As a child, she practiced her scoring abilities with her older brother, and by the ninth grade, she already led her high school basketball club. In the next few years, Woodard won two State basketball titles, including all-American. Afterward, she played college basketball at the University of Kansas and earned her B.A. in Speech Communications and Human Relations.
During the four years she played for KU, Woodard had an average of 26 points per game, and a record of 3,649 points in total – the highest number of points in NCCAA women’s basketball history.
Woodard was the first woman to be honored by having her jersey retired at KU.
After graduation, Woodard played in the Italian women’s basketball league but came back to the U.S to join the women’s Olympic team. As the captain, Woodard led the team to win the gold medal in the 1984 Olympic games.
At the age of 25, Lynette Woodard decided to retire from professional play and began working on the women’s basketball program at the University of Kansas. But her retirement didn’t last long as she was signed at The Harlem Globetrotters, and was the first female member of the team.
She played with the Globetrotters for two years and then went on to play in Japan for three more years.
Then, she moved to NY to work as a stockbroker, but once again, at the age of 38, returned to sports when the Women’s National Basketball Association was founded, and she played for the Cleveland Rockers and later for the Detroit Shock.
After two years playing in the WNBA, she returned to KU and worked as the Assistant Coach of the women’s basketball team. At the age of 45 she served as the interim head coach of the team, and at the age of 58, she became the head coach of the Winthrop Eagles women’s basketball team.
“It’s all about the journey”
Another Interesting Anecdote:
- As a child, Woodard used to practice her scoring in her bedroom with rolled-up socks and balls of paper.