Terri Moody on the Athens Academy high school boys golf team. Terri Moody

Just One of the Guys: UGA Female Golfer Breaks Glass Ceiling for Many

Soundbite from Griff Moody, former UGA men’s golf athlete

Over the past five decades, thousands of women on athletic scholarships at the University of Georgia can be traced back to one woman: Terri Moody Hancock.

 Why It’s Newsworthy: There are currently 70 female student-athletes on full athletic scholarships at the University of Georgia, a feat that was unimaginable for high school girls hoping to advance their athletic careers to the next level 50 years ago. 

Golfing in her DNA

Growing up, Athens native Moody Hancock learned the sport of golf from the men in her family — her grandfather, father and brother. 

“I literally did all the things that the boys did,” said Moody Hancock.

Including playing the sport of golf with them — on their team.

Moody Hancock attended Athens Academy preparatory school in Oconee County, just a 10-minute drive down Macon Highway from the University of Georgia.

She competed on the varsity boys golf team all four years for the Spartans, from 1973 to 1977, because there was not a girls team for Moody Hancock to play on at the time. Moody Hancock went on to become a two-time high school state champion. 

Terri Moody on the varsity boys golf team as a junior in high school.

“I didn’t have a choice. But I got to play with the boys and I loved that,” said Moody Hancock. “I was perfectly comfortable.”

So when the time came for Moody Hancock’s brother Griff Moody to graduate high school and go off to play at the collegiate level, Moody Hancock thought nothing differently for herself. It was not until Moody Hancock’s freshman year of high school that the University of Georgia officially created an intercollegiate women’s golf team as a result of Title IX in the 1973-74 season.

Timeline of addition NCAA men’s and women’s athletic programs at the University of Georgia

*All of the information in the timeline is sourced from the UGA Athletic website and the UGA Sports Communications Office. Men’s gymnastics and wrestling were both sports offered at UGA before Title IX but had to be discontinued in order for the athletic department to be in compliance with Title IX. 

 

According to the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Along with Georgia, colleges such as Tulsa, Furman, Florida State, UNC, and Alabama all showed interest in having her be a part of their golf program. Moody Hancock remembers stacks of correspondences in her childhood home from schools that wanted her to play for them, but none she was really interested in.

“My brother was about to come to Georgia [from Wake Forest] and that kind of made me want to stay home,” said Moody Hancock. 

It was a decision that her brother had to make after having his full athletic scholarship revoked due to cuts in male scholarship counts at Georgia.

“In high school my junior year I had a full scholarship offer from Georgia,” said Moody. “The coach would later tell me that he was having an issue with Title IX — now that it was passed — and that he did not have a scholarship for me anymore.”

According to Moody, the total scholarship count for men’s golf dropped from eight to five his incoming year because the athletic program now had to pay for scholarships for the women’s program. Moody decided to play only one season on the men’s golf team at Wake Forest and eventually transferred to Georgia the semester prior to Moody Hancock’s arrival on Georgia’s campus.

For Moody Hancock, she says always knew she was going to be a collegiate golfer at Georgia. What she did not know was that she would become the first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship to play at Georgia.

“This is going to sound bad, I don’t want it to, but I always assumed I was going to get a full scholarship because my brother got a full scholarship,” said Moody Hancock. “Now that was a really foolish assumption, but when you’re 16 or 17 years old, you’re not thinking about being the first Title IX scholarship person.”

Leaving a Legacy

Moody Handcock went on to lead the team to 16 victories in a three-year span, including five individual titles of her own. She was a two-time All-American and Georgia’s first female golfer to compete on the LPGA Tour. During her final season in 1981, she won the first individual national championship in Georgia women’s athletic history at the AIAW National Championship.

“You could not find a better example of someone who was excellent in what they did,” said former Georgia football head coach and athletic director Vince Dooley. “She was just a prime example of what can be accomplished and what she was able to do was part of that inspiration.”

In 1997, Moody Hancock was inducted into the University of Georgia’s Circle of Honor, a recognition program designed to pay tribute to extraordinary student-athletes and coaches who have brought honor to the university. A full-circle moment unfolded for Moody Hancock all thanks to Title IX and the doors it opened for women at the high school and collegiate levels.

“I was just doing what I was supposed to be doing,” said Moody Hancock. “It just so happened that I was there at that time.”

1970 Pandora Yearbook Courtesy of UGA Library: A man’s sporting world.

1974 Pandora Yearbook Courtesy of UGA Libraries: Women can play too.

Sarah Detwiler is a majoring in journalism with a minor in sports management and a certificate in sports media.

 

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