Joan Cronan, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019 inductee


Joan Cronan is a titan in the history of women’s college sports, especially for the mark she made on the University of Tennessee Lady Vols. 

She serves as Athletic Director Emeritus for the University of Tennessee. Before that, she was the Women’s Athletic Director for nearly 30 years until the programs were brought under the same umbrella. 

Under her leadership, the Lady Vols program grew to become one of the most recognized and respected programs in the nation. Her success at UT wasn’t her first. She carved a path of accomplishments at the College of Charleston in South Carolina where she served as AD for 10 years prior.

She would go on to be inducted into that institution’s Hall of Fame and propel the Charleston women’s athletic program to number one in the country in 1980 according to the American Women’s Sports Foundation.

You can’t mention Cronan without acknowledging the dynamic strength of her leadership paired with the magnitude of having a coach like the late Pat Summitt to lead the women’s basketball team. Cronan was the first recipient of the NCAA Pat Summitt Award.

The thing that I hope I taught Pat, that I taught her was to enjoy the journey. Sometimes we can get so focused on what is out there in the future, that we forge to enjoy the present. So I am going to say this all weekend. Enjoy the present it’s really special. Your family is here. You know it’s recognizing women who have made a difference in the world of sports,” says Cronan.

Athletics Director Emeritus for the University of Tennessee after serving there as Women’s Athletic Director for nearly three decades. 2005 Athletic Director of the Year & 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA). 2017 first recipient of the NCAA Pat Summitt Award & 2018 recipient of NACDA’s top award – The James Corbett Award. 

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