“My mother used to tell me that I always try to have my cake and eat it too,” Anderson University Department of Kinesiology chair Dr. Rebecca Hull said. Hull still calls AU home after more than 30 years of coaching and teaching at the university. She feels like she has her cake and has been enjoying it since her hiring in 1979.
An Anderson, Ind., native, Hull grew up in a time when girls were not allowed to play sports. “I was the consummate tomboy,” Hull said. She played wiffle ball and basketball, and rode bikes with the kids in the neighborhood. She had three brothers and she kept up, although she retained some jealous sentiment because her brothers could compete in athletics in high school and she could not. It simply was not a part of the culture of the time.
Once she reached high school, she could only cheer for the athletic teams. “There was a time when there was a break from a basketball game and I went out and played a short pick-up game with some boys. But when the game started up again and we cleared the floor, I went back to cheerleading,” Hull said. Her fortunes would change only slightly when she went to college.
Hull studied physical education at Purdue University, and in her four years of undergraduate study, she also participated on the women’s field hockey and basketball teams. She played softball for one season as well. The only issue with these teams was that they were classified as “extramural” activities instead of sanctioned, recognized interscholastic teams that could earn varsity letters. “We didn’t even have our own trainers,” Hull said. “We would have to tape our own ankles before games. I broke my finger in a field hockey game against Indiana State and taped it myself to the finger next to it and finished the game.” On top of the lack of trainers, the women’s basketball team did not have warm-ups to go with their uniforms in 1971. To solve this problem, the team painted a house and gave blood to buy new warm-up suits.
It wasn’t all bad for Hull, though. “I thought I died and went to heaven at Purdue because I could finally play. I lived in the gym,” Hull said. She vividly remembers her time playing basketball in Mackey Arena. “It was cool, the ball pings when it hits the floor,” Hull said.
In 1974, during her senior year, Hull went to the university president and the athletic director to discuss transitioning women’s athletics into varsity sports. In 1975 Purdue made the change and women’s athletics were finally recognized as NCAA varsity intercollegiate sports. “The time was just ripe for women’s sports to be recognized, and it was cool to be a part of that,” Hull said.
The reason Hull could only play softball for one season was because of her involvement with Developmental Movement Education. DME brought in children from the community at a time when perceptional motor skills were being piloted. Such concepts as spatial awareness, body orientation, interception (catching), and projection (throwing or striking) were cutting edge. “It was a very rich learning environment for me,” Hull said.
After she left Purdue, Hull taught and coached for four years at a middle school in Lowell, Ind., but she returned to Anderson when she married. When AU hired her in 1979, she taught physical education while also coaching basketball and volleyball. She had her first of four children in 1981, which taught her the importance of being able to balance personal and professional life. Hull coached her last basketball game in 1985 and her last volleyball game in 1992 so she could spend more time with her family.
Hull still teaches physical education, a field she is passionate about. “I’m committed to teaching and love P.E. and want to pass along that love and advocacy of physical education,” said Hull. “Physical education makes kids more fit, skilled or better at sports, and it starts when they’re young.”
Hull promotes physical education programs across the state, and she enjoys the opportunity to get to know students on a personal level for four years. She loves the concept of training students to be leaders. She loves passing on the excitement of physical education. She loves AU and what AU stands for. “People come here and stay,” Hull said.
— Kyle Beckman is a senior from Auburn, Ind., majoring in communication arts and business/information systems and minoring in political science. Beckman is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.