Mary Jo Wynn, the first director of women’s athletics at Missouri State, died Tuesday, Jan. 22, Missouri State announced. She was 87.
Wynn graduated from Missouri State in 1953. She was named director of women’s athletics in 1975. From coaching the volleyball and tennis programs in 1958, she saw nine additional women’s programs added to Missouri State.
The leading trailblazer/legacy/legend of women’s athletics @MissouriState passed away today. I so enjoyed interacting w/ Mary Jo Wynn during my time in this office. She will be missed by me and all who love the #MSUBears. pic.twitter.com/xKaKdfG07j— Clif Smart (@ClifSmart) January 23, 2019
In 1992, the men’s and women’s athletic departments merged, and Wynn was named senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator. She held those titles until she retired in 1998.
Teams under her tenure were successful in NCAA Division I play with seven appearances in basketball, four in softball and three in volleyball.
Wynn contributed to the formation of the Gateway Conference in 1982 before the women’s programs in that conference were absorbed by the Missouri Valley Conference in 1992.
Wynn organized the MSU Women's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981. She was enshrined in 1999. She was also named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Administrator of the Year in 1996. She earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Associate of Girl’s and Women’s Athletic Administration in 1999, the first Bee Payne Stewart Award by the Women’s Intersport Network in 2007 and the NACWAA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 — an award given to an administrator who dedicated their career to advancing women in athletics.
Wynn received multiple local awards including the Missouri State University Outstanding Alumni Award in 1995 and the John Sanders Spirit of the Valley Award in 2009.
She was inducted into the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, the Missouri State University Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame in 2017. She was named a Missouri Sports legend by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
The Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Senior Female Scholar-Athlete Award was named in her honor in 1998 and well as the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Academic Achievement Center, located in Forsythe Athletic Center, in 2015.
The Missouri State volleyball team started the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational in 1998 in her honor.
A celebration of life will be held at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Schweitzer United Methodist Church.