PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Nov. 12, 2012) – Rutgers University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Monday that all women’s teams will don black patches with the letters “RKT” for the remainder of the year to honor the late Rita Kay Thomas, a senior assistant athletic director from 1972-2001, who passed away on Oct. 10.
Thomas helped uphold Title IX regulations and oversaw the transition of women’s sports between 1975 and 1984. She was responsible for all aspects of administration and leadership of the original women’s programs, including the hiring and evaluation of coaches, scheduling, game contracts, eligibility of student-athletes, and budgeting.
In the fall of 1972, Rutgers University became co-educational, and strides were made to accommodate the institution’s new culture. After the passing of Title IX in the same year, universities nationwide worked to implement the gender equality changes. Thomas was hired as RU’s first director of women’s athletics and assistant athletic director, and was an integral part of the organization of women’s athletics at Rutgers.
Despite supervising, coordinating, administering, and overseeing all aspects of Rutgers women's athletic programs, Thomas still found time to devote to being the head women’s tennis coach.
In 1993, Thomas transitioned from a sport administrator to running the university’s compliance program. She was the advisor to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and also the Title IX liaison. Thomas retired in 2001 after 29 years of service at Rutgers.