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Class of 1999
Inducted as member of Pioneer Category
Rayla Allison, a 1999 inductee into the NFCA Hall of Fame, was the first full-time executive director of the association from 1991 to 1994. Prior to that she served as president of the NFCA while coaching at the University of Hawaii.
Allison started her coaching career in 1975 as a basketball coach at Plano Senior High (TX). She moved to collegiate head basketball coaching positions at Texas Woman's University (where she also received her master's degree in education) and Wesleyan University before starting her softball career at her alma mater, the University of Texas-Arlington, in 1983.
She coached softball at Hawaii from 1989 to 1991 before her executive director role at the NFCA, at that time called the National Softball Coaches Association. From 1994 to 2000, Allison worked as vice president/league director for Women's Pro Fastpitch in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
After receiving her juris doctorate form the William Mitchell College of Law, Allison went into private practice in 2000, working primarily on Title IX and employment cases. In 2001, she started a university teaching career, serving as an assistant professor and coordinator of sport management and human performance at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
In 2006, Allison moved to teaching faculty at the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota, and just recently, was promoted to assistant director of the department. She is the founder of the university's Sport Business Institute, providing consulting services to the sport industry while bridging classroom topics with real world experience for sport management students.
In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Babe Ruth League, Inc. (first woman in the history of the organization) and is a founding board member on legal counsel for Foundation IX (raise money to give to girls so they may participate in sports) and Cultural Jambalaya (non-profit that celebrates and educates about diversity). She was named a Distinguished Alumni by Texas-Arlington in 2005.
Allison, a great softball player in her own right, was a four-time world champion professional softball catcher for the Connecticut Falcons (1976-79) and a member of the first USA team to compete in China (1979).