Nancy Robb Viola
Class of 1961
Nancy Robb Viola, a 1961 Rush-Henrietta graduate, is a retired teacher and school administrator whose work on local and state committees helped level the playing field for female high school athletes.
Her love for – and involvement in – physical education spans decades of change. As a female athlete at Rush-Henrietta in the 1950s, she remembers the early days of boys and girls sharing the same courts and fields. She watched with great interest as rules began to change and girls’ basketball, in particular, evolved into the game we recognize today.
Nancy started her career in education at Rush-Henrietta. From 1965 to 1981, she taught students at all age levels. She later moved to the Batavia City School District, where she served as the director of athletics, health, and physical education from 1981 to 1998.
A graduate of SUNY Brockport and SUNY Cortland, Nancy’s teaching career spanned 33 years. While those years certainly were impactful for her students, she also made her mark while serving outside of the school walls.
Nancy was the Section V girls’ basketball chair for 22 years, serving from 1975 to 1997. During her first year in this capacity, she recalls, some schools did not provide uniforms for their female student athletes. That began to change after the implementation of federal legislation known as Title IX, and the popularity of girls’ basketball soon began to grow.
Nancy recognized that interest in girls’ sports were growing quickly, both in terms of skill level and spectator interest. She was instrumental in getting the Section V finals moved from high school gyms to what is now known as the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester Veterans Memorial, a move that accommodated the huge crowds that wanted to watch.
From 1978 to 1981, Nancy also served as New York state girls’ basketball chair. Thanks to her visionary leadership, the first complete NYSPHSAA girls’ basketball tournament was held in 1981 - right here in Monroe County.
A member of the Section V Basketball Hall of Fame, Batavia City School District Athletic Hall of Fame, and Rochester Red Wings Walk of Fame, Nancy now takes her place as a member of the Rush-Henrietta Alumni Council Hall of Fame.
She lives in Piffard, Livingston County.