Tamara Butler Battaglino '95
Basketball - Hall of Fame Class of 2010
Harvard Athletic Achievements
On March 7, 1995, The Crimson chronicled the Harvard women’s basketball team’s drastic season-to-season improvement from 7-19 in 1993-94 to 19-7 in 1994-95. The Crimson attributed the incredible turnaround to many factors, but singled out one player in particular--Tammy Butler—whom they referred to as “Harvard’s greatest women’s basketball player ever.”
Indeed, upon her graduation in 1995, Tammy had left an indelible mark on the Harvard’s women’s basketball program. A three-time team Most Valuable Player, three-time First Team All-Ivy Selection, and the 1994-95 Ivy League Player of the Year, Tammy’s consistently great performances on the court rewrote the record books over her exceptional career. Tammy, who received a post-graduate scholarship from the NCAA, left Harvard as the program’s all-time leader in points (1,605), rebounds (1,053), made field goals (649) and made free throws (305). Tammy graduated with many academic accolades to her credit as well. In 1995, she was named a Third Team National Academic All-America, a First Team District One Academic All-American, and Academic All-Ivy.
In total, Tammy’s contributions toward the culture and success of Harvard basketball cannot be overstated. Her hard work on the court redefined Harvard women’s basketball, as she helped turn a fledgling program into the Ivy powerhouse that it has been for the past fifteen years.
Remembering Harvard Athletics
Thank you for inviting me to be part of the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame. I am honored to be recognized with such an impressive group of peers and to join the ranks with the inductees who have gone before me. I am especially touched to be following in the footsteps of my former captain, Erin Maher Salvador.
I smile any time I reminisce about the four special years that I spent in Cambridge. In preparing for this evening, I thought most about my teammates and coaches and about how proud I am to have been part the Harvard Basketball Program. I was fortunate to be surrounded by a group of talented, smart, and fun women who had an unquestioned commitment to our team. We were an eclectic mix of individuals, but came together as a “family.” We supported each other as we balanced the demands of our training with rigorous academic coursework. We laughed hard at each other, and ourselves. The friendships that we created off the court will be with me always. The combination of intense focus and competition with a love of laughter enriched every interaction and has shaped my approach to life.
I am lucky to have been coached by Kathy Delaney-Smith. Kathy’s boundless energy, dedication, and optimism inspired us all. She is at her core a lifelong educator and sought to help each of us reach our full potential. Kathy pushed us to our limits with her rallying call of “act as if.” She challenged and motivated us, while making it fun. Kathy is a tireless advocate for women’s athletics and we have all benefitted from her efforts. I consider Kathy a close friend and mentor and will always be thankful for her support. I cannot thank Kathy without recognizing her husband, Francis. He shared so much of Kathy, and himself, with us. It is because of Kathy and Francis that so many alumnae remain closely connected with the program.
As a former player and current fan, I have enjoyed watching Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith and her staff develop Harvard Women’s Basketball into a league powerhouse and a premium program over the last 15 years.
I cannot reflect upon my time at Harvard without thinking of a few extraordinary people who enriched my experience. George Downing, a beloved campus security officer, adopted me as one of his own. He delighted in shuttling me to/from practice if he happened to pass me on his “rounds.” George stopped into our games to offer hearty cheers of encouragement. A visit with George, sharing stories and laughs, made my day. Artie Clifford in the equipment room ensured that I was “well-dressed” at all times. Those Harvard “grays” were far more of a staple of my college wardrobe than they should have been! Roger Lind was our team photographer. He covered every game, unfailingly, on a volunteer basis. His stunning collages captured special memories of our team, families and friends. We are lucky that Roger shares his time and talent with the program to this day.
Like everyone being inducted this year, I have many people I would like to thank. I would first like to express my love and gratitude to my parents, George and Maureen Butler. I know that without their unfailing support for all of my academic and athletic efforts, my success at Harvard and beyond would not have been possible. They were always my biggest advocates and helped me to keep life in perspective, on and off the court. I would also like to thank my older brother, Todd. He was my role model and #1-fan. Todd excelled playing lacrosse at West Point. Despite the rigors of his college schedule, he found a way to catch a few of my games each year.
I want to thank my teammates. My induction tonight belongs to them. I also appreciate all of the support of my roommates and friends who made the trek across the river for our games and were there to celebrate each victory and commiserate each painful loss.
I want to thank the Athletic Department and the Friends Group for creating such rich athletic opportunities for all of us. Their support is critical to the student-athlete experience.
And finally, I would like to thank my husband, Paul Battaglino. We are blessed with two children, John and Tara, who make us laugh to start and end each day. I am lucky to have Paul’s constant love and support. We are enjoying the adventure of “Team Battaglino.”
Congratulations again to all of the 2010 Varsity Club Hall of Fame inductees. I am honored to be here with you tonight, and I accept this award on behalf of my teammates and my family. Thank you.