pioneers in women's athletics

 

Women's basketball began at Wayland in the 1940's when Harvest Queen Mill, a local grain mill still in operation, provided financial support. For that reason, Wayland's women were known as the Harvest Queens, a moniker that stood until Claude Hutcherson entered the picture in the early 1950's.

Hutcherson, a Wayland graduate and owner of Hutcherson Air Service, provided air transportation for the Queens to games in Mexico in 1948. That encounter blossomed into a full sponsorship of the team in 1950, a change that brought with it a new mascot - the Hutcherson Flying Queens.

Five decades later, Wayland is still atop the world of women's basketball. Entering the 2007-08 season, Wayland remains the only women's team in history to win 1,300 games.

The Hutcherson sponsorship of the Flying Queens basketball program continues today, 51 years after it began. Prior to Claude's death in 1977, he and his son, Mike, had flown the Queens across the nation and the world in their fleet of Beechcraft Bonanzas, often accompanied by his wife, Wilda, and daughter, Marsha. That tradition remains alive as Mike, who still sells and services Beechcraft planes in Plainview through Hutcherson Air Service, furnishes transportation for the team to road games.

The Flying Queen program also benefits from two Hutcherson scholarships. The Claude Hutcherson Family Endowment and the Marsha Hutcherson George Endowment are each awarded annually to deserving student assistants.

In recognizing her many contributions, Wilda Hutcherson Redin was awarded Wayland Baptist University's highest honor, the honorary doctor of letter's degree, during the 1991 spring commencement. Many family members and friends joined Wilda and her husband, Harley Redin, who coached the Flying Queens to six AAU national championships, for the ceremony in Harral Memorial Auditorium.

In 1993, both Wilda and Harley were among the first class inducted into Wayland's newly-formed Athletic Hall of Honor. Again many friends, former athletes and family members were present for the Homecoming Weekend Ceremony.

The rich championship history of the Flying Queens can be attributed to the patronage of the Hutcherson family. Since 1950, the Queens have set an all-time collegiate record for the longest winning streak (131 consecutive games in the 1950's) and have amassed a total of 10 AAU national championships and 10 AAU runner-up trophies.

Currently a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Queens have been to the national tournament a 17 times.