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Former BYU player, coach Lamb credits Title IX for career

Published June 22, 2012 12:39 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Karen Curtis Lamb used to have an easy solution whenever she heard negative talk about Title IX.

She made the dissenter wash the dishes.

It worked wonders when the person doing the complaining was her son, as he argued Title IX took away from men's programs.

"He'll understand when his daughter, if she chooses to play any sport, has an opportunity as a result of long ago," Lamb said. "The people that fought for that long ago."

In 1974, Lamb, an All-American volleyball player who later became BYU's head coach, became the first woman to receive an athletic scholarship from BYU. It was for half tuition: $150 a month.

"I didn't come from a family that had money," she said. "Even though that was a small amount of money, it was a big amount of money for me."

Lamb grew up on a farm near Safford, Ariz., where her family raised cotton, grain and alfalfa. At BYU, Lamb became the school's first All-American and in 1989 was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.

After playing, she was the head coach at UNLV and Washington State, and from 1994 to 2005 coached at BYU. The last three years she spent as head coach, the successor to Elaine Michaelis.

Lamb, 56, now works for Western Governors University and runs volleyball camps in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. She said she doesn't tell her pupils about Title IX or her place in history.

"That was my start," she said, "but it's not something that comes up that often. It certainly started a great lifetime of being in sports for me."