Equity Champion: Judy Devine

In honor of Women’s History Month, Kent State Today will be looking at the accomplishments of Kent State women who have advanced the cause of women, broken glass ceilings and left a lasting impact on women’s history.  

Judy Devine, retired senior associate athletic director for Kent State.

Judy Devine has been called the matriarch of Kent State University athletics.  

She arrived at Kent State in 1969 as a graduate assistant, coming from Colorado State University, where she played five varsity sports, earned 18 letters and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. She earned her master’s degree in health and physical education from Kent State in 1970. 

Devine served as Kent State’s assistant coach in women’s basketball (1969-72), field hockey (1969-70) and softball (1969-70) before becoming women’s head basketball coach (1972-77), head field hockey coach (1970-80) and head women’s athletic trainer (1969-75). 
When the men’s and women’s athletic programs were merged in 1975, Devine was named assistant director of athletics before being elevated to associate athletic director in 1978 and then senior associate athletic director in 1985.  

She retired from her post in 2000 following 31 years of service. At the time of her retirement, Devine coordinated all student-athlete services, including financial aid, housing, awards, academic performance, compliance and eligibility. She also served on many institutional, conference and NCAA committees during her career.   

Among her many career accolades, Devine was the first woman honored as the Kent State Varsity K Alumni Association Person of the Year, in 2000, and, in 2003, was inducted into the Kent State Athletic Hall of Fame, the highest honor bestowed by Kent State’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. 

Judy Devine, retired senior associate athletic director for Kent State, returned for Homecoming in 2022 to celebrate 50 years of Title IX.

During Homecoming 2022, Devine served as a volunteer to help the university invite back all former female student-athletes to serve as honorary Homecoming Parade Grand Marshals and participate in Homecoming weekend activities honoring Milestones and Memories and acknowledging 50 years of Title IX.

Devine also has been a generous supporter of Kent State, including the permanent endowment of the Devine Athletic Academic Honors Dinner and the expansion of athletics’ Academic Resource Center. Additionally, she established the Judith K. Devine Athletics Equity Endowment to help support Kent State Athletics as it strives for Title IX equity. To honor both her lifelong and philanthropic commitments to gender equity at Kent State for female student-athletes, the softball facility was dedicated in spring 2022 in her honor as the Devine Diamond.

In 2012, Devine was one of 25 candidates nationwide for the Title IX Trailblazer Award, which honored individuals who made significant contributions to gender equity.

Judy Devine is presented with Kent State's Diversity Trailblazer Award in 2014 by Alfreda Brown, then vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Devine was awarded Kent State’s Diversity Trailblazer Award in 2014. The award’s selection committee noted her dedication to equality and opportunity for women at a point in history when such efforts were not established by legislation. That same year, Devine was inducted into the Mid-American Conference’s Hall of Fame. With her induction, Devine became the first athletics administrator and the first female administrator in the MAC Hall of Fame. 

Devine was a champion for student-athletes throughout her career at Kent State and her commitment to equity for all continues to shape the culture and policies within the Kent State athletics department.

POSTED: Thursday, March 16, 2023 02:55 PM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2023 05:03 PM
Lisa Abraham