By Merle Exit
Queens Public Television chose former Queens College basketball coach Lucille Kyvallos to be featured on their “Power Women of Queens” program airing next month.
Producer Luchia Dragosh said she wanted to feature women whose actions have made a difference in Queens and Kyvallos fit the bill.
“A pioneer and legend in her time at Queens College, Lucille Kyvallos brought women’s college basketball before the nation in the 1970s,” Dragosh said. “Her Queens College women’s team appeared in the first ever women’s college basketball game at Madison Square Garden.”
The game had more than 12,000 fans at the World’s Most Famous Arena. Kyvallos was thrilled to be a part of such a historic event.
“We created a model and showed that it could be done,” she said during the interview.
During the course of the interview, photographs of Kyvallos with some of her former players are featured.
The main basketball court at Queens College has recently been affixed with her signature.
“To be a female athlete you first have to have goals,” Kyvallos said. “You have to plan a strategy for achieving those goals.”
Kyvallos also shared her experience as a young girl living in Astoria. Basketball has been a part of her life since she was a child. Kyvallos said she used to shoot hoops on the street and continued to play basketball in junior high and high school before becoming a coach.
While she has retired from coaching, Kyvallos, 85, remains active. She still has a competitive drive and puts it to the test in a women’s senior tennis league.
“In the twilight years of my life my goal is to have joy with my friends and my family as try to stay as healthy as I can,” she said.
Despite her historic career, Kyvallos remains humble and made a positive impression on Dragosh.
“I was surprised to see how humble Lucille Kyvallos was despite all that she had achieved,” Dragosh said. “(She was) calm and composed, which probably were some of the qualities that made her a great head coach and a leader to young women. She has a very positive look at life and the way she now lives her life — staying healthy and actively playing tennis — is very admirable.”