Biographical Stories of Women in the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren —
Although Margaret Horn moved almost every year for a period of 15 years, she has left an indelible mark on the Shenandoah Valley community, most notably at James Madison University. As a physical education assistant professor from 1963 until 1992, Mrs. Horn watched the school transition from the mostly-female Madison College of 1,600 students in 1963 to James Madison University of 19,900 students in 2013. Her influence was in starting the volleyball and archery programs in the commonwealth of Virginia. She also helped start the men’s volleyball club team as an advisor, as well as encouraging volleyball and basketball officiating, and helped spur greater faculty involvement in sports officiating.
It had been twenty years since Coach Horn had retired, when she helped lay the foundation for the current program that attracts archers from across the country. The JMU Archery program recently rose to international prominence when USA Archery Team member Jacob Wukie won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Mrs. Horn received her degree in education from Bridgewater College, where she met her husband, Robert. She taught throughout Virginia, moving as her job required. Eventually, the couple settled in the Shenandoah Valley where Margaret completed her Masters at JMU. She began teaching dance at James Madison University in the physical education department, later taking up the mantle as coach and referee. Mr. and Mrs. Horn and their four children came to Harrisonburg when Mr. Horn became the principal of Harrisonburg High School. He was later Director of Student Teaching at JMU.
When asked what her favorite sport was to teach or officiate, Mrs. Horn replied “whatever was in season.” In high school, she played hockey, basketball and softball. At Bridgewater College, she played and coached field hockey. She played basketball, but only for one year after she got “football knee” while playing quarterback during the one and only blondes vs. brunettes football game. Her love of sports started much earlier than high school and college, however. From a very early age, she remembers playing competitively with the boys in her neighborhood until she was the best in her neighborhood.
Today, Margaret Horn is a an inductee to both the Bridgewater College and James Madison University halls of fame, acknowledging her distinguished contributions to both athletic programs. Her contributions to these schools and her students are still felt positively today.
Margaret Horn, former JMU assistant professor and coach, holds many athletic achievements.
by Hannah Facknitz | JMU Student Writer
Reprinted with permission, from Winter 2014 “The Bridge”, a quaterly publication of the Bridgewater Retirement Community.