IX AT 50: Topeka’s Doshia Woods leads Denver WBB to success in life after basketball

“When the ball stops bouncing, I want to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to empower women to be the best version of themselves.”
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 10:47 PM CST
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June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX into law, prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Title IX has largely been considered the springboard for high school and collegiate women’s sports to get where they are today — but the fight for equality is far from over. Every Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. leading up to the 50th anniversary of the law’s passing, 13 Sports will honor the women who changed the game for girls’ and women’s sports in Kansas.

“IX at 50: The Trailblazers of Women’s Sports in Kansas”

DENVER, Colo. (WIBW) - For Topeka-native and Denver head women’s basketball coach Doshia Woods, time spent off the court with her team is often more valuable than the time on it.

“I developed the ‘Life 4.0′ program really just to give us a chance to keep the conversation going with social justice,” Woods said. “Then I’m a huge mental health advocate. I always said when I had the opportunity to be in this role that I didn’t want mental health to be a stigma in our program. So it really stems from both mental health and social justice.”

Through the program, the team learns about everything from financial literacy and branding, to concepts like ableism.

“We really just try to bring topics that are 30 to 40 minutes, just kind of quick tidbits of just life things at them. This program is so important to me that we will discuss it. I will use practice time for it,” she said. “When the ball stops bouncing, I want to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to empower women to be the best version of themselves, whatever that is.”

Woods, a Topeka High graduate turned student-athlete at Barton Community College and Western Illinois, is in her 21st year of Division I collegiate coaching, and her second as a DI head coach.

It’s a platform she doesn’t take lightly.

“Being in this role, I realize and recognize that I’m often the only - and might be the only female of this type of power, if you will, that they communicate with that day. I might be the only black female they communicate with that day. I might be the only gay black female they communicate with that day, all of these things that I identify as,” she said.

According to the NCAA Demographics Database from 2021, black women make up just three-percent of Division I head coaches. That number goes up to 21-percent in DI women’s hoops, while 44-percent of women’s basketball players are black.

“I take a responsibility to make sure that I show up, so I can kind of set the stage in a foundation for the next person, it would be easier for them. Not that it’s been hard for me - but it would be less questions of, ‘Can she?’ Or, ‘Is she capable?” Woods said.

Woods says watching women like Marian Washington pave the way inspired her as a young player. Now, she hopes to carry forward her own legacy.

“I’m standing on the shoulders of so many who helped me get to this point. So every day I have a chance to sit in my chair really a thank you to them,” she said. “I want to create a legacy where people can be motivated by me, but then make their success their own.”

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