As part of an ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the TSSAA invited members of the 1976 through 1980 Kirkman Hawks volleyball teams to be honored at the Class AA Girls' Volleyball State Championship match held at Siegel High School on Friday, October 21st.
Girls’ volleyball was first sanctioned as a TSSAA sport for the 1976-1977 school year, and in October of 1976, the Kirkman High School Hawks out of Chattanooga became the first-ever TSSAA Girls’ Volleyball State Champions. Coached by the legendary Juanita Merrell, the Kirkman team was undefeated their first two seasons, and continued their domination by winning the first five state championships in the sport. The Hawks earned 171 wins and only 5 losses during those five seasons.
1976 to 1980 Kirkman Hawks State Championship Teams
Kirkman Hawks 5x State Champs logo as worn on the attendees t-shirts
20 former players, coaches, and managers from the five Kirkman state championship teams were present to be recognized for their trailblazing achievements in propelling the sport of girls' volleyball to where it is today. Each was presented with a commemorative medal designating them as a "TSSAA Title IX Trailblazer", and in turn, bestowed the 2022 state champion and state runner-up medals on the Creek Wood and East Hamilton volleyball players, respectively.
In attendance were former team members Tara Jarrett, Linda Coleman Noble, Jackie McReynolds Sims, Arleen Hale Hughes, Charlene Gristle Boykin, Cheryl Hill Hazel, Teresa Lyons, Patti Jones, Wanda Lewis Strickland, Carolyn Murphy-Justice, Linda Poole Greene, Lisa Robinson Haygood, Susan Swafford Newell, Pamela Hammock-Vasterling, Karen Scott-Cummings, Sharen Douglas-Brown, Alma Justice (representing Manager Pricilla Paschal-Murphy), Athletic Director Angelo “Nubby” Napolitano, 1980 Head Coach Bill Spencer, and Tina Hall (representing 1976 to 1979 Kirkman Head Coach and TSSAA Hall of Fame Coach Juanita Merrell).
1979 Kirkman Hawks Volleyball Game
1980 State Champions