From Newton County basketball star to women’s basketball advocate, Betty Faith Jaynes, locals mainly referred to her as “Betty Faith,” made an impact everywhere she went. Throughout her life, which lasted for 68 years from Sept. 1, 1945- Feb. 10, 2014, Jaynes took on a lot of roles to help make a difference not just in Newton County, but around the world.
The biggest impact, one could say, remains within Jaynes’ family.
Her great niece, Grace Folds is a multisport athlete at Walnut Grove High School. Recently, she wrote a letter, as part of a class assignment, to Representative Jody Hice. The issue dealt with in Folds’ letter was “blurring the lines between genders.”
In the letter, Folds specifically mentioned her “Aunt B” as an advocate for Title IX to provide equal opportunities for both genders.
For Folds, her aunt was the main source of motivation to write the letter when given the assignment.
“She was a dynamic woman that did so much to support and promote female athletes,” Folds said.
Jaynes’ roots ran deep in Newton County.
Being a Covington native, Jaynes attended Newton County High School in the early 1960s. Lettering all four years, she was a member of the girls basketball team where she was the Lady Rams’ primary and leading rebounder.
During her playing career, she was named to the girls All-Tournament team in 1962 and 1963 for the Newton County Invitational. She also received back-to-back All-State honors the same two seasons.
Her efforts contributed to Newton County qualifying for the Class AA State Title game in her senior season when the Lady Rams finished 33-1.
Jaynes’ skill set on the court led her to adopt the nickname “Jump Shot.”
After graduating high school, Jaynes went on to attend and graduate from Georgia College in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. A year later, in 1968, “Jump Shot” earned her Masters of Science degree also in physical education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
From there, Jaynes entered the coaching circuit going to Madison College (now known as James Madison) in 1968 and, later, became the head coach of Duke’s women’s basketball team where she served from 1970-1982.
In addition to her coaching career, Jaynes participated in extracurricular activities to help advance women’s sports.
She chaired the U.S. Girls’ and Women’s Basketball Rules Committee from 1979-1981. She was the tournament director for the first-ever championship game sellout in the modern era of women’s college basketball - the 1975 AIAW Large College National Basketball Championships.
A year prior to exiting the coaching world, Jaynes began another journey she considered of more importance. She was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association first ever executive director in 1981. In 1996, Jaynes became the CEO of the association.
By the time Jaynes retired in Nov. 2001, membership stood at over 3,000 members compared to 212 members in its year of inception.
Jaynes’ nephew, Jack Moss highlighted his aunt’s main source of motivation for putting forth so much effort and energy into her mission.
“She wanted to help people,”Moss said. “If she wasn’t able to help you, then she would find someone who could. That was just the type of person she was.”
As WBCA executive director, she volunteered her time to serve on various national boards such as the Center for the Study of Sport in Society National Advisory Committee; the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, Executive Committee and Women’s Screening Committee; the USA Basketball Board of Directors; the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors; and the Women’s Sports Foundation Board of Trustees.
Her contributions to the advancement of women’s college basketball warranted several awards and recognitions.
To name a few, Jaynes received the 1991 National Association for Girls and Women in Sport Award, the 1995 National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Honors Award, the 1997 Women’s Sports Foundation President’s Award and the 2012 National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jaynes was inducted into a few Hall of Fames during her life, too.
In 2000, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Six years later, she became a member of the NACDA Hall of Fame. Also in 2006, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame awarded Jaynes with the highest honor it can present to an individual without inducting them.
A year later in 2007, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame inducted Jaynes. Virginia followed in 2008 inducting Jaynes.
Most of Jaynes’ impact was during a time when women weren’t respected and didn’t have much of a voice. But that didn’t deter her from speaking up.
Now, 58 years later, her presence is still felt among all who knew her, but especially her niece.
Folds still adheres to a lot of advice Jaynes gave her as a child. And that is how Jaynes’ legacy continues on for the next generation of women athletes.
“I deeply wished for the opportunity to talk to my Aunt B,” Folds said. “She instilled in me that it is my job to stand up and speak for those that can’t speak.”