Betty began her Penn career in 1976 with a club team of six athletes; the program moved to varsity status in 1978, and she served as the program’s only head coach until her retirement in 2002. Under her leadership, the cross country/track & field program flourished, and distinguished itself as a consistently competitive program within the Ivy League and in the East.
Considered one of the most successful coaches in Ivy League track & field history, Betty’s teams won an impressive seven Heptagonal championships, 11 Ivy League titles, and 10 Big Five championships. More than 140 athletes garnered All-Ivy honors during her tenure at Penn, and more then 50 were guided to individual Heptagonal championships. Among them were the 1981 cross country team that ran at the AIAW National Championships (the women’s precursor to today’s NCAA Championships), and 1982 AIAW qualifiers Riva Gensib (5,000) and Mary Turner (800). Six of Betty’s student-athletes became NCAA Qualifiers, including fellow Hall of Fame Class VI inductee Kate O’Hern; Sue Eckel; Christelle Williams (a three-time ECAC champion); and Frances Childs (the Quakers’ first Penn Relays heptathlon champion). Both Williams and Childs are also Penn Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
Among the more notable athletes during Betty’s tenure were Joan PhengLaOr, who competed in the long jump at the 1984 Olympic Games to become the program’s first Olympian; Chris Lundy, who became the Quakers’ first three-time distance All-American in 1992 (and was inducted in Penn’s Hall of Fame Class V); Karyn Smith, an indoor triple jump All-American in 1994 who represented the East at the Olympic Sports Festival; and Julie Siebert-Johnson, a 2000 Junior National All-American in the javelin.
A 1969 graduate of West Chester State, Betty was nationally ranked in the pentathlon and competed in the Millrose Games, the AAU National Pentathlon Championships, and the 1964 Olympic Trials. A renowned technician in the sport, she has authored a book on track & field for women. Betty also served as director of the Penn Relays heptathlon, and chaired both the Heptagonal Games Association and the NCAA Division I Track & Field Coaches Association.