Support sought for Flying Queens Hall of Fame acceptance - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Support sought for Flying Queens Hall of Fame acceptance

Source: Wayland Baptist Athletics Source: Wayland Baptist Athletics

Provided by Wayland Baptist Athletics

The Wayland Baptist Flying Queens – the winningest women's basketball team in the nation – and their former coach – the legendary Harley Redin – are being touted for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Spearheaded by the Hutcherson Flying Queens Foundation, a campaign is under way to encourage "alumni and all who value the Flying Queens program," to write letters of support to the Naismith Selection Committee within the coming week.

Letters may be addressed to: John L. Doleva, President & CEO, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 1000 Hall of Fame Avenue, Springfield, MA 01105.

The following letter to Mr. Doleva was sent by the Hutcherson Flying Queens Foundation. Another letter, from former Wayland athletics director Dr. Sylvia Nadler who has done extensive research on the Flying Queens, encourages support for the nominations:

Mr. John L. Doleva
President & CEO
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1000 Hall of Fame Avenue
Springfield, Massachusetts 01105
Re: Support for Nomination of the Wayland Baptist Hutcherson Flying Queens Basketball Team to the 2017 Class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Dear Mr. Doleva:

We request that our support for the nomination of the Wayland Baptist Team be passed on to the voting panel for the 2017 Class. We urge the panel to nominate a college that recognized the importance of women's sports competition long before the passage of Title IX.

There are two undeniable reasons why the Wayland Baptist Hutcherson Flying Queens have a unique place in women's basketball history and deserve a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. One is that Wayland is the first, and at this point the only, women's team in collegiate history to win over 1500 games, currently 1,586. The second reason is Wayland's unparalleled 131-game winning streak, the longest winning streak in basketball history, compiled from November 1953 to March 1958 and beautifully described in a New York Times article by Jere Longman entitled "Before UConn, There Was Wayland" (December 18, 2010). The 2013 induction of the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens of 1953-1958 into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as Trailblazers of the Game also called attention to this feat.

Unfortunately, current perspectives have not reflected the accomplishments that preceded the 1982 NCAA adoption of women's basketball. Lynette Woodard of the University of Kansas and AIAW fame, speaking on the NCAA's exclusion of AIAW statistics, stated: "Basketball [didn't] just start when the NCAA blessed it. [NO] It's about history and history is history" (Wikipedia---AAU Championships). Coach Redin expressed a similar frustration about the AAU days noting that the AAU "got dumped" on the trash heap of history (Just for Fun: The Story of Women's AAU Basketball, Ikard viii).

The nomination of the Wayland Baptist Team helps to resurrect a bit of important women's basketball history. Since 1948, in addition to winning 1,586 games and posting a 131-game winning streak, the Wayland Baptist Hutcherson Flying Queens have won 10 National AAU Championships and finished in second place 9 times. Most of these runner-up finishes were to powerhouse industrial teams that never graduated any players. During their AAU days, Wayland players accrued 75 AAU All-American awards and placed players 69 times on USA All-Star teams to compete in such events as World Games, Pan American Games, and to serve as ambassadors for the game of basketball to numerous countries and to the Olympic Games. Wayland players also garnered 49 other All-American awards, bestowed by various organizations such as Kodak, the National Scouting Association, and Street & Smith.

As more colleges began playing women's basketball at a competitive level Wayland Coach Harley Redin initiated two events that gave the Wayland team the opportunity to play against the best college teams in the country---UCLA, Old Dominion, the University of Texas, and Louisiana Tech. One event was the Queens' Classic, an 8 team, 24 game Thanksgiving tournament. The other was the National Women's Invitational Tournament. The Queens won this tournament 11 times, the first 9 consecutively and received 23 NWIT All-American Awards. This tournament was the forerunner of the current WNIT.

After Title IX and before either the NCAA and NAIA were interested in the governance of women's basketball, the AIAW filled the gap between 1973 and 1982. The Flying Queens participated in the AIAW national tournament six times between 1974 and 1980 and made the Final 4 three times.

By the end of the 1970's both the NCAA and the NAIA wanted governance of women's basketball and wrested it from the AIAW. The NAIA held its first National Women's Basketball Tournament in 1981 to crown a national champion for smaller colleges and universities and the NCAA held its first Division I National Women's Basketball Tournament in 1982. It is ironic that Title XI, which did so much for so many women, was in many ways the undoing of the Flying Queens' basketball program. An article in Texas Monthly in April 1979, entitled "God Save the Queens," noted the difficulty of Wayland staying competitive as other colleges and universities began seriously competing. Since 1981, Wayland has qualified for the NAIA national tournament 25 times and received 23 All-American Awards.

