Had it not been for the perseverance of those who paved the way for women’s athletics and the passage of Title IX, Marilyn Moniz-Kaho’ohanohano may not have celebrated her 25th anniversary last Thursday as associate athletics director with University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“The past 25 years have been an incredible journey, and I am so grateful for all the people that have made this possible,” she says.
“Especially Dr. Donnis Thompson, Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink, Jean King, Faith Evans, Congresswoman Pat Saiki and all the women and men of the ’70s who made these opportunities available so we could achieve our dreams.”
Moniz-Kaho’ohanohano, who appeared on MidWeek‘s May 31, 1989 cover, has really been with the department much longer than 25 years.
In 1972, she played for the university’s first women’s volleyball program and was the first four-year letter winner, competing with the Rainbow Wahine until 1976.
“It’s my privilege to continue to work with them throughout these four-plus decades,” she says.
In those decades, much has changed. Today, women’s athletics operates with an $8 million budget and has grown from 98 female athletes to approximately 200.
“When I first came on board we had seven women’s sports and now we have 13,” she says. “Tremendous improvement.”
As someone who benefitted directly from Title IX, Moniz-Kaho’ohanohano has played a vital role in upholding the department’s compliance with its gender equity plan, a requirement of the NCAA that began in the 90s.
Currently titled, “Believe It, Achieve It,” its areas of focus include facilities, scholarships and opportunities for student participation. Every two years, a committee reevaluates the plan, which must be updated every five years.
“We’re still believing it and still trying to achieve it,” she says. “It’s just so important in us achieving gender equity to have those things in place.”
Because of the impact Title IX also had on the opportunities to attend professional schools, Moniz-Kaho’ohanohano was able to attend UH’s William S. Richardson School of Law.
“I got the other side of Title IX also,” she says. “I had athletic opportunity and then I had an opportunity to go to our law school.”
A member of the school’s fourth graduating class, she serves as an honorary committee member for its 40th anniversary celebration April 11 at Iolani Palace.
“I have been very fortunate to be a Rainbow Wahine and be a part of an amazing group of coaches, staff and student-athletes,” she says.