Ann Meyers Drysdale 2013 Commencement
The UCLA Department of Sociology was pleased to welcome distinguished alumna Ann Myers Drysdale as the keynote speaker at its commencement ceremony on June 15, 2013. One of the true pioneers in women’s basketball, Hall of Famer and award-winning broadcaster Ann Meyers Drysdale is beginning her sixth season with the two-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury (2009, 2007), currently in the role of Vice President, a position she also holds with the Phoenix Suns. In 2007, Meyers Drysdale was named the third General Manager in Mercury history and later added the title of president. Her focus has shifted this season to serving as an ambassador in the community as well as handling broadcasting responsibilities for both the Phoenix Suns and Mercury.
Enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. as a player in 1993, Meyers Drysdale’s basketball resume spans over four decades after becoming the first high school player ever to make a United States National Team in 1974.
As an amateur, Meyers Drysdale was the first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship from UCLA. The UCLA basketball legend was a four-time Kodak All-American, the first male or female to achieve that honor. Upon graduation, Meyers Drysdale held 12 of 13 school records and led the Bruins to a national championship in 1978. Meyers Drysdale, who was the first female to be named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame and had her jersey No. 15 retired, also competed in volleyball and won a national championship in track in 1975.
An outstanding all-around player, the 5-9, 140-pound guard represented the United States in the 1976 Olympics, 1975 and ’79 Pan American Games and the 1975 and ’79 World Championships. She earned a silver medal as part of the first women’s US Olympic Basketball team at the Montreal Games in 1976.
Meyers Drysdale remains the only female ever to sign a free-agent contract with an NBA team when she signed with the Indiana Pacers in 1979. After being released by the Pacers, she provided color commentary for Pacers broadcasts and was the first woman to broadcast an NBA game.
The first player drafted in the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) in 1978, Meyers Drysdale resumed her playing career for the New Jersey Gems, where she was named MVP after leading the league in steals and averaging 22.2 points. She also took home the title as one of only two women to win the ABC Sports Superstars competition three years in a row from 1981-1983 and was the only woman to participate in the men’s competition.
Most recently, Meyers Drysdale has established herself as an expert analyst on ESPN, NBC, ABC, FOX Sports and CBS and has done commentary for men’s and women’s basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball and baseball since 1979. Meyers Drysdale’s illustrious broadcasting resume includes the 1984, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics as well as a stint as a broadcaster for the 1988-89 Loyola Marymount men’s basketball team, coached by former Mercury Head Coach Paul Westhead and featuring Mercury Head Coach Corey Gaines, a guard on the team. Meyers Drysdale is also a frequent contributor to WNBA.com. Her incredible sports journalism contributions were honored as the 2006 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s (USSA) Ronald Reagan Media Award, joining an elite group of winners that includes Howard Cosell, Bob Costas, Keith Jackson, Frank Deford and Rupert Murdoch.
Meyers Drysdale has five sisters and five brothers, including brother Dave Meyers, who also played college basketball at UCLA, under legendary coach John Wooden and won two NCAA Championships with teammate Bill Walton. He played five seasons (1975-80) for the Milwaukee Bucks after being one of four players traded from the Los Angeles Lakers for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975.
In 1986, she married former Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale and took the name Ann Meyers Drysdale. It was the first time that a married couple was members of their respective sports’ Hall of Fame. The Southern Californian native and Drysdale, who passed away in 1993, have three children together: sons Don Jr. (D.J.) and Darren, and daughter Drew.