Great aunt of UNLV guard one of first Arizona athletes to receive scholarship after Title IX


With this being the 50th anniversary of Title IX, this post is a real treat. The following was written by Norma Gallego, one of the first women athletes who played under scholarship at Arizona when she joined the softball program in 1974 after graduating from Tucson High School. When Gallego first played with the Wildcats, she was provided a scholarship when the Arizona Board of Regents granted 60 scholarships to each of the state universities to female athletes. This move came two years after Title IX became a federal law that mandated women’s athletics be administered and financed equally with the men’s programs. Norma is the great aunt of UNLV freshman guard Alyssa Durazo-Frescas, who will play with the Lady Rebels against Arizona on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the NCAA tournament at McKale Center. Durazo-Frescas is the daughter of Tucsonan Monica Durazo, Norma’s niece. Monica and her mom Patty Botoson (Norma’s sister and Alyssa’s grandmother) have each ran in the New York City marathon.

It’s been 50 years since the Title IX passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972! I look back at that time through grateful eyes as I was in the first group of women who received an athletic scholarship to play ball at the University of Arizona!

I had played softball starting about 9 years old, with my mom as my first coach! I loved playing but to receive a scholarship to play was a dream come true!

Two Arizona softball legends: Norma Gallego, one of the original Wildcat softball players in the 1970s, and Jennie Finch-Daigle (Gallego photo)

I saw many changes in my tenure as a student-athlete as the UofA began to implement the requirements of Title IX. One of my favorite memories was traveling to Omaha, Neb., to represent the University of Arizona in their first showing in the College World Series (in 1974 and 1975 under coach Judy Spray). This is something I will never forget!

As I get ready to attend the NCAA women’s basketball tournament at McKale Center on Saturday to watch the UNLV Lady Rebels take on the UofA Wildcats, I once again look through grateful eyes as I see my great niece Alyssa Durazo-Frescas play in her first NCAA basketball tournament as a freshman for UNLV! I am so proud of her and happy for all the female participants.

Norma Gallego during her Arizona softball career from 1973-76 (Tucson Citizen clipping)

The changes and opportunities for these young female athletes is nothing short of amazing! l am not sure they understand the full benefits they have received because of Title IX and that is okay. These young women are now role models for even more young girls. Their confidence soars as do their leadership qualities as they participate in sports.

Some will continue to play the sports they love in a professional capacity, become announcers, coaches and so much more. I could go on and on! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these athletes.

Thank you Title IX.

Go Alyssa #12. Go Lady Rebels!


Norma Gallego’s mom Bertha “Bodie” Gallego was a member of the Tucson Flirts in the 1940s. The Flirts were a professional fastpitch softball team in Tucson. Bodie is in the center on the bottom with the bats in front of her. To the right of Bodie in the photo is her best friend Gracie Quinlan. Both are still living and well. Gallego’s father Albert Gallego has the skate park named after him at Santa Rita Park. Albert, a native Tucsonan and also a graduate of Tucson High School, was president of The Santa Rita Neighborhood Association for several years and was involved in various city projects at the time of his death in 2008. He was a member of “Los Viejos Amigos,” a social club started in 1993. (Gallego photo)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top