Coaching pioneers to be honored Sunday

In conjunction with National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Kentucky will honor each of its first coaches for its women’s varsity sports on Sunday at halftime of the Georgia game.

Each of the first head coaches for each sport will be given the Susan B. Feamster “Pioneer Award,” presented annually by UK’s first women’s basketball coach for providing exceptional leadership and paving the way for others. These coaches will be honored as a part of the 40-year celebration of Title IX.

Kentucky’s first varsity coaches:

  • Sue Feamster, basketball
  • Suzie Stammer, field hockey
  • Betty Rider, golf
  • Leah Little, gymnastics
  • Delphine Nemeth, volleyball
  • Claudia Young, tennis
  • Harold Barnett, track and field
  • Suzie Stammer started the program, which earned varsity status in 1974. She was a two-time league Coach of the Year and won several state and regional championships. Stammer has gone on to officiate the sport at the Olympics, World Games and for the World Hockey Federation.
  • Leah Little coached gymnastics for 28 years at UK, producing numerous SEC champions and Pan-American athletes.
  •  Delphine Nemeth, a former Olympic volleyball player, won three SEC titles and twice guided UK to the NCAA Elite Eight. She also won Coach of the Year honors three years.
  •  Claudia Young was the first woman to oversee men’s and women’s tennis at Kentucky and was a two-time Coach of the Year. Young held the position for 10 seasons before retiring to teach.
  •  Harold Barnett was the first man to coach a women’s team at Kentucky, where he won several KWIC state titles and Coach of the Year honors. He sent more than 20 athletes to track and field championships.




About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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