Leona Holbrook Staff Bio | Dept. of Physical Education-Women Head | BYU Cougar Club

Leona Holbrook Staff Bio | Dept. of Physical Education-Women Head

Leona Holbrook

1980 Hall of Fame Inductee


When Leona Holbrook came to BYU in 1937 to head the Department of Physical Education-Women, female athletes, could only participate in a limited way, in a handful of sports. By 1940 the program had expanded to include badminton, basketball, field hockey, skiing, softball, tennis, and volleyball.

The program grew tremendously under her direction, and in 1968 a total of 430 BYU women participated in intercollegiate competition. They did well: During that year BYU claimed first or second place in 25 of their 30 meets.

Dedicated to the development of physical education at all levels, Dr. Holbrook served as president of numerous organizations on the state, regional, and national level, serving as president of the American Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (AAHPER) in 1966-67. She is the recipient of the Luther Halsey Gulick Award­AAHPER’s most prestigious honor. A member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee, she participated in the International Olympic Academy in Greece and in the National Olympic Academy sessions in the U.S. and Taiwan before serving as director of the sessions held at BYU in 1978.

Although she retired in 1974, Dr. Holbrook remained active in many national and international organizations, and continued to teach part-time at BYU until her death in June, 1980.