by Jim Riggs
August 30, 1986
Gould On The Road Again No More
“On The Road Again” was a big hit for Willie Nelson, but it wouldn’t rate high on Kay Gould’s hit parade. While Nelson sang it, Gould lived it.
Gould has ended six years of coaching women’s basketball and softball at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., to become the Jamestown High School athletic director and that means the end of six years of travel.
“The travel was a big factor,’ Gould said Wednesday night after she had officially resigned at Allegheny. “Plus I never had an opportunity to see my children (Jeanne, 16, and Jess, 14) very much. They’re really involved in a lot of activities now I and I wanted to be part of their teenage years.”
When she wasn’t coaching or recruiting, Gould was usually driving. The 56-mile trip from her home near Ashville to Allegheny at least six days a week during the basketball and softball season was beginning to wear and tear on Gould, in addition to her car. So when Komo Tane’s resignation as JHS athletic director was announced in May, Gould submitted a resume. But the former Southwestern Central School girls’ basketball coach was seeking something other than less mileage.
“I also look at it as a real challenge,” Gould said. “I feel it’s another step in my career that will broaden a lot of opportunities for me in the future. I’m anxious to do it.
“This position definitely involves a tremendous effort and a real time commitment, which is fine. I’m used to spending 80 or 90 hours a week at what I do anyway.”
In addition to her coaching basketball and softball at Allegheny, which also involved a lot of recruiting trips. Gould was a member of the NCAA women’s basketball rules committee and last summer she was at the Junior World Women’s Basketball Championships. She has been asked to apply for the women’s basketball coaching staff for the World University Games in Yugoslavia next year and is one of the 20 persons nominated to coach the U.S. women’s softball team at the Pan American Games.
There is a good reason she receives requests for such prestigious positions. When she arrived at Allegheny from Southwestern, where her basketball teams won four sectional titles, both the women’s basketball and softball programs were in the cellar. Gould put them in the penthouse.
This past season the softball team made its fourth straight trip to the NCAA Division III championships and the basketball team made its third straight appearance at the nationals. Her basketball team was ranked in the Top 20 all season and her softball team was ranked fourth on the final poll, the third time in the last five years it has been in the top five. So it is understandable that Allegheny hated to see her leave.
“They were real disappointed,” Gould said. “It was real hard to leave. It was a very emotional experience for me. It was a position I totally put myself into for the last six years.
When Tane’s resignation was announced, Gould submitted a resume. She wasn’t contacted about the position during June or July, but she also knew it wasn’t filled. So Gould continued to prepare for Allegheny’s upcoming seasons while hoping she could still land the JHS position. She was finally contacted about the position on Aug. 8, accepted and has been on the run ever since.
“It’s going to be very rapid,” Gould said of her transition from college coach to high school athletic director. “The scope of this job has tremendous magnitude and affects an awful lot of students in the school system.”
With the sudden change in jobs, Gould has not had time to think about being the only female athletic director in Chautauqua County. On top of that, she is at the largest school system in the county with more than 50 teams. That doesn’t bother her.
“That’s one of those things I’ve always faced when accomplishing anything in my life,” she said. “I don’t look at that (being a woman) as a drawback.”
It hasn’t been a drawback for Little Valley Central School Athletic Director Barbara Duggan. She took the position in 1974 and recalled, “I was the only one (female AD) in Section Six and one of only five in New York State.”
And Duggan hasn’t had any problems with the male coaches, “They’ve been just great to me,” the Falconer Central School graduate said. “Maybe it’s because I didn’t go in like gangbusters. You have to admit when you have a problem or that you don’t know something. If I had to give her any advice I’d say, ‘Don’t go in like gangbusters.”
The largest district in the state, West Seneca, also has a woman athletic director, Dr. Judith Harris, who took the position in July of 1985. “It’s been a very smooth transition,” she said of suddenly being in charge of the 88 teams with 115 coaches. To make her job tougher, she took over when there was no athletic budget and had to raise $88,000.
Harris had no problem with her male colleagues, either. “I think there’s a mutual respect,” she said, mainly because of her coaching background both in high school and college. “I also supervised men’s events.”
When Gould was at Southwestern, Harris coached against her and remembers her well. “I think she has the ability to listen and the knowledge,” she said. She added that Gould, “must have the ability to listen and good communication skills. And be visible, at everything.
“Jamestown has picked a very, very competent person. And I’m not saying that just because she’s a woman.”
Even though Gould will not spend hours commuting between her home and Meadville, she knows her time at home will still be limited. But at least she will be close.
“I realize I will be at school a great number of nights, but at least I might come home a half or an hour,” she said. “I will at least be available somewhere.”
And that is fine with her children and husband, Jay. “So far, I think they’re real happy,” the new AD said. Then she laughed and added, “Because there’s a possibility they might be seeing me once and a while.”
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