The late Kathryn Little was an instructor in physical education at Bluffton from 1956-59 and again in 1965-73. She illustrates the story of coaching and teaching at Bluffton, moving gracefully from the role of student-coach to full time teacher-coach. Little combined college study with teaching and coaching and with the multiple arts of homemaking and a variety of community activities.
In high school at Leipsic she earned three letters in basketball and was selected to the All County team. Years later she coached the women’s teams in basketball, volleyball and softball in the revival of these intercollegiate sports. She is one of the unsung heroines of that movement coming to national recognition through the efforts of Billy Jean King and others. However, leaf through the pages of old Ista yearbooks and one finds a significant plane given to women’s sports on the Bluffton campus, the activities of the women’s varsity B and the women’s hiking club.
Little reflected the balance which characterized Bluffton’s athletic spirit and tradition. An able student, winning Pi Delta honors as an undergraduate, she reflected thoroughness and quality in the classroom. She organized a broadly-based intramural program for women. She opened up an intercollegiate sports program for women. She worked with cheerleaders in the intricacies of the cheerleading art and served on hundreds of committees which serve behind the scenes of Homecomings, May Days and special campus events.
Little and her family symbolized by their activities and interests that athletics is not just a series of spectator sports where you play hard in high school and college and then sit out the rest of your life on the stands or in front of the TV. Her avid love of tennis and other “lifetime sports” affirms the importance of sports and recreation in the whole man and woman.
Little died in 2005.