Excelled At Other Sports
Joyce's achievements would be remarkable even if they were limited to softball. But she was a sports phenomenon at a time when few opportunities existed for women athletes. She was a star volleyball player at Crosby High School in Waterbury, and later played in amateur leagues and served as an official. As a teenager, she had a 180 bowling average and sought out the best competition she could find. She pursued basketball, another childhood love, at Chapman College, where she was a three-time Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) All-American. She took up golf while teaching at Waterbury Catholic High School after college. She joined the Ladies Professional Golf Tour (LPGA) at the age of 37 after playing in just three amateur tournaments. In almost 20 years of consistently good play on the LPGA tour, her best finish was a sixth place. She also was a teaching pro at Deer Creek Country Club in Florida.
Joyce's multi-sport prowess earned comparisons to an earlier legendary athlete. Former Connecticut Falcons player Kathy Neal remarked to Tom Yantz of The Hartford Courant, "She really was the Babe Didrikson Zaharias of her era."
Asked what made her such a talented all-around athlete, Joyce told Lori Riley of The Hartford Courant, "Probably determination. I was basically a pretty good athlete from when I was real young. I had good teachers. And I worked real hard at what I did."
Joyce has successfully made the transition from player to coach. In 1994, she became the first women's head softball coach at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. She has guided the Lady Owls to a number 10 national ranking, the highest softball ranking in the history of the Atlantic Sun Conference. She has been named the Conference's Coach of the Year five times in eight seasons. She continues to conduct softball clinics. In 1996, Joyce also was named head coach of Florida Atlantic University's women's golf team and the senior women's administrator.
- Joan Joyce - Chronology
- Joan Joyce - Softball's Brightest Star For Two Decades
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