Mary Lee Rabke, Ph.D.

Inducted: 1997

Best Known For: Coaching Women's Sports


In a time where women’s sports was seldom a factor, this pioneer worked tirelessly to offer opportunities, using her academic training and organizational skills to build a successful venture.

Dr. Mary Lee Rabke was director of women’s sports at McMurry College in Abilene in the early 1950s and eventually came to the Valley, where she taught at Pan American College and took over the foundling women’s athletics program.

She organized the first Lady Broncs’ tennis team in the mid-1950s and is still the all-time leader for coaching wins. Rabke was also active in creating clinics and was a long-time member of the American Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Educators, a national body charged with popularizing women’s sports.

Along with tennis, she coached volleyball and brought badminton and fencing to the program as well. This workhorse was a driving force at the university, in academics and athletics.