Women were first accepted into Bowdoin College in 1971 as part of the graduating class of 1975. Since the first year that women entered Bowdoin they participated in athletics. According to the President's Report 1971-1972, "in some individual sports, women entered competition on the varsity level". Interestingly only tennis was offered to women in 1971 and thus appears to be the first women's sports opportunity at Bowdoin. Even though the roster listed in the Bowdoin Sports Letter* only names women as part of the team, in the beginning years of women's education at Bowdoin the team was listed as Coeducational. Under the women's tennis program website it states that "the women's tennis program was instituted at Bowdoin College in 1973, and has flourished into one of the strongest programs in New England".
Field Hockey was the second sport to be offered exclusively to women when it came into being in the fall of 1972 under the leadership of Sally LaPointe. By this time there were "230 women students enrolled" and women were participating in all women tennis and field hockey teams. It is exciting that in 1972 "an undefeated field hockey season highlighted extensive participation by women students in the athletic program". In looking at the Bowdoin Sports Letter for that 1972 field hockey season it was interesting to find out who these women played against. The field hockey team played six games that season and competed against schools like Colby, Bates JV team, UMaine @ Portland-Gorham (USM) and Brunswick High School. Sally LaPointe served as the field hockey coach until 1992 and accumulated a record of 130 wins, 97 loses, and 17 ties.
According to the Bowdoin College Student Handbooks many more sports were instituted in the coming years for women. For the 1974-1975 year, all-female teams were fielded in tennis, field hockey, swimming, basketball, skiing, and lacrosse.
Coach Lynn Ruddy was hired as the women's assistant swim and track coach for 1976 and has been a coach at Bowdoin ever since. She is the longest serving coach at Bowdoin and thus has been able to experience and observe the many changes and improvements to the women's athletics program over a 30 year period. Coach Ruddy explained how women's sports grew at Bowdoin. She said that if there was a sport women wanted to play they started as a club team and then had to show sustained interest with participation for about 1 to 2 years. Once interest was clear the women had to apply to the Athletic Director in order to be granted a varsity sport. This process was how volleyball began at Bowdoin as well as number of other sports. During the time Coach Ruddy began at Bowdoin, Sid Watson was the Athletic Director. Ruddy attributes the growth of women's sports at Bowdoin to Watson as he was very supportive and added many programs. Ruddy was hired as the assistant swim coach to Charlie Butt and she gives him a lot of credit. He first allowed women to swim on his team. Ruddy also says that a main difference between the athletic culture of women at Bowdoin then and now is that in the 70s people just said ‘yeah go let the girls play' whereas now people look at women's athletics and say ‘wow, those girls can play'. The level of play has also increased significantly in that the women stepped up from just participating to competing.
At Bowdoin today women participate in 14 varsity teams including field hockey, soccer, rugby, tennis, basketball, Nordic skiing, swimming and diving, indoor and outdoor track, softball, ice hockey, golf, lacrosse, squash and volleyball as well as one co-ed team (sailing) and three intercollegiate club teams. Women's athletics at Bowdoin have certainly grown in the relatively short time that women have been present on campus. The success of the women's teams within the NESCAC and on the national level over the years is also admirable and we owe much to the pioneering women athletes as well as administrators before us for our present situation.
*The Bowdoin Sports Letter was a weekly update of all sports teams in season including their schedules and/or recent results.
 Bowdoin College, Office of the President, Report of the President 1971-1972, (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College, 1972), p. 6.
 Ibid, p. 7.
 Bowdoin Sports Letter, vol 4, no. 2 (October 5, 1971).
 Bowdoin College Athletics, About the Program, available online: http://athletics.bowdoin.edu/sports/fall/wten/about accessed, March 2009.
 Bowdoin Sports Letter, vol 5, no. 1 (October 3, 1972).
 Bowdoin College, Office of the President, Report of the President 1972-1973, (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College, 1973), p. 7.
 Ibid, p. 7
 Bowdoin Sports Letter, vol 5, no. 5 (October 31, 1972).
 Bowdoin College, Bowdoin College Student Handbook 1974-1975, (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College, 1974), p. 35.
 Ruddy, Lynne. Personal Interview, February 2009.