Evelyn Gates Award
The Evelyn Gates Award was established to honor a female high school varsity volleyball student-athlete that exhibits top tier skill, spirit and sportsmanship in the Kansas City area. The winner of the award is chosen by area high school coaches. This award is the only one of its kind honoring a female official in the state of Missouri.
The annual traveling trophy is presented to the student-athlete to display at her school along with a $500 stipend for its athletic department.
Evelyn Gates (1932-2003), a retired histology technician from KU Medical Center, officiated high school and college volleyball, softball and basketball for over 45 year in the Kansas City area and was a staunch advocate for girls’ high school sports. During her career, she touched the lives of tens of thousands of high school athletes, parents and officials.
2018 Evelyn Gates Finalists:
- Caroline Crawford, Liberty High School
- Claire Wagner, Lee’s Summit High School
- Ellie Bichelmeyer, St. Teresa’s Academy
- Kayley Cassaday, Blue Valley North High School
Evelyn Gates Award Winners:
2018: Ellie Bichelmeyer, St. Teresa’s Academy
2017: Annika Welty, Park Hill South High School
2016: Madison Lilley, Blue Valley West High School
2015: Orie Agbagi, Oak Park High School
2014: Lexi Hart, Truman High School
2013: Anna Kropf, St. Teresa’s Academy
2012: Cheyanne Lyons, Raymore-Peculiar High School
2011: Paige Brown, St. James Academy
2010: Hanna Forst, St. James Academy
2009: Marianne Beal, Lee’s Summit North High School
2008: Jessica Kopp, Lee’s Summit West High School
2007: Kathleen Ludwig, Bishop Miege High School
2006: Michelle Jantsch, St. Theresa’s Academy
2005: Erin Birmingham, Park Hill South High School
2004: Sammie Williams, Fort Osage High School
Evelyn Gates (1932-2003), a retired histology technician from KU Medical Center, officiated high school and college volleyball, softball and basketball over 45 years in the Kansas City area and was a staunch advocate for girls’ high school sports.
Evelyn played third base and pitched for the Kansas City Dons, a softball touring team in the 1960’s. While officiating high school sports, she was admired by coaches, officials, student-athletes and parents. She was first and foremost a “people person.” She loved talking and conversing with everyone she met. She was the first woman in the state of Missouri to officiate a boys’ high school varsity basketball game and she offiiciated the first women’s NAIA tournament game held in the Kansas City area.
She was a softball umpire and was elected to the Softball Hall of Fame in Missouri. She officiated in all phases of athletic competition from the state to the national level. She also mentored many women officials in the sports of softball, basketball and volleyball during the infant stages of the Title IX movement.
Evelyn died of cancer on May 5, 2003. A memorial fund has been established to support the Evelyn Gates Award. In order to sustain the award, contributions can be made to the following location:
Paula Fats Cannon, Branch Manager
Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Company
6202 Raytown Trafficway
Raytown, MO 64113
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Are the top four selected by the total number of votes? Yes. Each coach’s nomination is a tally for that particular player. The four players receiving the most tallies become the four finalists. In the event of a tie, the student-athlete that receives the most No. 1 votes will be selected.
- Is the winner the player that receives the highest number or lowest number? The lowest number. Each coach should rank the four finalists one to four, with one being the player they feel is the most deserving.
- Does the Evelyn Gates Award reflect the best player in terms of talent, play and achievement? The award winner should be the player that exhibits not only the best skill, but also spirit and sportsmanship.