Marie Hays, a pioneer for women’s sports and an inductee into the UNM Athletic Hall of Honor, has died. She was 96.
Hays, born in Estancia, was listed in the Journal’s Tricentennial Magazine as one of the top 20 sports figures in New Mexico history.
“Doctors said sports competition wasn’t good for girls,” Hays once told the Journal. “They said we weren’t equipped physically or mentally for competition. Worse yet, the head of UNM’s physical education department stated it wasn’t lady-like to sweat. That really hurt.”
Hays was included in the first class of the UNM Athletic Hall of Honor. She was also the first woman in the NMAA Hall of Fame.
Hays was an all-star intramural athlete at UNM from 1932-36.
She worked as teacher, counselor and coach in the public school system, notably 25 years at Valley High School, until her retirement in 1979.
A memorial service will be held Friday at the UNM Alumni Chapel at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the UNM Letterman’s Club Scholarship Program or to the charity of their choice. — This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal