CMU names all-star team of grand marshals for 2022 homecoming

Six giants in athletics share duties in honor of Title IX’s 50th anniversary

| Author: Mackenzie Miller

Six giants in Central Michigan athletics share grand marshal honors for CMU's 2022 homecoming.MOUNT PLEASANT, MICH. — Six giants in Central Michigan athletics share grand marshal honors for CMU’s 2022 homecoming festivities.

Cristy Freese, Sue Guevara, Margo Jonker, Marcy Weston and the late Mary Bottaro and Fran Koenig have been named grand marshals in honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX. The law, passed in 1972, banned discrimination based on sex in higher education and increased access to women's sports at the college level.

“CMU has always been at the forefront of women’s athletics – pre-Title IX and most certainly since its passage,” said Weston, who retired from CMU after more than four decades of coaching and leadership in athletics. “I’m proud to have been a part of our history.”

The university’s athletics hall of fame is named in Weston’s honor.

“It’s important that CMU is recognizing the 50th anniversary of Title IX to continue to shine a light on the development of women’s athletics and the great female leaders who fought for the opportunity for girls and women to participate in sports,” said Freese, a four-time MAC Coach of the Year in field hockey. “I am honored to be named grand marshal with these women.”

Guevara, who led the winningest CMU women’s basketball program in the university’s history, said she’s honored and humbled to be on this team of grand marshals. “CMU has a strong history of women leading in athletics for decades, and it all started with Fran Koenig.”

Jonker, 10-time MAC softball coach of the year in 40 years with the program, said Title IX has been an important part of her life. “I feel very strongly about the opportunities Title IX created for me and for other women,” she said. Jonker said being named grand marshal with her cohort was a real honor, especially as it posthumously includes Bottaro and Koenig. 

“Mary was a strong coach, official and teacher,” Jonker said. “She fought for her student athletes and cared deeply about their success on and off the field.”

Bottaro, who died in 2020, led CMU’s field hockey team to three state championships, three regional titles and three national tournament appearances in the 1970s and ’80s – the first women’s sports team at CMU to achieve such honors.

Koenig, who died in 2000, was instrumental in the development of women’s athletics at CMU before retiring in 1989, most notably serving as national chair of the ethics and eligibility committee of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, the women’s counterpart of the NCAA.

“These visionary leaders have had an impact on thousands of student-athletes during their time at CMU and their legacy continues to lead this department into the future,” said Amy Folan, Zyzelewski Family Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics at CMU. “Their impact was not only felt here at CMU but nationwide, leading athletics to transform the lives of young women and men. I am excited to recognize this group this fall and continue to tell their story to current and future generations of CMU Chippewas.”

CMU’s homecoming events take place Oct. 7-8 on the Mount Pleasant campus. CMU football will take on Ball State Oct. 8.

View latest news