TV Commercial Star at Age 80 | Mildred Morgan Ball


Inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

Ep. 36 – Mildred Morgan Ball - Imagine yourself in a store. Someone walks up to you and says, “Would you like to be a TV star in commercials?” At age 80, she became a local and regional "star" of 136 TV commercials! Mildred Morgan Ball provides her journey on a career peppered with being the "first and only", starting with her high school career in the late 1940s, and continuing through a career of promoting gender and racial equity for young athletes and the performing arts. Her father became a widower with eight children to raise when she was age four and keeping his promise to his wife and their young children to "keep them all together". A steel mill worker, this "Superman," as she describes him, instilled in them all the value of education, their duty to family and a deep commitment to community, and the legacy of seven of the eight children going on to earn one or more college degrees. Armed with these values, even today at age 84, she is actively engaged with multiple community-based nonprofits while enjoying her time as a grandmother with a public profile for women who "retire in order to re-fire," as demonstrated by her current career as a TV commercial actress and community "grandma.” In this episode, Mildred talks about her role at IHSAA as a black woman and the achievements she made over the course of her career. Listen in to hear how Mildred faced discrimination head-on when she got her role at IHSAA. You will also learn the importance of taking initiative as a successful black woman to mentor young black girls to follow your trail.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to believe in yourself and your aspirations to become it
  • How to mentor young black women as a quality and successful black woman

"I was the first woman inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and that was because of my position as Assistant Commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association. I was not inducted as a player or a coach." -Mildred Morgan Ball

In this episode you’ll discover:

She describes her early childhood and education plus the law that changed things for women [2:13]

Mildred narrates all her achievements in high school sports [10:18]

Why she was the first woman to be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame [14:06]

How she became the first black woman nationally to be hired by the IHSAA to create programs [17:16]

How Mildred was approached and applied for her role at IHSAA [18:25]

The discrimination she faced after she got the job at IHSAA and how she faced it head-on [21:07]

How joining her local chapter of NCBW helped her find her way around the community [24:58]

Mildred explains how she became a TV commercial star at 80 years and has done 13 of them [29:40]

How she taught dance to young women ‘The Top 20’ in 1961 which later became a program [34:52]


Mildred Morgan was an outstanding high school athlete in the late 140s-early 50s receiving statewide acclaim from the Indiana Girls Athletic Association and learning firsthand the limitations in sports based on race and gender. After finishing college in 1970 she returned home to fight for gender equity in high school sports and local funding to support girls' competition and access to the performing arts. Upon becoming the 2nd Black Woman in America to join the national ranks of state high school athletic commissioners she elevated her advocacy to an even larger platform using her enlarged profile to fight for equal access and resources for girls and women both inside and outside of the sports playing fields. She was a teacher at East Chicago Washington High School before joining the IHSAA staff.


Mildred is a 1953 graduate of Gary Roosevelt High School where she was a varsity cheerleader and president of the girls' athletic association. Mildred Morgan Ball received a bachelor of science degree from IU in physical education in 1960 and has been a trailblazer in women's athletics at the local, state, and national levels. She earned degrees from Indiana and Purdue Universities and taught at East Chicago Washington High School.


Mildred Morgan Ball served as an IHSAA assistant commissioner from 1977 through 1997, responsible for the licensing and training of contest officials. She became the first woman to be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in her role as Assistant Commissioner of The Indiana High School Athletics Association in 1977-97. She worked with the National Federation of State High School Associations’ rules committee. Throughout her career, she has worked to ensure excellence and equity for girls in athletics, academic, and health-related activities. The IBCA has presented an award to an outstanding basketball official in Mildred Ball’s name since 1997.


Mildred Morgan Ball Award

Hall of Fame



Carena Lemons

Carolyn Sue Williams

Sherese Brewington Carr


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