When Patsy Neal was a senior in high school in Georgia, she saw a line in the local newspaper that changed her life forever. “Wayland Baptist Flying Queens win the 1956 AAU national tournament.”
That inspired her to find out where Wayland Baptist was and how she could be a part of it. She went on to help Wayland Baptist to two national championships, represented the US in several international competitions, and authored eight books to share her joy of movement and playing basketball.
The year after Patsy graduated, Margie Hunt, arrived from Oklahoma. In high school, she only played on the defensive end of the court and Flying Queens head coach Harley Redin said he couldn’t give her a scholarship since she wasn’t able to shoot the ball. She enrolled at Wayland Baptist anyway, worked extremely hard and earned a scholarship. She worked her way up to earning AAU All-American honors by her senior year. She went on to a long career coaching and administering women’s sports programs and broke many barriers along the way.
Susan Yow is the younger sister of Kay Yow and Debbie Yow. Their “Uncle Virgil“ was the coach of the Hanes Hosiery team that won three AAU national titles in the early 50s. Basketball was a family sport and early on, Kay coached both Debbie and Susan in their college days. Of course, Kay later went on to lead the USA to the 1988 Olympic gold medal and become a beloved figure in all of women’s basketball as well. Debbie coached three college teams to Top 20 rankings before a career in administration. Susan was the best athlete of the bunch and was the first All-American in North Carolina State women’s basketball history.
Nora Lynn Finch is well known throughout women’s basketball as a leader in the ACC for many years. What people may not know is that she played in the first women’s basketball championship at West Chester College in 1969. Her Western Carolina team finished runner-up to national champion West Chester. She was an official at the first AIAW national championship in Normal, Ill., in 1972 and when the NCAA began oversight of women’s sports championships, she served as the first chair of an NCAA women’s basketball committee.
Throughout this trip, we will add behind-the-scenes photos to the Gallery page. For those that would like to support this project and have their names displayed on the If Not For Them website and included in the credits of the documentary series, you can Join the Team.