Title IX, arguably one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in America's history, reached its 50th anniversary in June. Throughout the year, the Collaborative will highlight the significant contributions of Philadelphia women who have left their mark on the sports world and in the lives of many. This month's feature is Denise Dillon, head coach of Villanova women’s basketball.
Dillon describes her relationship with sports as the “core existence” of her being. Growing up, Dillion and her 4 siblings played various sports like hockey, swimming, and of course basketball. It was in high school that Dillon focused on basketball solely and grew her love for the sport. Summer basketball AAU leagues brought a sense of community and presented the opportunity to put her through college at Villanova University.
While at Villanova, Dillon fell in love with the family-like atmosphere and high standards that were presented at the university. “They wanted to see me succeed,” Dillon says while discussing her alma mater. “I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself.” After a successful athletic career and becoming a Villanova Varsity Club Hall of Fame inductee, Dillon graduated and became the assistant coach for the Wildcat’s women’s basketball team from 1997 to 2001. She would later move on to Drexel as the women’s basketball head coach in 2003.
At Drexel, Dillon inspired greatness in her players and created a new standard of success for the program. Dillon has 14 winning seasons in her 17 years with the Dragons and received the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year award 4 times. After a successful run at Drexel, she returned to her alma mater, Villanova as head coach in 2020.
Click Here to learn more about Denise Dillon and her story.