Inspired by very good professors and physical educators growing up, Becky Sisley was determined to make her mark on the field. She started her journey by earning a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in 1961 and teaching for a year at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland. Dr. Sisley then earned a Master of Science in physical education and a Doctor of Education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, in 1964 and 1973, respectively, and garnered more hands-on experience as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She also became certified as a national official for basketball, softball, volleyball, and field hockey, and as a national rating official for the United States Track and Field Association (USATF).
Driven by her goal of helping young people reach their fitness goals, Dr. Sisley dedicated herself to her career. She joined the University of Oregon’s Physical Education Department as an instructor in 1965, and was promoted to professor of physical education a few years later. During her tenure with the school, which ended when she retired in 1992, Dr. Sisley took on the mantles of women’s basketball coach, women’s softball coach, and women’s field hockey coach, each for a couple of seasons. She also served the school as the athletic director and as the head of undergraduate studies in physical education. Some her greatest accomplishments there include serving as the was the first and only director of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics, leading efforts during the Title IX compliance review for the 1975-1976 season, advocating for more funding and better facilities, hiring more female coaches, and implementing athletic scholarships for women.
When Dr. Sisley wasn’t at the University of Oregon, she was working to improve women’s sports in other ways. She was an advisor for the Women’s Recreation Association, a member of the Division for Girls and Women’s Sport National Executive Committee, and president of the Northwest College Women’s Sports Association, as well as a member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). She also wrote a variety of articles for professional journals.
Notably, Dr. Sisley is a strong and renowned athlete herself. She began to participate in track and field at the age of 49, and holds the women’s javelin national record and the women’s pole vault national and world records for the age groups 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and 70-74. She also won seven medals at the 2009 World Masters Track & Field Championships in Laithi, Finland, was featured in the Sports Illustrated piece, “Faces in the Crowd,” in 1991, and was selected to the Northwest Regional All-Star Team for softball. Additionally, Dr. Sisley was part of the 1964 World Champion Softball team, the Portland Erv Lind Florists, which was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, and part of the Midwest Field Hockey Association team which participated in the USFHA National Tournament in Rochester, New York, in 1963.