Schenectady County

Third woman to enter Schenectady schools’ Athletic Hall of Fame

This fall, the Schenectady City School District will induct its third woman, Dot Hoyt Nebel, into it

This fall, the Schenectady City School District will induct its third woman, Dot Hoyt Nebel, into its Athletic Hall of Fame.

The hall has 51 men in it, as well as an entire Little League team. It includes Schenectady alumni who broke records, won championships or played professionally.

But critics have begun to mutter that many women had deserving athletic careers as well, and school board members have asked why so few women have been chosen.

Now the hall will include Nebel, who died in 2001, but it still remains overwhelmingly male, Hall of Fame Chairperson Bob Pezzano said.

“The percentage out of 51 is still not great,” he said.

But he doesn’t see that changing any time soon. The committee is trying to induct the oldest athletes first.

“We’re trying to get as many of these in while they’re still alive,” he said. “Some of them played pro sports. Those opportunities were not there for women.”

Choosing a woman who had not played professionally over a man who had would be unfair, he added.

“Basically what we’d be doing is re-writing history. We want to get to the best people,” he said.

But there are some — particularly women who performed well in the Olympic games. Nebel made it onto the 1940 U.S. ski team for the Winter Olympics, though the games were canceled as World War II broke out.

Nebel won many skiing championships and later started a ski coaching program in North Creek. There, she taught Freddie Anderson, who has taught generations of Schenectady County skiers at Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam.

“She was really responsible for my career,” said Anderson, who remembered Nebel as a vivacious woman, an enthusiastic teacher and a dynamic skier.

Are there more Schenectady alumni like her? Pezzano said finding women from that time period hasn’t been easy.

“It was almost like a homework assignment, trying to find females,” he said.

The committee is focusing on athletes from the 1960s and earlier.

The vast majority of the inductees so far graduated between 1930 and 1960. Only four graduated later; one of them is a woman.

Pezzano expects many more female inductees when the committee begins to focus on athletes after Title IX, the 1972 federal law that created many athletic opportunities for women.

“There are others on our list, and there are others we’ve discussed,” Pezzano said.

Categories: High School Sports, News

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