Joining her Plymouth-Carver High School team in the mid-1960s, Nancy Darsch found that the girls’ and boys’ basketball squads were treated differently.
“We had six players on a team, two were always in the defensive zone, two could only play on the offensive side of the floor and two players could swing back and forth,” she told the Globe in 1992.
“I remember some of us played in boat shoes, others had Keds,” she added. “And for uniforms, we had tunics with button-down shirts underneath. We played in the afternoon and it seemed very informal.”
Ms. Darsch, who went on to coach the Ohio State women’s team to the NCAA finals and later was a coach for WNBA teams, was 68 when she died Monday in her hometown of Plymouth.
She had Parkinson’s disease, according to the Associated Press, which added that Brian Agler, who had coached with her for the Seattle Storm, said Ms. Darsch’s family had told him she had died. There also is a brief listing on the website of Cartmell-Davis Funeral Home, which has locations on the South Shore.
“It’s difficult to imagine the changes that have occurred,” she told the Globe in 2006 as she looked back at more than three decades of coaching women’s and girls’ basketball. “When I began playing, it was beyond my comprehension that someday there would be a women’s professional league in America, let alone having the opportunity to coach in the league.”
At the time of that conversation, Ms. Darsch had just returned to Greater Boston, between WNBA coaching stints, when she was named an assistant coach at Boston College.
She coached at all levels of the game. After finishing her bachelor’s degree at Springfield College in 1973, she began her career by coaching basketball, field hockey, and softball at Longmeadow High School.
Ms. Darsch went on to become a longtime part of the USA Basketball coaching staff and was an assistant coach for the US Olympic women’s teams that won gold medals in the 1984 and 1996 Olympics.
In 1978, she joined the college coaching ranks as an assistant to legendary coach Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee, from which Ms. Darsch graduated with a master’s degree.
Speaking with the Globe in 1993, she recalled that upon graduating from Springfield she knew she “wanted to be a coach at the major college level. I went to the University of Tennessee as a volunteer assistant because at that time, they didn’t have paid assistants, and I was just fortunate that when the opportunity to have an assistant coach came up, they offered it to me.”
Taking the Ohio State head coach job in 1985, Ms. Darsch posted a 234-125 record. She led the Buckeyes to four Big Ten regular season titles and to the 1993 NCAA Final, in which her