The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., announced today that the Wayland Baptist University Flying Queens from 1953 to 1958 will be recognized as "Trailblazers of the Game." Those five Flying Queens teams forged a record for the all-time longest collegiate winning streak, running off 131 victories in a row.
"It's an honor for the Flying Queens," said Harley Redin of Plainview, longtime coach of the team and a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame's inaugural class in 1999. "I'm really glad to see the program get that recognition."
The Wayland Baptist University Flying Queens have had players, three coaches and a sponsor recognized by the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Now, an entire era is being honored.
The Flying Queens are only the fourth "Trailblazer of the Game" to be recognized, joining the All American Red Heads, Edmonton Grads and the Former Helms/Citizens Savings/Founders Bank. Each group has a special display at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
"They have the old bus that the Red Heads used to travel in," Redin pointed out.
The Flying Queens' impressive 1950s winning streak began with the start of the 1953-54 season under coach Caddo Matthews when the team defeated Dowell's Dolls, 51-31. It finally ended in the next-to-last game of the 1957-58 season with a 46-42 loss to Nashville Business College. Among the other teams Wayland played during the streak -- which featured season records of 29-0, 23-0, 23-0, 29-0 and 28-1 -- were the Woodward Motorettes, McSpadden Carpet, Denver Chevrolet, Hanes Hosiery and Midland Jewelry.
Flying Queens players who earned AAU All-American status from 1953-58 were Rita Alexander, Alice Barron, Ruth Cannon, Kaye Garms, Lometa Odom, Mona Poff, Marie Wales, Katherine Washington, Faye Wilson and Raye Wilson. Odom and Washington are members of the WBHOF, along with former players Patsy Neal and Jill Rankin Schneider, coaches Redin, Dean Weese and Marsha Sharp, and sponsor Claude Hutcherson.
The Flying Queens' Trailblazers of the Game recognition was announced at the same time as the six members of the 2013 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame class were unveiled. Those composing the 15th group of inductees will be coaches Gary Blair and Jim Foster along with former players Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Jen Rizzotti, Annette Smith-King and Sue Wicks.
The announcement was made on ESPN2 during the USA vs. Brazil game in Washington, D.C. The Class of 2013 will be formally introduced at the 2012 State Farm Tip-Off Classic between defending national champion Baylor and Kentucky on Nov. 13 in Waco and inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame on June 8, 2013, in Knoxville, Tenn.
Redin, who coached the Flying Queens for 18 seasons from 1955-73, serves as an emeritus member of the WBHOF Board of Directors which selects the Hall of Fame members and Trailblazers of the Game. Voting is based on various factors, including moral character, integrity, sportsmanship, record of performance, ability, national or international recognition and contributions to the game.
"We appreciate it very much for the Queens," Redin said of the program's recognition. "We feel like it's deserved because of the length of time the Queens have had a quality team."
For more information on the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, visit www.wbhof.com.