Rita Pritchett - August 26, 2012
Rita Joyce Pritchett was born on Feb. 17, 1947 to Harold and Orvaleen Pritchett of Iuka, Kan. She passed away after a three year battle with brain cancer on Aug. 26, 2012 at her home in Wilmore, Ky. She was preceded in death by her parents.
She was the second of four children. Rita attended grade school and high school at Byers Schools in Byers, Kan. graduating with the class of 1965. In high school Rita excelled in the limited athletic program that was available at the time and also excelled in academics.
She graduated from Asbury College in 1969. She enrolled at Eastern Kentucky University and was a teaching assistant while obtaining her Master’s Degree in physical education and then started her college teaching career at Asbury College in 1971. She gained her educational specialist in 1971 from Eastern Kentucky. In 2007 she finished her PhD in educational policy studies and evaluation in higher education.
Dr. Pritchett spent 40 years teaching and helping Asbury College grow and develop from club sports and NAIA affiliation to University status and NCAA Division 111. Dr. Pritchett established and then coached women’s volleyball, softball, tennis and track and field during her 27 year coaching career at Asbury. She was named, “Coach of the Year” at some time during her coaching career in every sport she coached. She served on numerous committees in building and developing the athletic programs.
Dr. Pritchett was the first ever woman athletic director at the college or university level in Kentucky and served in that capacity for 10 years.
Academically, Dr. Pritchett developed and/or assisted in developing courses in measurement and evaluation, coaching, sports skills, psychology and sociology of sport and physical education, fitness walking, theory of physical activity, history of sport, sport management and health education courses in the HPERA Department.
She was the catalyst in initiating Asbury College’s first women’s intercollegiate basketball program and directed the re-establishment of the men’s intercollegiate basketball program. She also directed the establishment of the Sports Information Department and initiated the Asbury College Athletic Handbook. In 2004, Dr. Pritchett was one of seven people inducted into the first Asbury Hall of Fame. There is an annual Rita Pritchett Award for Academic Excellence given to a senior scholar athlete in addition to an Asbury collegiate basketball tournament named in her honor.
Dr. Pritchett spent her entire adult life teaching, mentoring, and being a positive influence in her students’ lives. She was called to lead her students to live a Christ-filled life and she modeled that life for them daily. She was also a leader in the Title IX issues during her career and opened many opportunities for women in sports and sports administration.
Dr.Pritchett is survived by her step-father, Bill Post of Arkansas City, Kan., three brothers, Larry and his wife Marlene of Grant, Neb., Craig and his wife Peggy of Hewitt, Texas and Monte and his wife Benja of Gatesville, Texas, one God-given sister, Becky Wood of Wilmore, Ky., and numerous nephews and nieces whom she dearly loved and spoiled as often as possible.
A celebration of Dr. Pritchett’s life will be held on Thursday, Aug. 30 in Hughes Auditorium on the campus of Asbury University.
Burial will be in Iuka at the Iuka Cemetery on Saturday, Sept. 1.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Asbury University Athletic Department, Asbury University Department of Physical Education, or charity of choice.
Betts and West Funeral Home was in charge of services.