Nearly a half-century before women’s athletics officially came to the conference, Allys Collings became the first woman in MIAC history to be named head coach of a men’s varsity sport when she was hired to revive the men’s tennis program at Augsburg College in the spring of 1939. A champion competitor in her playing days at the University of Minnesota, Collings quickly transitioned from athlete to athletic administrator and her path helped pave the way for women with athletic aspirations to gain expanded opportunities in competitive, educational, and leadership roles.
In addition to her duties at the helm of the men’s tennis program, Collings was also put in charge of the women's basketball team and served as director of the Women’s Athletic Association (WAA), as well as the advisor for women’s gym classes at Augsburg. Though not affiliated with the MIAC at this time, the WAA was created for the purpose of providing athletic opportunities to women at the college and Collings was credited with much of the organization’s growth and success. Collings' historic hiring and subsequent contributions made her truly one of the unsung early pioneers of women leaders in sport.