For more than 30 years as a volunteer for Rice Athletics, basketball scorekeeper Helen Savitzky ’80 has brought rigor and passion to her front row seat. As official scorekeeper for women’s and men’s basketball home games, she has spent countless hours logging points, assists, rebounds and more in the high-pressure atmosphere of Rice Athletics.
She has also watched up-close the evolution of women’s athletics, starting in the late-1970s era of new Title IX regulations. “It was a very different time,” she says with the perspective of a volleyball player who had to advocate for her own scholarship support or risk losing it. “It makes it that much more enjoyable to see how the programs have grown. To see what we have now, versus what we had then, and to know that I was part of that.”
Helen, an accounting executive in the Memorial Hermann Health System and member of the Rice Women’s Athletic Advisory Board, has been as consistent as they come in support of Rice’s student-athletes.
“The rewards of volunteering for what you are passionate about are greater than the time that you put in.” — Helen Savitzky ’80, Rice Athletics volunteer
She started keeping score for the women’s basketball team when she was an economics undergraduate. “This was before computers,” she says. “We had a whole table full of people keeping track of the stats.”
Later, she agreed to keep score for the men’s team, a role that she has filled at home games ever since.
“This is fun for me,” she says of the hours of work on evenings and weekends keeping careful track of stats, facts and figures. Part of the reward of this consistency and longevity is to watch the programs progress. “When success comes,” she says, “I am glad to be able to say, ‘Hey, I was there when this started, and look at how far we’ve come.’”
Her passion for Rice has also formed what she calls her Rice family. “This is part of our social life,” she says, speaking for herself and her husband Danny. “This is where we like to be. We’ve met so many people that have become great friends. This is my Rice family.”
Her fellow volunteers know the passion and rigor that she brings to every game that she works.
“Helen is an amazing volunteer,” says Bob Schlanger ’73, a fellow Rice Athletics volunteer who has volunteered alongside her for decades. “She is always available and is always extremely accurate in maintaining records under pressure-filled situations. She has an outstanding reputation throughout the college basketball community for her accuracy, and she represents Rice in a very positive way to all who come in contact with her during the entire process.”
She has maintained an enterprising attitude over three decades in the gym. “The approach I take is: show me where to go, and I’ll be there. And I’ll be smiling and laughing,” she says. “At the end of the day, the rewards of volunteering for what you are passionate about are greater than the time that you put in.”
She would love for others to share her passion and show their support at games. “We’ve got some very talented women out there, and we’d like more people to see them,” she says. “The Rice Rally Club has made some inroads through outreach and promotions for students around the colleges, but it takes time.”
If you are interested in learning how you can get involved as a Rice Athletics volunteer, please email Lizzie Yoshida, associate director of constituent relations for Rice Athletics, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also invite you to share your own volunteering story with us. Please visit our Why I Volunteer page to let us know what inspires you to stay involved at Rice.