Jan High, an educator and pioneer in women's sports who coached top teams at Sacramento City College, died Jan. 9 of cancer, her family said. She was 76.
Ms. High championed women's athletics as a physical education teacher and coach for more than 40 years. She spent 11 years at Sacramento High School before joining the faculty at SCC in 1969, three years before federal Title IX outlawed gender discrimination in sports at high schools and colleges.
"Jan was always an advocate for young girls and women in sports," retired SCC track coach Karen Kunimura said. "When Title IX passed, she made sure everybody knew about it and that we were going to follow it."
She posted a record of 304-185 as women's basketball coach at SCC in the 1970s and 1980s and led the group to postseason play every season after women's playoffs were started. She recruited players at local golf courses to found the women's golf team at SCC in 1995.
She also coached the women's swimming team and served as women's athletic director and interim dean of physical education. She retired from SCC in 2001 and served briefly as an interim dean and athletic director at Sierra College.
Ms. High received many honors as a coach and educator. She was named 1985 women's coach of the year by the California Community College Athletic Association. She was inducted into halls of fame at Sacramento City College, the CCCAA Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the Christian Brothers La Salle Club.
Born in 1936 in Modesto, Janice Marie High was the third of five children raised by a heavy-equipment operator and homemaker. She began playing sports early and joined a Modesto semipro softball team at 13.
She graduated from California State University, San Jose, and earned a master's degree in physical education from California State University, Sacramento. She taught PE and coached girls sports at Sacramento High School. She also coached a semipro softball team, the Sonics, in the early 1970s.
Ms. High lived in Gold River. Never married, she enjoyed spending time with her sisters, nieces and nephews. Her favorite activities included playing golf and attending the theater and Sacramento Kings games.
She traveled widely and enjoyed fishing on family vacations in Santa Cruz. A devout Catholic, she was a longtime member of St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Sacramento.
"You could count on her every Sunday with her sister in the second pew," Kunimura said. "God was a very important part of her life."