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IU women’s basketball mourns passing of hall of famer Bea Gorton

The IU women’s basketball program announced on Friday that its first head has passed away.

Bea Gorton led the Hoosiers from 1972 to 1976 and was inducted into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.  Gorton was 73 years old.

For more on Gorton and the early days of IU women’s basketball, GO HERE.

The full release from IU Athletics follows.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Bea Gorton, Indiana Women’s Basketball’s first head coach and an IU Athletics Hall of Famer, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 14 in Carol Stream, Ill.

Gorton was Indiana’s inaugural women’s basketball varsity head coach who led the program from 1972-76 and later inducted to the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014. A pioneer for the program and women’s college basketball game, Gorton compiled an overall record of 79-28 (.738), the top winning percentage in school history, and led IU to the Elite Eight of the AIAW national tournament in 1972 and 1974, and an AIAW Final Four appearance in 1973. In 1975, the Hoosiers played in the National Women’s Invitation Tournament.

Gorton served as an adviser to the AIAW organization from 1975-80. She coached the first and only IU women’s All-American, Debbie Oing, and was nominated for the Wade Trophy for women’s coach of the year in 1977. Gorton served as a member of the Kodak Coaches All-American Selection Committee in 1975-76, was a speaker at the International Olympic Scientific Congress in 1984 and 1988, and consulted at the Paralympics that were held in New York City in 1984. She was invited as a lecturer in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

An excellent player in her own right at Wheaton College, Gorton helped lead the 1967-68 team to an undefeated season. In that season, she led the team in scoring, with 182 points, and she had a personal best of 33 points against Concordia, setting a single-game record in that category which remained for 15 years. She also was the team’s leading free throw shooter, connecting on 68 percent of her attempts. Gorton also coached the Wheaton women’s basketball team for one year, in 1969-70, posting an 11-1 record and was inducted in to the Wheaton College Hall of Honor in 1988.

After serving as Indiana’s head coach, Gorton worked on the faculty at Wheaton (Ill.) College, Taylor University and Bowling Green State University.

Memorial Contributions

Memorial contributions may be made to the Indiana University Foundation in memory of Bea Gorton.

Memorial gifts can be made at:

You do not need to indicate anything in the “use my gift to support” area. You will need to write in gift area “in memory of Bea Gorton”. The IU Foundation will be watching for this notation.

If you wish to mail a donation, please use this address:

Indiana University Foundation

PO Box 6460

Indianapolis, IN46206

Statement from Teri Moren

“We are saddened to hear about the loss of Bea Gorton, who was a leader and pioneer in women’s basketball at Indiana and nationally. Her dedication to our program in its early stages as a varsity program will never be forgotten. Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones at this time.”

Obituary From Hultgren Funeral Home


July 27, 1946 – July 14, 2020

Beatrice, age 73, a resident of Windsor Park Manor in Carol Stream, IL, died peacefully at home.  She & her twin sister Patricia were born in Racine July 27, 1946 to Charles and Dorothy (Lains) Gorton.

Bea attended Trautwein grade school, Lutheran High School and graduated from Hampton Dubose Academy in Zellwood, FL.  After graduating in 1968 from Wheaton College (Ill.) she acquired a Masters Degree in Sports Medicine from George Williams College. She went on to earn a PhD in Bio-mechanics from Indiana University where she founded IU women’s varsity basketball program while working on her doctorate.

In her 4 years of coaching the IU women’s basketball team, her teams compiled a 79 – 28 record, the top winning percentage in IU’s school history to this day.  Her 1973 team went to the AIAW final four.

After serving as Indiana’s head coach Bea served on the faculty at Wheaton College, and then taught Bio-mechanics at Taylor University and Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  She was an invited lecturer in bio-mechanics in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong & Taiwan.

She was also a special lecturer at the 1988 Special Olympics in Seoul, Korea.  She subsequently developed ongoing health problems which ultimately led to her early retirement.

In retirement she lived in the Chicago suburbs & finally Windsor Park Manor in Carol Stream IL where, despite her health challenges, she was actively involved, serving on many resident committees.

In November, 2014 Bea was inducted into the Indiana University Athletic Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Wheaton College Hall of Honor in 1988.

She is survived by her brother Richard (Jane) & brother John, both of Racine;  her sister Pat Gorton-Land of Las Vegas.  Bea had 6 nieces & nephews and 7 great-nieces & nephews.

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