LincolnWay Community Foundation honors former coach with charitable fund
Someone once said “a good coach impacts more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.” According to former Central DeWitt student athlete Colleen Burke, that perfectly describes Pam Duncan. "She demanded the most and brought out the best in all of us, and somehow managed to keep us laughing through it all."
Duncan's father, a school board member, helped bring girls basketball to Columbus Junction while Pam was a student there. “I had played basketball competitively in school since the sixth grade, and that was the highlight, absolutely, of my high school career,” she said. “I shared my story during our basketball unit in P.E., and the girls came up to me and said they’d like to play, too.”
On pages 4 – 93 of the Central DeWitt class of ’71 yearbook, there are 6 pictures of cheerleaders, one of students on the new tennis courts, of football players piled on homecoming parade flatbed, loyal fans watching a track meet, and one of the male athlete of the year…but none of sanctioned female athletes.
Because of Pam Duncan's vision, page 94 includes a picture of 15 girls dressed in basketball uniforms of black or navy shorts they provided themselves, and t-shirts with numbers made of tape on the front. These were the pioneers of today’s female athletics program in DeWitt.
"We can never thank Pam Duncan (Selk) enough for the time, effort and energy she invested in the pursuit of athletic equality for the young women who simply wanted to participate in sports, just like our male classmates.” -- Gaylene Mattingly Mangan, class of ’71
Reflecting on the decades of students she coached, Pam considers teamwork to be one of the most valuable lessons athletics can teach. “Everyone has so much to contribute,” she said. She also noted that athletics benefit young women by building work ethic, and teaching good sportsmanship. One of those students, Maureen Burke Moeller, put it this way. "We were never fully aware of Miss Duncan’s ongoing advocation for our right to be an equally recognized athletic program, and ultimately equal on all terms. She was our catalyst into a world where women played a wider role in business, politics and leadership. What more could a young woman ask for?"