BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Bea Gorton, the first women’s basketball coach at Indiana, has died. She was 73.

The Hultgren Funeral Home said Gorton died at her home in Carol Stream, Illinois, on Tuesday.

Gorton spent four seasons in charge of the Hoosiers, from 1972-76, and went 79-28. She still holds the school record for top winning percentage (.738) as well as the distinction of having coached the only All-American in program history, Debbie Oing.

During Gorton’s tenure, the Hoosiers reached the AIAW Final Four in 1973 and the tournament’s Elite Eight in 1972 and 1974. From 1975-1980, Gorton served as an adviser to the AIAW, which oversaw national championships in women’s sports until the NCAA took over in 1982. She also was a member of the Kodak Coaches All-American selection committee in 1975-76.

“We are saddened to hear about the loss of Bea Gorton, who was a leader and pioneer in women’s basketball at Indiana and nationally,” current Hoosiers coach Teri Moren said. “Her dedication to our program in its early stages as a varsity program will never be forgotten. Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones at this time.”

Following her coaching career, Gorton returned to her alma mater, Wheaton College in Illinois, as a faculty member. She made subsequent teaching stops at Taylor University in Indiana and Bowling Green.


Gorton had a master’s degree in sports medicine and earned her doctorate in bio-mechanics at Indiana while coaching. She spoke to the International Olympic Scientific Congress in 1984 and 1988, was invited to lecture about bio-mechanics in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong and Taiwan, was a consultant for the 1984 Paralympics competition in New York and was a special lecturer at the 1988 Special Olympics in Seoul.

Gorton, who helped lead Wheaton to an undefeated season in 1967-68, was inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor in 1988 and Indiana’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

She is survived by her two brothers, one sister, six nieces and nephews and seven great nieces and nephews.


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