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Milford CT a Little City With A Big Heart
Class of 1955 Memories

Girls Sports at Milford High School

Please submit your MHS girls sports photos and recollections to for inclusion on this web page.

WANTED: MHS girls sports photos and memories from all decades.

PRIOR TO THE 1972 FEDERAL educational law known as Title IX, Milford High School - along with other high schools prior to 1972 - did not offer as many opportunities to females for extra-curricular activities in athletics as it did for boys.

For instance, the Class of 1951 girls had a bowling team, basketball team, sports club and gym class listed under GIRLS' SPORTS in the 1951 Wepawaug yearbook, as well as an all-female cheerleading squad. Meanwhile, BOYS' SPORTS listed included football, basketball, bowling, track and volleyball and gym classes listed in the same yearbook.

By the Class of 1975 the gap had somewhat narrowed, as girls had five varsity sports including basketball, gymnastics, tennis, volleyball and swimming/diving while the boys had nine - football, baseball, basketball, swimming/diving, track, bowling, tennis, cross country, wrestling and for the first time soccer.

1926 MHS Girls Win State Basketball Title

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Girls sports in the 1950s ...


Top left, the 1950 MHS girls basketball team. Top right, the 1950 girls bowling team.

The 1951 MHS girls basketball team, above left. Above right, play shown in the old Central Grammar School gym that featured a stage infringing onto the court on the north side, and the overhanging balcony on the south side, giving a decided advantage to the "home" team.

In 1954, MHS Physical Ed Teacher Joan Tickey organized a club level team for girls to compete against area schools in volleyball play at the Arnold College gym. 


The Milford Recreation Department also filled the void for girls by organizing girls leagues.


Milford Panther girls were a power in basketball & softball in '50s

COACH BILL KOZNAR'S Senior Milford Panthers, above right, made sports history when its two year record set a new high in local sports competition. Led by Captain Barbara Hoff, their basketball team won the 1951 and 1952 city basetball championships in addition to compiling an 11-2 record against unaffiliated out-of-town teams. The 1952 Panthers became the first Milford team (boy or girl) to enter a Bridgeport basketball league and win the title. Not to rest on their laurels, this initial group of Koznar's Panthers continued its winning ways in basketball and also captured several Milford softball crowns, picture above left. Donna Beckwith led the Panther softball champs with a batting average of .386 as well as adding a no-hit, no-run game to her pitching. 

THE MILFORD PANTHER BASKETBALL and softball dynasty continued long into the '50s as younger girls joined its multi-level organization and learned not only basic athletic skills but also a feeling of self-worth, leadership and the concept of team sport interaction so essential for a successful transition into adulthood.                    (Submitted by Barbara Gaunya Bourdeau - '55)


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Please submit your MHS girls sports photos and recollections to for inclusion on this web page.

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WANTED: MHS girls sports photos and memories from all decades.

Girls sports in the 1970s ...

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Dorothy Franco - MHS 1976 - Standout Athlete

U.S. Olympian in 1984

and Inducted into

CT Volleyball Hall of Fame

DOROTHY'S DISTINGUISED ATHLETIC career began in 1972 when she entered Milford High School.  At that time, athletic seasons were not as rigidly defined, so as a freshman, Dorothy was able to play four sports: volleyball, swimming/diving, basketball and softball.  It was that year that she first walked into the gym to try out for volleyball, a sport she had never played, and she was nervous. She overcame her anxiety, and with determination and hard work she made the team. 

Just two weeks into the season, to her surprise, her coach, Edna Fraser moved her up to the varsity.  Although there were no all-star teams for volleyball in the early '70s, Dorothy was a standout for her team.  She was an aggressive hitter, tenacious on defense and a powerful server.  While at Milford, Dorothy earned 13 varsity letters.  She was captain of the volleyball team her senior year, the tennis team her junior and senior years and the basketball team her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.  She competed in state tournaments in five sports: volleyball, basketball, swimming/diving, and tennis.

Dorothy received one of the first NCAA scholarships for women.  She attended the University of Alabama on a volleyball and basketball scholarship.  She was a four-year varsity volleyball player earning letters each year.  She appeared in three AIAW National Championship tournaments.

In 1980, Dorothy started teaching in Milford, but left in ’81 to train for the Olympic Games (Team Handball). She made the team and represent the US in the ’84 Games.  The team finished fourth, missing a medal by a goal.

After the Olympics, Dorothy began a 13-year college coaching career which took her at the University of Minnesota, Tulane University and the University of Alabama.  After marriage and two children, Dorothy decided to discontinue her Division I coaching career and she returned to Milford to resume her teaching career.

Dorothy has been the Athletic Coordinator at Newington High School since 2001. She has been a sports commentator and color analyst for ESPN in 1997, broadcasting NCAA and international volleyball events. After living in Rocky Hill with her husband Tom and children Ty and Kyley, the family recently moved to Milford.

- Edited From Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame Website

How far has Women's Sports come? 

Ask fans of the University of CT's record-setting women's basketball program.