Being recognized by the National Federation of State High School Sports with the Title IX Woman Trailblazer of the Year award was a surprise to Sister Lynn Windsor, BVM, CMAA, Xavier’s athletic director and golf coach.
She joined the school in 1974, just two years after Title IX went into effect, and hasn’t looked back. She now has almost 50 years of dedicated service to the school.
Sister Lynn’s experience at Xavier dates back to her teenage years. She moved to Phoenix in 6th grade and started at Xavier in 9th grade. Grad school took her to Wisconsin, but it wasn’t long before the Valley called her home, and she started her long-lasting career at the prep school.
Having played softball, basketball and volleyball during her school years, Sister Lynn has championed girls’ athletics and academics for decades. Her proudest achievements as Xavier’s vice-principal for activities/athletics and senior government moderator involve leading the way in female athletics and getting more students involved in sports because of Title IX.
“I’m proud of being involved on the Women’s Equity in Sports Committee, and I love the spirit of community and togetherness that we experience,” Sister Lynn said. “No matter what culture, religion, race, or background, we all belong.”
She remains focused on supporting girls in school sports, setting them up for success both now and in the future. She was going about her daily responsibilities when news of the Trailblazer of the Year Award caught her off guard in the best way: during the school’s fall sports pep assembly.
“It was absolutely unexpected; I had no idea it was coming,” Sister Lynn said, acknowledging the incredible guidance she’s had along the way. “There were so many coaches and athletic directors, shoulders of other people who helped me. It was like I was at the right place and right time.”
While Sister Lynn was one of few women athletic directors in 1977, she’s delighted to see many more women coaches and officials empowering girls’ sports and helping one another. As a firm believer in doing things you love, Sister Lynn hasn’t slowed down, continuing to meet with parents and cheer on the Gators at games.
“Tradition has a lot to do with our school,” she said.
Although her role has its challenges and certainly takes up a lot of time, Sister Lynn said she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’m so lucky to have the support of people in my office, and I get to be around students all the time,” she said.
While her awards are something special, Sister Lynn is most excited about the accomplishments of Xavier athletics over the years. With 600 student-athletes at Xavier, the Gators participate in a wide range of competitive sports and activities.
She explained that most students try soccer and volleyball, but new sports like mountain biking and archery give them plenty of opportunities to challenge themselves.
Through it all, Sister Lynn recognizes that student interest is the foundation of Xavier’s successful programs.
“Kids like to compete as it makes them better, and we have wonderful training and staff,” Sister Lynn added. “It starts with great coaches, talented student-athletes, active participants, support of administration for athletics and activities and parental involvement.”
There has been no shortage of highlights in recent seasons, as Xavier remains undefeated in golf with 275 straight wins. The Gators brought home their first softball state championship in 2021, adding to their title of the “most winning high school in Arizona.”
As Xavier explores e-sports and other athletic opportunities, Sister Lynn is confident the school can continue succeeding.
“Our goals are to continue running activities and athletics while adding new things that students want to do, like JV beach volleyball and JV lacrosse,” Sister Lynn said. “We will keep them involved in what’s going on while supporting quality coaches. We want to continue being a pioneer, advancing girls sports, especially in the Title IX anniversary year.”
No matter what the future holds, Sister Lynn and the Xavier school community will continue following their motto, which is “women of faith pursuing excellence.”
“We hope that we can continue that in every way in the world of athletics and activities through faith-filled, good students, involvement of parents, and a unified mission of our school,” Sister Lynn said.