CHARLOTTE, NC (February 3, 2023) — In continued celebration and acknowledgment of the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference, is recognizing five pioneers that have helped shape their institutions, the CIAA, and women’s athletics. These women are just five of a total of 50 CIAA Title IX Trailblazers, who will be recognized during the 2023 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament, which will be held from February 21-25 at the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD.
Bonnie Logan, Morgan State
Bonnie Logan, once described as “the legitimate heir to former tennis queen Althea Gibson,” is a CIAA sports pioneer who broke racial and gender barriers. As a freshman at Morgan State University, Logan won the No. 2 CIAA Men’s Singles Championship as a freshman, the first woman ever to win a CIAA Men’s title and the first to ever win a championship in an NCAA-affiliated men’s conference.
From 1967-1971, Logan was ranked as the No. 1 singles and doubles player. From 1964-1970, she won seven consecutive American Tennis Association (ATA) National titles. She also grabbed four mixed double championships and a women’s doubles title for a total of 12 ATA championships.
In 1969, Logan won her third straight North Carolina State Closed Women’s Championship and received the Outstanding Young Women of America Award. In 1972, Logan became the first black woman to participate in the South African Open Tennis Championships and also the first to play in the Virginia Slims Tennis Tour, the top women’s league at the time.
In addition to tennis, Logan was also a varsity student-athlete in basketball, field hockey, softball, and volleyball. Logan is a member of the Morgan State University Athletic Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Black Tennis Hall of Fame.
Katherine Bennett, Virginia State and Hampton
In 1953, Katherine Bennett joined Virginia State University as a professor of health and physical education. That same year, Bennett created and established the Officiating Board and Women’s Officials at VSU. In the late 1950s, Bennett created guidelines that would ultimately lead to incorporating women’s athletics into the CIAA.
In 1968, Bennett coached the first competitive women’s basketball team at VSU, and in 1975, she directed the first CIAA women’s basketball tournament at Virginia State. In 1977, Bennett was appointed chairperson of the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation at VSU, the first woman to hold this post. That same year, Bennett became the first coordinator for women’s sports at Virginia State. Bennett retired from Virginia State in 1992.
Bennett worked as a health and physical education professor at Hampton Institute (now-University) from 1947 to 1953 before being hired at Virginia State. Also at Hampton, Bennett coordinated the women’s athletics program. Bennett is a graduate of North Carolina A&T, where she was a member of the band, volleyball, tennis, and gymnastics teams. She was also a founding member of NC A&T’s majorette program. At NC A&T, Bennett joined the Women’s Athletic Association and was active in the National Sports Day Association, which organized intramural competitions for African American female college students.
For all her efforts championing women’s athletics, Bennett was inducted into the CIAA’s Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.