Induction Year: 2003
Denise Smith of Minong, Wisconsin, was an outstanding athlete and leader in the early days of modern women's athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Upon graduating she became a dedicated physical education teacher and coach until her life was cut short by an automobile accident in 1976.
Ms. Smith was a member of the undefeated 1971 volleyball team that played in the state meet -- one of the university's first women's teams to progress that far. As a senior she served as team captain, leading the volleyball team to the regional playoffs. The same year she was captain of the women's basketball team.
After graduating in 1973, Ms. Smith taught physical education and health at Northwood High School in Minong. She continued as a pioneer in women's athletics, helping to establish the school's girls' athletic program, forming its Girls' Athletic Association, and coaching girls' basketball and softball. She also coached the boys' junior varsity basketball team -- the only woman to coach a boys team in Wisconsin at that time. During her brief career, students and fellow educators alike noted her commitment to helping all students achieve regardless of their abilities.