Flying Queens Foundation Breaks Ground on Museum

PLAINVIEW – Members of the Hutcherson Flying Queens Foundation (HFQF) gathered with Wayland Baptist University officials, the WBU Flying Queens basketball team and members of the community Saturday morning at the Jimmy Dean and Llano Estacado Museum to break ground on the Flying Queens Museum.

A project driven by the HFQF, Wayland is providing the space and the expertise and training to properly catalog and preserve the artifacts that will be on display in the museum. Linda Price, president of the HFQF, said the museum, and the stories housed within, will show the impact the Queens and Wayland had on the game of women’s basketball in West Texas and beyond.

“While segments of the Flying Queens story are presented in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, and in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee, this will be the only venue in the United States that presents a complete picture of the programs’ accomplishments and of the significant role the Flying Queens program played in the development of the women’s game and the history of women’s basketball,” Price said.

Sponsored by Claude and Wilda Hutcherson, the Flying Queens program changed the face of women’s basketball. Price outlined several historical accomplishments for the program.

  1. The first women’s team to fly to all road games.
  2. The first collegiate program to award 4-year athletic scholarships to women.
  3. The first women’s team to play in Madison Square Garden.
  4. The first and only team to win nine consecutive NWIT National Championships.
  5. Graduates from the program helped establish the first women’s professional basketball league.
  6. The first and only team in collegiate history to win 131 consecutive games.
  7. And currently first among collegiate program wins with more than 1,700 as a program, 300 plus more wins than any other collegiate women’s program in the nation.

The Flying Queens also had international influence with players selected to play in FIBA World Championships, the Pan America games and FISU World University games in Moscow.

“We are telling a unique story that took place in West Texas and involved many young women who grew up on the plains and were influenced by its culture,” Price said. “However, the museum collection goes beyond preserving basketball accomplishments. It also tells the collective story of strong, determined women, who used basketball as a means of obtaining a college education. As graduates, Flying Queens were hired post Title IX to initiate and then to maintain equity and excellence in sports for women and girls.”

Current Flying Queens coach Jason Cooper echoed Price’s comments about the important roll the program has played in fostering opportunities for women.

“Our mascot (Flying Queens) may be different than the rest of our fellow athletes (Pioneers), but make no mistake, these women were true pioneers,” Cooper said.

After the ceremonial turning of the dirt, Wayland President Dr. Bobby Hall invited people into the museum to view the existing space that will be renovated. Artist renderings were provided by Halo Architects in Lubbock. The Naismith Hall of Fame trophy, ring and jacket were also on display in an enclosed case.

Fund raising for the project is being conducted by the HFQF. In her comments, Price thanked the Texas Historical Foundation (THF) for providing the first significant grant for the project. THF members were originally scheduled to deliver a ceremonial check, but illness kept them from making the trip to Plainview.



Pictured above: Pictured holding shovels are: WBU Athletic Director Bill Weidner, Flying Queens Coach Jason Cooper, Marsha Sharp, HFQF President Linda Price, Wayland President Dr. Bobby Hall, Halo Architects representatives Scott Harvey and Kyle Flusche, and Plainview mayor Dr. Charles Starnes, along with the current WBU Flying Queens basketball team.