Martha Maugh ‘79: Greenhills’ first athlete to earn a women’s athletic scholarship
From a young age, Martha Maugh threw herself into athletics.
“I played every single sport that you could at Greenhills,” she said.
At different times, Maugh played basketball, volleyball, softball — everything. But eventually, as she neared her high school graduation, it came time to choose one, and Maugh settled on a sport that was far from orthodox at the time.
“Way back when, there were not very many schools that were playing field hockey,” she said.
Field hockey was more popular on the East Coast; in Michigan, there were very few teams in the area. Huron had a team; besides that, it was only Greenhills and other independent schools that had teams.
Maugh’s timing was fortuitous: she graduated from Greenhills soon after Title IX had become law. Before the law, she remembered, things weren’t equal, not just on the playing field but all over athletics.
“When you don’t have the same opportunities, it’s not just on the field,” Maugh said. “There were no opportunities for women in anything.”
But after Title IX, things were changing. So Maugh and her parents went on a mission: finding a field hockey scholarship. Of course, this was long before athletes could email coaches game tapes. Maugh wrote letters to coaches, and if she was lucky, they would call back and invite her to come in and work out.
“I had a bee in my bonnet at the time,” Maugh said, “because I wanted to play in college but I didn’t know how to do it.”
With help from her Greenhills coach, Marilyn Bradley, Maugh cast her net far and wide looking for a scholarship. But it turned out she needn’t have looked that far. Maugh earned a field hockey scholarship to the University of Michigan, and continued her career there while also going to business school. She was the first Greenhills women’s athlete to earn an athletic scholarship.
“I definitely felt very proud,” she said. “I was doing something new, and I loved that. Nobody else had done it.”