USA BADMINTON MOURNS PASSING OF ELMA ROANE
Elma Neal Roane, a pioneer in women’s athletics, and a wonderful Southern badminton player and coach, died September 19, 2011, at the age of 93 after a long illness.
Roane was associated with the University of Memphis as a student, athlete, coach, professor and administrator for more than 45 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from then-West Tennessee State Teachers College (now the University of Memphis) in 1940. She taught physical education at Treadwell High School for six years and earned a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.
Roane returned to the University, then called Memphis State College, in 1946. She rose from physical education instructor to assistant athletic director in charge of women’s athletics. From 1955 to 1970, she coached basketball, volleyball, and badminton. Throughout her long career, she was a vocal advocate of women’s college athletic programs. In 1993, University officials honored Roane by renaming the Memorial Gym, home to the women’s basketball team, as the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
Roane and her sister Virginia Anderson were a stellar women’s doubles badminton team, winning many Southern titles and achieving national rankings in doubles and mixed doubles. She was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the M Club Hall of Fame (its first female inductee), and the Memphis Park Commission’s Hall of Fame for Outstanding Athletes.
Visitation was held in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse September 22, and funeral services were held on September 23 at Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis. Condolences to family members and all those who knew Elma both on and off the badminton court.