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IU’s first women’s basketball coach Bea Gorton dies at 73



bea-gorton

Bea Gorton is pictured in 1975. Gorton, IU's first women's basketball coach, died July 14. IU Archives

IU’s first women’s basketball coach Bea Gorton, 73, died July 14 at her Carol Stream, Illinois, home. 

"We are saddened to hear about the loss of Bea Gorton, who was a leader and pioneer in women's basketball at Indiana and nationally,” said IU women’s basketball coach Teri Moren. “Her dedication to our program in its early stages as a varsity program will never be forgotten. Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones at this time."

Gorton, who coached the Hoosiers from 1972-76, holds the highest win percentage in program history at .738 with a record of 79-28 and was inducted into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014. She was a graduate student at IU and earned a doctorate in biomechanics while coaching, according to an article from the Indiana Basketball History Magazine. 

“My time at Indiana University back in the '70s was a time of great joy and learning,” Gorton said in her Hall of Fame speech in 2014. 

Gorton led the Hoosiers to two AIAW, which governed women's colligiate athletics from 1971 until the NCAA took over in 1982, Elite Eight appearances in 1972 and 1974 and a Final Four appearance in 1973. Gorton also coached Debbie Oing, the only All-American in program history. 

After coaching at IU, Gorton returned to her alma mater Wheaton College to teach, where she helped lead them to an undefeated season as a player in 1967-68. She was inducted into Wheaton’s Hall of Honor in 1988.



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