Gracie Lee Vandyck
As a player and coach, Gracie Lee VanDyck has been an incredible athlete and true pioneer in the rise of women’s athletics. She excelled on the playing field and then brought those same standards of excellence to coaching, making a name for herself as one of the most influential and successful coaches in state high school history. Gracie Lee VanDyck was a complete athlete. As a two-sport standout at Madison College (now James Madison University), she participated for the Dukes in basketball, field hockey, and also headed up the softball program. But it was her coaching achievements that led to her induction into her alma mater’s Hall of Fame. After graduation, VanDyck continued her involvement in athletics, beginning a coaching career that would span four decades and earn her honors and recognition as one of Virginia’s prominent high school sports figures. From 1947 through 1987, VanDyck coached basketball and softball at Churchland High School in Portsmouth, Portsmouth Catholic, and Chesapeake’s Western Branch High School. During that period, she compiled an astonishing 517-271-2 record. In 1987, VanDyck received Coach of the Year honors from the Virginia High School League. That same year she was also named the Virginia Region 2 Basketball Coach of the Year. Gracie Lee VanDyck was inducted with the initial class of the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame and in 1988 was inducted into the Chesapeake Hall of Fame. She is recognized as a key figure in the rise to prominence of Virginia women’s athletics. Her induction into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to this superior athlete, talented coach, and sports pioneer.