Executive Producer Brenda VanLengen and the Real Media crew spent Day 3 of the Northeast Trip diving deeper with Yolanda Laney, meeting her high school coach Lurline Jones and connecting with Marian Washington’s daughter Josie Washington-McQuay. Each brought incredible stories with them.
Pictures from the first three days of our trip can all be found on the If Not For Them gallery page.
If you read the Day 1 recap, you are already familiar with Yolanda Laney. She played at Cheyney State and was a member of the 1982 team that reached the national championship game. She described every part of that journey in detail – the good and the bad – including the smack talk that propelled the Wolves to a big victory against NC State.
Lurline Jones is an inspiration on every level. She picketed a segregated movie theater during the Civil Rights movement, helped encourage young people to register to vote, and even attended the March on Washington before becoming one of the best high school coaches in Philadelphia. At University City High School, she won 647 games and 12 city championships.
Josie Washington-McQuay talked about watching her mother, Marian Washington, play at West Chester and for the Raytown Piperettes before taking on the role of Athletic Director and coach at the University of Kansas. Washington was one of the most prominent players of the time when she competed at West Chester. She accompanied us to Hollinger Fieldhouse, where the first National Invitational Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament was held in 1969. Undefeated West Chester State College defeated Western Carolina in the championship game with Carol Eckman at the helm.
Nora Lynn Finch, who played on that Western Carolina team, went to serve as chair of the inaugural NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee in 1982. She later worked with the Atlantic Coast Conference after a lengthy career at NC State. We have interviewed her for this project as well to get her perspective.
Day 4 will take us to Queens College and Lucille Kyvallos Court. Stay tuned to this page for more updates about If Not For Them and follow our new social media accounts too. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram at @IfNotForThem. Longer interviews will still live on our YouTube channel If Not For Them; Brenda VanLengen, Exec Producer.