Immaculata University Magazine - Spring 2011 - page 13

After teaching for two years, the job at Im-
maculata College became available. It seemed
like the perfect job – low key, no pressure, and
a way to stay busy during the winter while my
husband, Ed, was traveling. Because the gym at
Immaculata had burned down, our practices
were held at the gym at the Motherhouse. I ea-
gerly arrived early for our four o’clock practice.
The women studying to become nuns were in
the gym having their recreation time. They were
playing basketball, roller skating, and playing
other games. I silently watched as the Immacu-
lata students who were going to try out for the
team filed in. They, too, sat and quietly watched
the recreation.
As the novitiates’ recreation ended and our
players started to shoot around, I was pleasantly
surprised to see how good these girls were. They
could shoot, dribble, rebound, and looked like
they really knew what they were doing. It was
not what I expected at all.
We started through a series of drills and skills
competitions, and I continued to be amazed by
what I saw. That night when I went home, I told
Ed that the girls were great. He gave me a look
of, “Sure they are,” and just smiled.
As the season started, we had to play all of our
games away, since we didn’t have a home court.
The girls would get rides with friends and fam-
ily, and we would all show up at our opponent’s
gym. We started out winning our first eight
games. As I arrived for our ninth game, Theresa
Shank and Maureen Mooney had not arrived.
Initially, I was angry, but as time passed, I be-
gan to worry that something bad had happened.
Just as the game was about to start, Theresa
and Maureen walked in. They were obviously
hurt and in distress from a car accident they
had had. Maureen was sore, but Theresa had
broken her collarbone—she could not play
the rest of the year. We went 2 and 2 in those
last four games.
The 1971-72 season started with the open-
ing of our new gym in Alumnae Hall. Our own
court, our own home court was
beautiful, but without bleach-
ers. We won our first 12 games
and were invited to play in the
first ever Regional Tournament.
The first two teams in our region
would qualify for the National
Tournament in Illinois.
We squeaked by the first three
opponents in the Regional and lost
70-38 to West Chester State in the
final game. We were still going to
the National Tournament, but now
we had to figure out how to raise
enough money to pay for the trip.
Through a campus–wide fund-
raiser, we raised enough money to take eight
of the 11 players to the tournament.
The Nationals were played in the same format
as the Regionals—Friday night, Saturday morn-
ing, Saturday night and Sunday morning. Four
games in three days. We played our first game
and squeaked by our first opponent. I called the
College, collect, and they told all our friends and
families the news. I called Ed, and he said, “I’m
so proud of all of you, don’t be disappointed if
you lose.”
After a short celebration, we rested for our
next game. We won easily, and we called again—
“Don’t be disappointed if you lose.” We played
again that night and the fatigue was beginning
to catch up with the girls. Three games in less
than 24 hours was exhausting. Despite every-
thing, we won and made our calls. This time
when I told Ed that we would play West Ches-
ter State for the national championship, he said,
“Don’t be disappointed
you lose.”
We won and flew home to a raucous crowd at
the airport. The rest is history. The low-key job
turned into an all-consuming one.
After many more successful years, women’s
basketball started offering scholarships. The day
of a small school being successful was gone.
I resigned in 1977 with the intention of taking
a year off from coaching and then returning the
following year. I never did coach again.
I found that I could run my summer basket-
ball camps without having to give up my after-
noons, evenings, and weekends. This allowed
me to stay at home with my boys, attend all their
school events and games, and still stay active
and teach during the summers.
Many years later, I was nominated for the
Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. I was not se-
lected that year. I received an e-mail from my
son, Ed Jr., that said, “You may not be a Hall
of Fame basketball coach, but you’re a Hall of
Fame mom.” That’s good enough for me.
Today, my younger son, Michael, runs our
camp programs which include basketball, field
hockey and day camps. His love for the camps,
and working with me, reinforces my decision to
be a full-time mom.
I always said I was a ’60s woman. In the ’60s women seemed to
go to college, get married, work for three years, have a family,
and never work again. I graduated fromWest Chester State
College, got married and started a teaching career.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Coach Cathy Rush
was inducted into the Naismith Memorial
Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
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