Stu Levitan welcomes Madison native Doug Moe for a conversation about his new biography of the UW’s first director of women’s athletics, Kit Saunders-Nordeen.
On June 23rd 1972, President Richard Nixon did two things with historical significance. In a meeting with chief of staff H. R. Haldeman, he told Haldeman to call FBI director Pat Gray and tell him to stay the hell away from Watergate because it was a CIA matter, which of course it was not. This was the so-called ‘smoking gun’ tape which quickly led to Nixon’s resignation when it was released a little over two years later.
And, with a more appropriate nod to his re-election campaign, Nixon also signed the Education Amendment Act of 1972 with its 37 words and four commas now known as Title IX – “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The impact of Title IX on women’s athletics at the University of Wisconsin – and the critical role that Katherine Kit Saunders played in defining that impact — is the business that occupies Doug Moe in his latest biography, “The Right Thing To Do – Kit Saunders-Nordeen and the rise of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Wisconsin and Beyond.”
It is a book the native Madisonian and 1979 graduate of the UW is well-equipped to write. Doug Moe is, after all, one of Madison’s most prolific and honored journalists and authors. He’s written 12 books, including Tommy Thompson’s autobiography, biographies of legendary Chicago newspaperman Mike Royko, Madison builder Marshall Erdmann and Madison jewelers and philanthropists Irwin and Robert Goodman, a history of the fabled but now defunct UW boxing program and more. In his 18 years as a daily columnist with the Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal, he wrote more than 4,000 columns, which is about 3 million words, and continues to write a monthly column for Madison Magazine and a weekly blog for its website. He is so active, in fact, that his website isn’t doug moe dot com, it’s doug moe dot org. Speaking personally, in my work as a historian of Madison, I know I have benefitted greatly from several of his books, and am very much looking forward to one he’s working on now – the autobiography of State Senator Fred Risser. It is a great pleasure to welcome to MBB the great biographer of modern Madison, my friend Doug Moe.