Julie Koivula is Title IX Trailblazer, GHS Hall of Fame Inductee
Part 4 of 4: Geneva coach Julie Koivula helped make girls tennis a powerhouse.
Julie Koivula was a pioneer in leading Viking girls’ sports from the era of one-piece gym suits and weeknight intramurals to full-fledged interscholastic equality with boys’ sports—establishing Geneva as a perennial girls’ tennis power in the process.
The year after she was hired as a P.E. and health instructor in 1971, schools nationwide began grappling with the ramifications of the 1972 federal legislation declaring that females must have opportunities to compete in interscholastic athletics equal to males, Koivula, along with colleagues Bonnie Gardiner and Pam Robinson, were given the charge to create a full-school-year sports program for Geneva High—from scratch, and in a hurry.
The Illinois High School Association mandated that girls’ varsity interscholastic competition would begin with the 1974-75 school year with volleyball and tennis in autumn; basketball and badminton in winter; and softball and track-and-field in spring. (More sports, and varsity/frosh-soph delineations, would follow in later years.)
With static equipment budgets suddenly stretched to cover nearly twice as many sports, Koivula and her colleagues recalled having to make the same basic top-and-shorts uniforms work for several different sports.
Koivula coached girls’ tennis from the start in 1974, and over the next 25 seasons, she led the Viking girls to 12 conference titles, eight sectional crowns, and two fourth-place and a third-place team finish at the Illinois state meet.
Koivula coached Annica Cooper (GHS Class of 1996 and a Hall of Fame inductee) to three top-4 singles finishes at the state meet; Cooper went on to become an All-American at UCLA and a USTA professional. Before retiring in 2004, Koivula was first coach of the Viking girls’ golf program, leading it to two conference championships.
Koivula and coaches Jerry Vitton and John Barton and Julie Koivula will receive their plaques at the 11thannual induction ceremonies for the Vikings’ Athletic Hall of Fame, scheduled for Saturday evening, Jan. 22, in the school’s main contest gymnasium, during halftime of the Geneva-vs.-Elgin varsity basketball game (set to tip off at 6 p.m.)
Editor's note: This is a press release issued to all media and is not exclusive to Geneva Patch. It carries Kurt Wehrmeister's byline because he wrote the release. As indicated in the release, Wehrmeister and Geneva Patch Editor Rick Nagel are members of the Hall of Fame Committee.