We are members of the Board of the Hutcherson Flying Queens Foundation that supports the Wayland women's program and women's basketball. We are all the beneficiaries of a program that in the 1950s began providing full scholarships to 13 students annually, making it possible for many of us to receive a college education that we could not otherwise have obtained. As successful professionals, we are all proud to have been a part of the Flying Queens basketball dynasty.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of the Hutcherson Flying Queens Foundation


(From Dr. Sylvia Nadler)

Wayland Baptist's Historical Link to the Origins of Women's Basketball

On December 20, 2016, America and the world celebrated the 125 Anniversary of the game of basketball. A year earlier, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced a year-long celebration of 125 years of basketball to honor basketball's founder Dr. James Naismith.  John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame stated "The game has reached far more people than Dr. Naismith could have ever imagined, and we look forward to commemorating his legacy and the great game of basketball during this momentous anniversary."

While Naismith introduced this new game to a class of young men in an otherwise unremarkable gymnasium at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, the appeal of the game spread quickly, and women as well as men took up the game.  Among these women were students from Wayland Baptist, a tiny college with a very unremarkable gym in Plainview, Texas. From the first year Wayland opened for classes, 1910-11, through 1946-47 women played basketball as a club-sport.  Then something remarkable happened.  In 1948-49, years before Title IX, Wayland provided the team a coach and got sponsors to provide uniforms and transportation and what was to become a basketball dynasty was born. From this point on, the Hutcherson Flying Queens from Wayland Baptist College pioneered the women's collegiate game making major contributions to the history of basketball and to the history of women in sport.

Since 1948, in addition to winning 1,588 games (as of February 1, 2017) and posting a 131-game winning streak, the Wayland Baptist Hutcherson Flying Queens have won 10 National AAU Championships and finished in second place 9 times. Most of these runner-up finishes were to powerhouse industrial teams that never graduated any players. During their AAU days, Wayland players accrued 75 AAU All-American awards and placed players 69 times on USA All-Star teams to compete in such events as World Games, Pan American Games, and to serve as ambassadors for the game of basketball to numerous countries and to the Olympic Games. Wayland players also garnered 49 other All-American awards, bestowed by various organizations such as Kodak, the National Scouting Association, and Street & Smith.

As more colleges began playing women's basketball at a competitive level Wayland Coach Harley Redin initiated two events that gave the Wayland team the opportunity to play against the best college teams in the country---UCLA, Old Dominion, the University of Texas, and Louisiana Tech. One event was the Queens' Classic, an 8 team, 24 game Thanksgiving tournament. The other was the National Women's Invitational Tournament. The Queens won this tournament 11 times, the first 9 consecutively and received 23 NWIT All-American Awards. This tournament was the forerunner of the current WNIT.

After Title IX and before either the NCAA and NAIA were interested in the governance of women's basketball, the AIAW filled the gap between 1973 and 1982. The Flying Queens participated in the AIAW national tournament six times between 1974 and 1980 and made the Final 4 three times. Since 1981, Wayland has qualified for the NAIA national tournament 25 times and received 23 All-American Awards.

In addition to having one of the longest collegiate women's basketball traditions in the nation, there are at least two undeniable reasons why the Wayland team deserves to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

First:   Wayland is the only collegiate women's basketball team to win over 1500 games and they could hit the 1600 win mark this season if they win the remainder of their games and win their first game at the NAIA National Tournament.

Second:  The Wayland team holds an unparalleled 131-game winning streak, the longest winning streak in collegiate basketball history---men's or women's. This record compiled from November 1953 to March 1958 led to the 2013 induction of the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens of 1953-1958 into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as "Trailblazers of the Game."

The 2017 nomination is Wayland's second nomination to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.  In 2016, the team made it to Finalist status but lost out to Sheryl Swoopes of Texas Tech fame.  A press conference announcing the Finalists from the North American and Women's committee for the Class of 2017 will be held at the NBA All-Star Weekend, which is scheduled for Saturday, February 18th in New Orleans, Louisiana. The entire Class of 2017, including those selected by the direct elect committees, will be unveiled on Monday, April 3rd at the Men's NCAA Final Four in Phoenix, Arizona.  This is a historic year for basketball making it the perfect year to honor the historic accomplishments of Wayland's amazing women's basketball team.

Please lend your support for Wayland's Hutcherson Flying Queens by helping get this information out to sports fans everywhere via media and social media.

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