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Pat Lamb, coach and champion of women’s sports at Carleton, dies at 83 (USA)

From the moment she joined the staff of Carleton College in Northfield in 1962, Pat Lamb was a pioneer and leader in women’s sports, particularly tennis.

Lamb arrived at Carleton after completing a master’s degree at the University of Minnesota. Over the next 32 years, she was a groundbreaking coach, professor and athletic director.

Perhaps the highlight of her career came in 1991, when, as a women’s tennis coach and administrator, she was inducted into the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Northern Hall of Fame. Her presenter was, fittingly, another tennis pioneer — Billie Jean King.

Lamb died Jan. 28 in Northfield after a long battle with cancer. She was 83.

“Coach Pat Lamb always gave 100 percent of herself to everything she did,” King wrote in a tweet. “She was a pioneer and a game-changer for women’s athletics, an exemplary coach, and a loyal friend. We will miss her.”

Lamb started her career at Carleton as an instructor in the women’s physical education department. In 1970, she became the school’s first athletic director for women. Over the next 15 years, she oversaw the development of 12 varsity athletic programs for women.

In the two decades she served as the women’s tennis coach, her teams won 11 conference championships. When she retired from coaching in 1987, she was named the NCAA Division III women’s National Coach of the Year.

She also served in leadership positions in several organizations including the USTA, the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport and the NCAA.

A statement from the Carleton athletic department said, “[Pat] Lamb spent her life in service to Carleton and its students. She is recognized as an early champion for women’s physical education and was an influential leader in the development of increased sport opportunities for women, not only at Carleton, but also at the state, regional and national levels.

“Because of her advocacy, and that of her life partner, Eleanor Hansen, Carleton became an early model for providing wide-ranging physical education instruction, classes and resources for women,” it continued.

Lamb was born in Minneapolis. She graduated from Minneapolis Central High School and the University of Minnesota, then taught physical education at several schools in California before returning to Minnesota to pursue her advanced degree.



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