In her 31 years as professor in the health, physical education and recreation department, and as an administrator in the UNM athletics department, Linda Estes (’61 BS, ’63 MA, ’79 MA) took women’s athletics further than anyone else could have dreamed.
Upon Estes’ arrival in 1968, women played intramural sports in starched white gym clothes and rode to competitions in any station wagon they could borrow.
When Title IX (no discrimination by federally funded schools based on gender) was passed into law in 1972, Estes knew that the question of funding women’s athletics had become a legal one. In 1972, she approached UNM President Ferrel Heady who immediately declared the expansion of women’s athletics as a top UNM priority.
The budget for women’s athletics went from $4,300 in 1972-73 to $35,000 in 1973-74. The program eventually expanded to 11 sports and a budget of $2.96 million by 2000.
Linda served on numerous NCAA committees during her impressive career. She was the first woman to serve on the NCAA Executive Committee and the New Mexico Governor’s Commission on Higher Education.
Upon retirement, Estes moved to Hawaii and began an outdoor adventures company for women.