Hutcherson Flying Queens postcard
Wayland Baptist University's premier women's basketball team
During a time when many considered basketball too rough for women and few universities fielded women’s teams, Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, had an incredibly successful women’s basketball program. First forming in the late 1940s, the Flying Queens became the winningest college women’s basketball program ever and was one of the first to offer full basketball scholarships to women.
The team got its name from a local cotton mill, the Harvest Queen Mill and Elevator, that paid for their uniforms. They became the Hutcherson Flying Queens when they started using a small fleet of four-seater airplanes to travel to away games. Claude Hutcherson, a Wayland Baptist alumnus, provided the airplanes, and he, two of his pilots, and Coach Harley Redin — a former Marine pilot — flew the team to games all over the Midwest and South.
Before passage of Title IX in 1972 encouraged the growth of collegiate women’s sports, the Flying Queens were part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), which was essentially a semiprofessional organization. Many of the AAU teams were sponsored by local businesses or business colleges and had colorful names like the Secretaries, the Hanes Hosiery Girls, or the Pine-Sol Queens.
The game was also much different — women played a six-person version, with two players on the offensive side of the court, two on the defensive side, and two “rovers” who could roam the entire court. The team's longtime coach, Harley Redin, helped lay the foundation for modern women’s college basketball. He was instrumental in getting officials to adopt the full-court, five-player game with a 30-second shot clock we know today.
Under Coach Redin, the team won four national AAU championships between 1955 and 1958, beating much more experienced teams made up of older veteran players. From November 1953 until March 1958, the Hutcherson Flying Queens won 131 consecutive games. That record setting streak remains the most consecutive wins in collegiate women’s and men’s basketball history.
Courtesy Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Waco
Time Period: 1946 - 1970
This artifact is currently on view.