Women’s History Month: Remembering Patricia Piepenburg

Photo of Patricia Piepenburg during a basketball game, obtained from the Augsburg Athletics website

Bobbi Jo Evers, staff writer

This Women’s History Month is like any other, but the opportunity to honor and highlight women is never an opportunity that should be ignored. As a woman heavily invested in the uplifting of female athletes and women in general, I believe that it is very important to honor those who have helped get us to where we are today. For athletes here at Augsburg, one of those women was Patricia Piepenburg, class of 1969. As a female athlete during the pre-Title IX era of athletics, Piepenburg helped pave the way for today’s female Auggie athletes. 

Even before her time at Augsburg, Piepenburg couldn’t get enough of basketball. She played on a team in her high school through the Girls Athletic Association, and they played pretty much anyone they could get to play them. Basketball looked different then, being played with six players on each team and only on half the court. During her time at Augsburg she was coached by Augsburg Athletics Hall of Famer LaVonne Johnson Peterson ‘50. Piepenburg was one of the very first players on Augsburg’s women’s basketball team, then called the “Auggiettes.” During her time on the team, the Auggiettes took off, even going undefeated in her junior season. Piepenberg was also the leading scorer for the Auggiettes her junior and senior years. 

After graduating with a physical education degree, Piepenburg went on to be a teacher and coach for over thirty years, dedicating her life to spending time at her family farm and continuing what she started at Augsburg. Not only was she a phenomenal athlete, but she was also a dedicated conservationist, winning awards in Minnesota for her contributions. She was inducted into the Augsburg Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011, as she wanted to be fully retired before she accepted. 

Piepenburg donated a generous gift for the women’s locker room in Si Melby Hall, which now bears her name as the “Patricia Piepenburg Women’s Locker Room.” Senior Auggie womens basketball player Jaley Coplin wrote of Piepenburg, “Growing up as a girl in athletics I’ve experienced the disparity between men’s and women’s sports. Role models like Patty are so meaningful, she has given us a physical representation of this change and motivation to make our own impact when we have the opportunity.” Piepenburg was able to make a significant impact on female athletes at Augsburg, even in the decades after her graduation. 

Representation matters. Piepenburg aimed to create a space for women to be able to do whatever they wanted to, and she certainly achieved that. For more information about Patricia Piepenburg and her legacy at Augsburg and beyond, please check out the Augsburg Athletics pages for more information, including her Hall of Fame page.