Fort Worth ISD recently lost two icons that changed the game for female athletics.
Mary Lou Robertson, the first female assistant athletic director for FWISD, and Miriam Moore, who founded the Fort Worth Girls Coaches Association, both died on Sept. 10.
Robertson, 88, graduated from Lake Worth and received her Bachelor’s degree from TCU. After many years of coaching track and field at Diamond-Hill-Jarvis, she became asst. AD with FWISD.
“Mary Lou did so much for getting girls athletics in Fort Worth,” said Denise Yankie, who spent 14 years in the school district. “Mary was such a professional and did things with high integrity.
“She had a quiet demeanor, but got the job done.”
Yankie spent seven years coaching at Southwest before being hired as assistant athletic director with FWISD for another seven years in the 1990s. She won 513 career games as a basketball coach.
“Those two made such huge impacts on female sports and were a big reason why Title IX was put in place,” she said.
Robertson was instrumental in getting female sports started at the high school and middle school level. As the girls started to play in the UIL, Robertson made sure everything went smoothly behind the scenes. She made sure coaches understood UIL rules, had the equipment necessary for their student-athletes, and also handled budget and playoff agendas.
“I can’t tell you how much emphasis they had on Fort Worth,” said Marti Powell said, who started at Trimble Tech in the late 60s before spending nearly 30 years at Paschal.
“Miriam was a go-getter and pushed us forward as a group,” she added.
Moore, 92, was also a successful track coach at Eastern Hills before she became a founding member of the Fort Worth Girls Coaches Association. She was instrumental in promoting the rights of athletic participation for females.
“Miriam made sure that the girls sports were equal,” Yankie said. “Most of the younger people don’t realize what Title IX is and what it was like before.”
Both figures were a big part of the coaches association that hosted Fort Worth athletes in volleyball and basketball tournaments, and track and field and cross country meets.
The coaches worked the events and all the proceeds went to scholarships given to the athletes.
“We were proud to do that — some of them needed a boost,” Powell said. “Miriam not only fought for the student-athletes, but for coaches rights too, such as equal pay.
“Had Miriam not acted, many female athletes wouldn’t have the opportunity for a higher education. She excelled as a friend and couldn’t have been more loyal and caring.”