Cathy Bochain proud to be part of UConn women’s athletics legacy

Cathy Bochain ’83 (PHR) doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer in UConn athletics, but rather as a builder of bridges to the success that Husky teams enjoy today.

Bochain was a member of the first class of freshman female basketball student-athletes in which every member was a scholarship holder, and she graduated as an all-time scoring and assisting leader. university history. There were female scholarship players before, but never an entire class — a direct result of the passage of landmark federal Title IX legislation in 1972.

Bochain will be among hundreds of former UConn student-athletes returning to campus the weekend of October 14-16 for a 50e anniversary of Title IX and the commemoration of an enduring legacy of UConn women’s athletics since its university inception in 1974.

Former UConn student-athletes who have not yet registered for the weekend are encouraged to do so at this special website.

Cathy Bochain during her days as a member of the UConn women’s basketball team (Cyril Morris/UConn Athletics Photo).

“Those things wouldn’t have happened”

Bochain grew up in Plainfield and played the usual sports while growing up with his brothers and friends.

“It wasn’t very cool for girls to play with boys, but I did, and I got harassed a bit, but it got me pretty hard,” Bochain says. “We had an old Little League field near our house and we played baseball all summer and football in the fall. I came to basketball a little late, but as I played it more and more, I not only liked it, but I was good enough for it.

Bochain had an outstanding basketball career at Plainfield High School and was encouraged by her coach, Claudia Combies, to pursue a college scholarship.

“She was a real feminist for the time,” Bochain says of her coach. “She had a bulletin board outside our gym that had pictures of people like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova and the Connecticut Falcons softball team. She was very progressive and made sure that we knew the opportunities available to us.

Bochain was also part of the first wave of AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) women’s teams and beat 4,000 players at a tournament in Boston for a spot on a prestigious team that included future U.S. national team member Medina. Dixon and the 1985 NCAA Tournament. Most Outstanding Player, Tracy Claxton.

Bochain was heavily recruited by colleges and received scholarship offers from Yale, Boston University, and Boston College, but chose to come to UConn and its nationally renowned pharmacy school.

To this day, she is grateful for the opportunity for a full scholarship and to graduate debt-free. She also credits Title IX for the opportunities she had in high school, college, and the AAU.

“Everyone has wishes and thinks equality will evolve, but without Title IX these things wouldn’t have happened, so that was really important,” says Bochain.

“Athletics help make you a successful person”

Bochain, who grew up in the Moosup section of Plainfield, was also inspired to come to UConn by Moosup’s famous Dropo family – the “first UConn athletics family”, which included Walter, Milton and George. George was vice-principal at Plainfield High School when Bochain was in school.

“George would always call me into his office to show me all of his UConn memorabilia, especially after he did a recruiting visit to another school,” says Bochain. “He was always like, ‘You’re going to UConn, aren’t you?'”

Bochain’s Plainfield teams had great fan support from the school and community, and the gymnasiums were packed for games.

“Eastern Connecticut has always had really good women’s basketball,” she says, “and there were great crowds all over the area.”

That wasn’t the case when Bochain came to UConn in the fall of 1979. That was before Geno Auriemma and before the Gampel Pavilion, when games at the Field House were a matter of friends and family.

Bochain, right, with teammate Mary Ellen Langfield '83.
Bochain, right, with teammate Mary Ellen Langfield ’83 (UConn Athletics photo).

“We had more people from Plainfield at our games than anywhere else,” says Bochain, who was recruiting College of Pharmacy students and faculty to come to the games. They became the team’s biggest supporters.

“Being a student-athlete and a pharmacy student wasn’t easy, but the two things balanced out for me,” says Bochain. “If I had a bad day at school, I would go to the gym and work on things, and if I had a bad game, I knew there was an exam to study.”

Bochain had a successful professional career as a pharmacist for CVS and worked for many years on sites at Storrs, becoming an even more important part of the campus fabric.

“I really got to know so many people from the faculty, coaches, and students, and got to watch the campus grow,” Bochain says.

Bochain has a “family” relationship with current UConn women’s basketball coaches and staff, and was part of the search committee that hired Auriemma in 1985. She was actually the one who picked him up from the airport. for his job interview.

“When I met him and was able to talk to him a bit, I knew he was the right choice with his personality and his charisma,” says Bochain.

She credits her athletic experience to date as helping her in many aspects of life.

“The real world of work is tough, and having an athletic education teaches you gut strength, resilience, and courage,” Bochain says. “Pharmacy work is tough, especially now, and you have to buckle up and be focused. I work as hard at my job as I have ever done in athletics. I hiked the Appalachian Trail with a 50 pound pack. Athletics helps make you a successful person and also teaches you to feel like you had a good day.

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