By Tim Tolokan
STORRS, CT--Pat Babcock always stayed in the background but her impact was profound---for 46 years as a faculty member, head coach and athletic administrator.
Ms. Babcock, as she was affectionately called by thousands of students, was never interested in acclaim or honors, she always had a job to do and she did "all" of her jobs incredibly well during a distinguished six-decade professional career.
In February 2018, 52 years after she arrived at UConn as a faculty member, the University of Connecticut got an opportunity to say thank you to Pat Babcock, recognizing her remarkable achievements during the annual celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
Several years before Title IX began to change the athletics/sports landscape for girls and women, Pat Babcock arrived at the University of Connecticut in 1967, accepting a faculty position in the Department of Physical Education.
Once the Title IX landmark legislation was introduced to intercollegiate athletics nationwide, UConn launched its Division of Athletics in 1974 and Pat Babcock became the first coach of a varsity program for UConn Women's Tennis.
From 1974-75 through the 1996-97 academic year (23 years and 46 seasons), Pat Babcock guided the Husky women's tennis program to repeated successes. In fact, in her first 16 years as a collegiate head coach (1974-75 through 1989-90), the Pat Babcock led UConn women's tennis program fashioned 32 consecutive winning seasons (fall and spring campaigns each year).
Former @UConn coach and administrator Pat Babcock is our National Girls & Women in Sports Day honoree! Thanks so much for your service over the years.#NGWSD // #UConnNation
— UConn Huskies (@UConnHuskies) February 13, 2018
The overall record in those first 16 varsity years was 194-77 and Pat Babcock concluded her UConn head coaching career with 269 victories.
In 1993, while still coaching her tennis team, Pat Babcock took on the role that would define her UConn career, becoming the Associate Director of Athletics and the department's Senior Woman Administrator.
For the next 20 years, until her retirement in August of 2012, Pat Babcock played a key role in every major decision involving Husky Athletics.
Her office was visited daily by male and female student-athletes, all seeking information, advice, and counsel on a myriad of issues.
In addition, Pat Babcock served as the Program Administrator for a number of UConn's varsity teams, including the UConn Women's Basketball program.
Pat Babcock was a member of the search committee that brought Geno Auriemma to UConn in May of 1985 and 11 NCAA National Championships later Geno commented about Pat Babcock.
"From the time I walked on this campus in 1985, Pat Babcock was always there for the women's basketball program. Before there were national championships, Final Fours, conference titles, national television, we had a staunch supporter and advocate for our team---Pat Babcock. She has helped and touched each one of our lives---the coaches, the support staff, and especially the players through all the years from 1985 to 2012. We miss her today but we especially thank Pat for all she did to help our women's basketball program succeed."
Whether it was traveling to national post-season competition with the women's basketball team or interacting with non-athletic university administrators on behalf of UConn student-athletes, Pat Babcock was always ready to answer the call.
Year after year, at the annual UConn Club Awards program, male and female student-athlete honorees would get to the podium to receive their award---and the first person from the athletic department the students would thank was "Ms. Babcock". Pat Babcock worked tirelessly with members of all 24 varsity teams in providing invaluable guidance and solving issues involving campus housing, financial aid, and overall student wellness.
Pat Babcock's 46-year professional career at UConn was unique. She arrived in Storrs before there were any NCAA Champions--men or women---at the University of Connecticut.
She arrived before the Division of Athletics existed and before there were any women's varsity teams representing the University of Connecticut.
Pat Babcock helped introduce women's athletics to UConn Nation and was the first coach of UConn Women's Tennis.
When Pat retired in 2012, she had witnessed and played a major administrative role in the success of many NCAA Championship seasons in four separate sports---Women's Basketball, Men's Basketball, Women's Field Hockey and Men's Soccer.
Pat Babcock arrived at UConn in 1967 when both the institution and the athletic department were competing for success on a regional level. Some 46 years later, when Pat moved to retirement in 2012, UConn had become an elite nationally recognized University with an equally elite nationally recognized athletics program.
Take a bow, Pat Babcock, you were an instrumental player in helping transform UConn Athletics from a regional contender to a repeated national champion.