Former Notre Dame coach and breast cancer survivor to speak for Pink Zone luncheon

Author: Marissa Gebhard


Sharon Drake Petro, former head coach of Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s tennis, will be the featured speaker at the Pink Zone luncheon on Feb. 12 (Sunday) at 12:30 p.m. at the Purcell Pavilion at Notre Dame.

The luncheon will precede the annual Notre Dame women’s basketball Pink Zone game at 3:30 p.m. that day and is organized by the College of Science to recognize researchers and physicians in the fight against cancer.

Petro was one of the first female coaches and athletic administrators at Notre Dame. She came to the University in 1977 to serve as the first head coach of varsity women’s basketball and women’s tennis and to teach in the Department of Physical Education. In 1980, her basketball team reached the Sweet 16 in the AIAW national tournament. In 1985, her tennis team placed second at nationals, and she was awarded the NCAA Division II Wilson Intercollegiate Tennis Coach of the Year.

During her tenure at Notre Dame, she chaired the Department of Physical Education and served as an assistant athletic director under Gene Corrigan before leaving to pursue her doctorate in applied sport psychology at the University of Virginia. Recently, she was inducted into the Notre Dame Monogram Club as an honorary member and is currently on the faculty at American University.

In the Fall of 1983, Petro was diagnosed with breast cancer and received treatment locally at Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. Her experience as an athlete and coach gave her the determination and strength to fight cancer. Yet she acknowledges that one does not fight this alone. She gives credit to her doctors who took immediate action and the Notre Dame community who provided tremendous support on this journey.

Petro later founded Head Coaching, a company that helps competitors of all ages—and stages in their skill level—develop a great attitude, stay motivated, build self-confidence, and focus attention for consistent, optimal performance. She draws on decades of experience in athletics to help performers in sport, business, and the performing arts gain the Mental Advantage. Her coaching techniques have been used by amateurs and professionals alike in sport and business arenas. She is the creator of “The WIN Method: A Model for Optimal Performance” and is the author of “The Tennis Drill Book.”

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the WBCA Pink Zone initiative, a global, unified effort of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) to raise awareness and support for women with breast cancer.

Tickets are available through the Notre Dame ticket office at 574-631-7356 or at Gate 9 of the Purcell Pavilion, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A single seat at the luncheon is $100; a couple is $150, and a table of 10 is $1,000. A game ticket is included with purchase a seat to the luncheon.

Contact: Marissa Gebhard, 574-631-4465,

Originally published by Marissa Gebhard at on January 13, 2012.