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Lucille Kyvallos Athletics Records and Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SCA-0096

Content Description

This collection includes administrative, coaching, and teaching records; awards; photographs; and publications produced and collected by Lucille Kyvallos during her time at Queens College, as well as honors and awards-related items that date into the 2010s. These materials document Kyvallos's tenure as Head Coach of the Women’s Basketball team at Queens College from 1968 through 1981, as well as other work performed in and outside of the College related to women's basketball locally, nationally, and internationally.

The contents include coaching notes and diagrams concerning strategy, training programs for athletes, player statistics, correspondence and documents concerning grants in aid for players’s; correspondence, promotional materials, and planning materials for tournaments, clinics, and professional conferences; athletic program brochures and pamphlets; departmental correspondence; photographs and posters; news clippings and magazines; drafts and published articles by Kyvallos and others; materials related to international basketball games and coaching; awards and honors.


  • circa 1950s-2020
  • Majority of material found within 1968-2000


Conditions Governing Access

Appointments to examine materials must be made in advance. Please email for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproductions may be provided to users to support research and scholarship. However, collection use is subject to all copyright laws. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Biographical / Historical

Lucille Kyvallos (b. 1932) grew up in Astoria, Queens as an avid athlete in a time when women and girls were shunned from playing sports. She would spend time playing sports with boys on her neighborhood block and in afterschool programs, exhibiting a talent for basketball at age fourteen. She attended Bryant High School. Due to the lack of organized basketball teams for women and girls, she joined recreational leagues, playing for teams in the Metropolitan Girls Basketball League, the Christian Youth Organization, and the Police Athletic League. Kyvallos and her peers started their own team, the Queens Rustics. Later in high school, Kyvallos was recruited to the Bronx Angels, and then to a paying team called the Cover Girls that traveled the tri-state area. The Cover Girls would play men's teams in fundraiser events. Her talent was recognized in the press and she was known as “Big Lulu.”

Kyvallos started at New York University before transferring to Springfield College to study physical education. Kyvallos would use a fake name to play in a league off campus, traveling for hours on the weekends to play. She also participated in recreational teams on campus, and kept up with the Cover Girls. She graduated from Springfield in 1955, going on to work at Carle Place High School from 1955-1958 before getting her masters degree in Physical Education at Indiana University in 1959. She went on to teach health and physical education at the University of Rhode Island, coach the women’s basketball teams at Cathedral High School for Girls, and coach and teach at West Chester State College in Pennsylvania from 1962-1966. She led West Chester State to a record of 54-2.

After being hired to teach physical education at Queens College in 1966, she coached the Queens College Women's Basketball team as head coach from 1968-1979 and 1980-1981, and helped bring her team and the sport as a whole to the national stage. Due to a continued lack of opportunities for teenage girls in New York to play sports, many players came to the Queens College team without competitive experience. Kyvallos not only taught physical and strategic skills, but focused on boosting her players confidence. After the passage of Title IX in 1972, more inter-scholastic programs were available to high school-aged girls. Because of this change, more players started out at Queens College with a higher level of ability. Kyvallos led the team to an overall record of 239-77 over those years despite facing sexism in her department and a lack of adequate support from the administration along the way. Along with coaching the Queens College players, Kyvallos spent weekends and summers hosting basketball camps and clinics, raising awareness of the sport among teen girls and improving their skills.

Kyvallos is known for coaching the first women’s college basketball game to be played at Madison Square Garden in 1975, Queens College versus Immaculata College, which drew a crowd of almost twelve thousand people. This game was the follow up to a round of exciting women’s college basketball championship games: Immaculata winning in 1973, and then Queens College winning on their home court in 1974, ending Immaculata’s two-year undefeated streak. Publicity around the rivalry led to Madison Square Garden’s interest in hosting the rematch at the 1975 championship finals, which Queens College ended up losing. Ample media coverage, prompted by Kyvallos and the Queens College PR team, also contributed to increased recognition of the power of collegiate women athletes. Kyvallos also coached the 1977 United States National Women’s Basketball Team at the World University Games, where the team brought home a silver medal. Several of Kyvallos’s players from Queens College went on to play either at the Olympic level or in professional women’s basketball leagues, including Althea Gwyn, Debbie Mason, Donna Geils Orender, and Gail Marquis. After thirty years of teaching, Kyvallos left Queens College in 1995.

