Former Assistant AD Della Durant Dies at 84
Penn State lost one of its greats yesterday as former Assistant Athletic Director Della Durant died at 84. During her time at Penn State, Durant played a critical role in the implementation of women’s varsity sports.
Durant earned her masters in physical education from Penn State in 1955 and became an instructor the following year. Just nine years later, she was selected as the first coordinator of the Women’s Varsity Sports Program. When the men’s and women’s athletic departments merged in 1973, Durant was named Assistant AD as well as Senior Woman Administrator, a position she held until 1989. For her work in women’s athletics, Durant was also one of the first women selected to the NCAA Council.
She has been inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame, and captured the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators.
“Della was a pioneer in women’s athletics in the United States and laid the foundation for the amazingly successful women’s athletic program at Penn State,” said former Penn State softball coach Sue Rankin. “She was instrumental in transitioning women’s sports from the AIAW to the NCAA that occurred during my tenure as women’s softball coach. She was a passionate advocate for women’s sports and a compassionate leader. Due to Della’s influence on the lives of the hundreds of student-athletes she served and the many coaches she mentored, her legacy will continue.”