Pioneer ‘Maw’ Wilson remembered

First woman to coach a boys’ sport

LA JARA– A local sports pioneer from the last century is among those being honored this year on the 50th anniversary of Title IX by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Nora “Maw” Wilson, originally the scorekeeper for La Jara High School basketball after relocating there with her husband in 1927, she later became the head boys’ basketball coach at the onset of World War II. She is the first recorded female coach of a boys’ team in U.S. history.

The great-grandmother of Curt Wilson, current superintendent of schools at North Conejos School District, she has had four generations of descendants play sports and coach here since.

Title IX is a federal law, established in 1972, that prohibits sex discrimination in all educational programs that receive federal funds including, but not limited to athletics. It also requires schools to provide an equal opportunity for female and male students to become interscholastic participants.

Honored nationally by NFHS, “Maw” was declared a “War-time pioneer in boys hoops.”

According to an online dedication to her, at one time, Wilson worked with as many as 50 boys who looked to join the team, according to an issue of the “Panorama.” The publication added that to ensure her team’s availability, Wilson “furnished transportation for the boys, once taking them to Salida by truck.”

Despite never receiving payment for her coaching duties, Wilson concluded the seasons she coached with a party in which she arranged and paid for. To her, the only pay necessary was “the love and respect of ‘her’ boys.”