Kyvallos’s involvement in bringing women’s basketball to the national stage included committee positions for the United States Olympics, the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), and National Girls and Women in Sport. She has received many honors over her career, including Lady Champion’s “Coach of the Year” award, WomenSports’s “The Coach You Would Want to Play For” title, recognition from the New York State Resolutions and New York City Proclamations for her role in women’s basketball at the college level, induction of her and her 1972-1973 team into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, induction into the West Chester University Hall of Fame, induction into the Queens Athletic Hall of Fame, the Joe Lapchick Character Award, and renaming of the Queens College basketball court in her honor. The latter honor was the first instance in New York City of a basketball court being named after a woman. The Lucille Kyvallos Court is listed in the New York City LGBT Historic Sites Project.


Davis, Amanda. (2021, November). "Lucille Kyvallos Court." NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, Nov. 2021,

Hult, Joan S. and Mariana Trekell (eds.). A Century of Women’s Basketball: From Frailty to Final Four. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 1991.

LaGreca, Angela. "Lucille Kyvallos: Legendary Women’s Basketball Coach and How She Changed the Game." Dan’s Papers, 2 Oct. 2021,

"Lucille Kyvallos." Schneps Media, Accessed 21 Jan. 2023.

"Lucille Kyvallos." Springfield College Archives and Special Collections, 19 Dec. 2016,

Museum of the City of New York. "'City/Game: Basketball in New York': Lucille Kyvallos at Queens College." Youtube, uploaded by MuseumofCityNY, 3 March 2020,

Queens College Athletics. Lucille Kyvallos: The Legacy. Accessed 21 Jan. 2023,

Queens Public Television. "QPTV Presents Power Women of Queens: Lucille Kyvallos." Vimeo, 20 June 2018,

"UDC to Commemorate Historic 1975 Federal City College vs. Chinese Women’s National Team Game Amidst National Girls and Women In Sports Day Celebration." University of the District of Columbia Firebirds, 13 Jan. 2015,


12.33 Linear Feet (Nine records cartons and seven custom sized boxes. Ten unhoused trophies take up additional shelf space.)

Language of Materials



The Lucille Kyvallos Athletics Records and Papers document Kyvallos’s career as the coach of the Queens College Women’s Basketball team from 1968-1981 and as a trailblazer in women’s college basketball. The collection contains materials related to Kyvallos’s coaching and teaching; promotional and publicity materials about Queens College’s team and women’s basketball tournaments, camps, clinics, and championships; honors and awards; administrative and planning documents; photographs; and some publication and research materials.


This collection is arranged in six series, largely based on function, with the exception of the photographs series, which is also based on format. The series are as follows:


Coaching and Teaching Materials

Honors and Awards

Promotional Materials and Press Coverage

Publications and Research Materials


Some promotional materials, photos, and publication/research materials may appear in the Administrative series, as materials were largely kept in original order within their folders and the archivist attempted to preserve those groupings. Likewise, some promotional and administrative materials may appear in the Photographs series, as while most photos were grouped by size and year, when they were originally filed with other materials the archivist again wanted to preserve those groupings.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The majority of the collection was previously housed in a four drawer file cabinet at the Department of Recreation and Athletics, Fitzgerald Gym, from Kyvallos's time as a coach and instructor in the Department. A small quantity of materials (such as select awards and photographs) were added to the collection from Kyvallos's personal collection.

Related Materials

An oral history with Lucille Kyvallos is available through the Queens Memory Project: Queens Memory is a local history initiative jointly supported by Queens College and the Queens Public Library.

Condition Description

Documents and photos in stable condition. Collection includes several A/V items on outdated legacy media.

Processing Information

The original arrangement of items within folders were retained in most cases. Some materials arrived loose, in which case they were put in folders grouped together in as close to the original order as possible. The absence of an apparent original folder order led to folders being arranged by series. Folder titles were retained when the aptly described the materials within the folders.

  • Materials with sensitive financial information, employee compensation details, social security numbers, and FERPA-related restrictions were deaccessioned.
  • Copies of training documents, news clippings, rosters, etc. beyond three copies were deaccessioned.
Lucille Kyvallos Athletics Records and Papers
In Progress
Sarah Barlow-Ochshorn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Library, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us