As the first full-time female sports writer among Alabamas major newspapers, Yvonne Terry Betowt was a pioneer and an inspiring example for other young women in the Deep South who aspired to join the male-dominated sports media in the 1970s. Following her graduation from the University of Alabama, she began her career at The Huntsville Times in the late summer of 1976. If she was nervous about making the grade, it never showed. "I didnt have time to be nervous," she recalled 40 years later. "Subconsciously I knew if I failed, itd make it nearly impossible for another female to be given a chance. So I had to get it right the first time to pave the way for others who might come behind me." "None of us knew what to expect when Yvonne joined us," remembers Al Burleson, one of her longtime colleagues at The Times. "But she fit in right from the start. Before long, she was just one of the guys." Yvonne covered a wide variety of high school, college, professional and specialty events for the papers sports department over the next 15 years. She frequently worked as the sidebar reporter at crucial football games involving Alabama, Auburn and other SEC teams, usually just hours after covering a local prep game the night before. She helped establish the Association for Women in Sports Media, a national organization dedicated to supporting women journalists. In 1980, she was a panelist at the National Sportswriters Association Convention in Philadelphia, discussing the role of women in sports media. While in sports, she won two awards from the Alabama Sports Writers Association for her high school coverage, and also won the National Womens Bowling Association Award and the Alabama Junior College Print Media Award, both in 1989. Her skills as a newspaperwoman werent restricted to the sports section. As The Huntsville Times Religion Editor from 1990-2005, she developed a stand-alone newspaper section that gradually expanded from two pages a week to a weekly six- to eight-page section. Her work was recognized on several occasions as one of the nations Top 10 religion sections by the national Religion Newswriters Association, and five times she was named one of the Top 10 religion writers among all newspapers in the country. She was also a regular contributor to the Religion News Service, an international faith-based wire service. Betowt received many awards, both inside and outside her newspaper career. In 2003, she won The Publishers Club Award, given by The Huntsville Times for outstanding contributions to the newspaper as a journalist and a team employee. The same year, she received the Brotherhood-Sisterhood Award from the Huntsville chapter of the National Conference of Community and Justice for outstanding promotion of interfaith relations in greater Huntsville area. She was also the winner of the first annual Sphinx Award, for achievement in Communications (newspaper category) by the Delta Theta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha at Alabama A&M University. She retired in 2012 after 36 years in sports, religion, news, features, copy editing and page design. "Yvonne was good at everything," said former Huntsville High volleyball coach Sherry Ammons. "But Ill always remember her as a great sports writer." A native of Tuscaloosa and a graduate of Holt High School, Betowt has been a sports fan most of her life. Her parents, Gene and Betty Terry, always told her she could become whatever she wanted to be. By the age of 12 or 13, she was pouring through The Tuscaloosa News sports section every day. "Once I realized my writing talents were far superior to my athletic talents," she said, "I decided I wanted to be a sports writer virtually unheard of for a female in the mid-70s. Fortunately, one sports editor John Pruett of The Huntsville Times decided to take a chance on me. He was the greatest mentor a young writer could hope to have. He was encouraging, patient, inspiring, and most of all, a dear friend. I owe everything Ive accomplished as a journalist to my parents, to John, and to all my many English teachers and journalism professors along the way." Betowt, who was widowed in 2013, is an active member of Weatherly Heights Baptist Church in southeast Huntsville. She is heavily involved in several animal rescue organizations (The Ark, Forgotten Felines, Challengers House), and is also a member of the Huntsville-Madison County Mental Health Association Board of Directors and the Alzheimers Association Diversity Committee. She has one daughter, Courtney White Jeffreys, who is married to a Huntsville police officer.