Thursday, July 25, 2024

Phoebe Sturm

By Michael Purtell


Former Cardinals women’s basketball head coach Phoebe Sturm died Jan. 19 at 85 years old. Sturm was the inaugural coach for the program in 1974. She was an active member of Plattsburgh State athletics since her arrival to the campus as a physical education instructor in 1965. 

“Her legacy is that she is a pioneer of women’s athletics here,” Former Women’s Basketball Head Coach Cheryl Cole said. “She was part of that legacy of women who made things happen back then.”

Cole succeeded Sturm after her retirement from coaching in 1996. Cole said that during her time leading the team Sturm was never afraid to support her and her athletes post-retirement.

Sturm served as a chairperson of the women’s sports division in 1990 and president of the SUNYAC for the 1993-94 school year. She was inducted into the Plattsburgh Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 for her achievements and unique impact on SUNY Plattsburgh.

Sturm worked with the basketball team even prior to her role as head coach, spearheading the women’s basketball club that would eventually become the official team for many years. Her impact reached beyond the basketball court as well, as she instructed golfers and fencers at Plattsburgh State as well. Through her teachings, many Plattsburgh alumni were inspired in their athletic careers and in their personal lives.

“Her legacy lives through them,” Cole said.

Last year, Aimee Gomlak – Plattsburgh class of 1990 and athlete coached by Sturm – started a fund and donated $10,000 toward honoring her former coach by naming the newly constructed women’s basketball coaches’ office in Sturm’s name. The fund raised $25,285 in total.

“She bled Cardinal red, no doubt about it,” Cole said. “A woman you just can’t say enough good things about.”


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