Albion Mourns Passing of Physical Education Emerita Professor Charlotte Duff

A portrait of Charlotte Duff from the 1960s.A portrait of Charlotte Duff from the 1960s.Charlotte Duff, professor emerita of physical education, passed away Oct. 3 in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

Duff, who joined the Albion staff in 1956, was hailed for developing a sports science track for the physical education major and serving as chair of the department for 15 years from 1975-1990. In addition to her 34-year teaching career at the College, she served as longtime coach of Albion’s tennis and field hockey programs, and she also coached the women’s basketball and tennis squads, gaining induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

“Char’s contributions to women’s physical education and women’s athletics at Albion are legendary,” said Albion College President Donna Randall. “Not only is she is fondly remembered by generations of alumni, but her leadership is felt by the hundreds of female scholar-athletes who compete for Albion today.”

Albion Athletic Director Matt Arend added, “Even though I never got an opportunity to meet Char the profound impact she had on her former players is clearly evident. Her pioneering legacy will live on in the generations of women who proudly compete for Albion.”

Charlotte Duff with members of the 1981 field hockey team.Charlotte Duff with members of the 1981 field hockey team.Duff was one of the founders of the Ann Arbor Field Hockey Association and the Michigan College Field Hockey Association, serving both organizations as president for many years. She also served the Michigan Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (MAHPR) as president and as the assembly representative to the MAHPER. In 1977 Duff was awarded the Distinguished Honor Award by the MAHPER. Char served on numerous other women's athletic association boards and was a member of the NCAA's National Field Hockey Committee, serving as the chair for the Great Lakes Field Hockey Committee. She was a driving force in women's athletics for the State of Michigan and nationally.

At the helm of the Britons, Duff's career wins in field hockey rank her first among all MIAA coaches in that sport. From 1976 to 1980, the field hockey teams captured five straight league titles.

“Char was a pioneer of her time,” said Mary Ann Egnatuk, ’76, herself an Albion Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. “Her coaching style was one of patience, and we were willing to run through brick walls for her. I tried to tie many of Char’s techniques into my coaching.”

Duff retired as professor and chairman of physical education and as a coach in 1990.

There are no plans for a service. Cards of condolence may be sent to Char's sister, Barbara D. Ockerlander, 1740 Condor Lane, #324, Green Bay, WI  54313-7785.

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