Barbara Houstoun

In 1972 the passage of Title IX occurred and equality in sports was set in motion. The emergence and acceptance of girls’ sports did not occur overnight, but, here in Glen Rock it was a different story because of Barbara Houstoun.

Barbara Houstoun was Glen Rock’s own pioneer. Boo, as she was called, came to our small community after graduating from Ridgewood High School in 1936 and Beaver College (PA) in 1940 with a BS degree in Health, Physical Education and a minor in Science. She received her Master’s degree in Physical Education from NYU in 1946 and completed other post graduate courses at Paterson State College and Seton Hall University.

Boo felt it was imperative that the struggle to affect change, transform societal attitudes, and achieve equal opportunities for girls in sports begin without delay. Boo did just that upon her arrival in Glen Rock in 1943. In 1949 she established athletic competition (play days) with schools such as Teaneck, Hackensack and Ridgewood. Glen Rock fielded girls’ teams in soccer, basketball, table tennis, volleyball, and softball; all coached by Boo.

In 1949 she advised the Girls’ Athletic Association (of which every girl was a member) that planned for play days, organized the intramural program, designed tournament play, faculty‐student games and sponsored the “Green Dream” , a possible precursor to March Madness.

In 1959, Boo established the Girls’ Leadership Club primarily a service club that promoted sportsmanship. She advised the cheerleaders as they participated in a statewide cheer clinic and coached three sports, basketball, volleyball, badminton. In the early 1970’s Boo entered Glen Rock female students in a state archery contest, where they finished first.

As Title IX made its impact around the country, the Girls’ Leadership Council organized a petition drive to begin interscholastic competition. The overwhelming support of Superintendent Betty Ostroff‐Carpenter and the Board of Education made it happen. Glen Rock entered four teams into BPSL play. Athletic Director Larry Thomas asked Boo to coach the field hockey team. In the inaugural season the team put together a 4‐4‐0 record. In 1973 the field hockey team recorded an 8‐4‐2 season and competed, for the first time, in the state field hockey tournament, bowing out in the 2nd round. This may have been Glen Rock’s first state tournament bid for girls.

Boo also made an impact throughout our state where as a committee member of the National Section for Girls’ and Women’s Sports (now known as the National Association of Girls’ and Women’s Sports). She held membership in the New Jersey Athletic Association for Girls, the Bergen County Girls’ Sports Council, NJAHPERD and AAHPERD.

Today those organizations are the leaders for equity issues in sports and champion equal funding, quality and respect for girls’ and women’s sports.

She represented our region as a member the Women’s National Officials Rating Committee. This committee clarified the rules, established guidelines for officials, players and coaches. Boo was also a National Federation of State High School Associations volleyball official.