All American Red Heads 1936-1986

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Molly "Machine Gun" Bolin

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1955 team with new owner/coach Orwell Moore

In the fall of 1948, Olson made what turned out to be the most significant move in Red Heads history when he hired a hotshot young coach named Orwell Moore as road manager. Moore was cutting his teeth at several small high schools around Arkansas when he first met Olson. The All American Red Heads had become so popular that there were no open dates on the calendar. Olson figured the time was right to put a second team on the road again. The Famous Red Heads – a farm team to the first unit – hit the ground running with seven new faces in 1948. The first coach was not working out so Olson was looking for a replacement to coach his second unit.

 

Orwell Moore and C.M. Olson were cut from the same cloth. Bold. Fearless. Loyal. Moore was a country boy through and through. He saw his future in teaching and coaching, and maybe a little farming on the side. His new bride, Lorene, played basketball for him in high school. Years later, Orwell recalled how excited Lorene was when he received the offer from Olson to coach the Famous Red Heads. Her approval was all he needed to make the life-changing decision. Orwell coached and managed one Red Heads team or another for the next seven seasons. Lorene played several seasons scoring more than 35,000 points for her career.

 

Olson always was a good judge of character. He handpicked his rosters locating talent in the most remote places. Still, there was no way Olson could have known the impact his latest find would have on the All American Red Heads the day he called to steal the young coach away from his post at Caraway High School. Olson trusted Moore. In 1954, when Olson finally retired from the game, he handed the reins over to the only person he felt would carry the torch of his beloved Red Heads. Basketball was losing one of its greatest minds but gaining one of its greatest characters. Orwell Moore loved the Red Heads dearly. For the next thirty years, he would pour his heart and soul into keeping the All American Red Heads on top of the basketball world.

 

The All American Red Heads continued to log more and more miles each passing year under the direction of Orwell Moore. He understood the importance of introducing his traveling road show to new audiences. He was unflappable in his desire to make the Red Heads the most popular attraction in basketball. He entertained the idea of touring Europe, Asia, Australia, and Hawaii. In any given season, Moore scheduled upwards of 200 games in at least forty states in six months. His basketball nomads played “anyone, anytime, anywhere” carrying on the tradition that lasted nearly fifty seasons. The schedule was always demanding and each passing year new towns and new teams were added to the slate. Moore’s Top of the World tours in Alaska – five in all – aptly described the general feeling around the Red Heads family.

 

Coach Moore spent most of his professional life advocating for equality in sports. The All American Red Heads broke down barriers, challenged the social and cultural traditions of an entire nation, and generally opened doors to women that were previously closed in the world of sports. In the summer of 1972, the United States Congress passed into law Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Commonly referred to as Title IX, this seemingly innocent piece of legislation has been at the heart of the debate over men’s and women’s athletics ever since. Title IX signaled a new era in women’s sports as equal access to scholarships, sports facilities, and athletic equipment was mandated in public education. The effect was almost immediate and the gains tremendous. Sports programs for women increased at all levels as Title IX legislation elevated the quality of the athletic experience.

 

The All American Red Heads were pioneers in the crusade for equality, setting the table but unable to eat with those who followed. The first 36 years of operation served notice that women were part and parcel to the world of sports. Ironically, the revolution that Orwell Moore, C.M. Olson before him, and all of the Red Heads over the years worked so hard for eventually led to the demise of the very agent of that change. The Red Heads continued to play basketball until 1986, but the years following the passage of Title IX failed to capture the magic of those first four decades. Under a separate set of circumstances and for different reasons, the All American Red Heads ultimately suffered the same fate as the Terrible Swedes fifty years prior when Orwell Moore ended the reign of the longest-running women’s professional sports team in history.

 

The All American Red Heads played basketball for the better part of six decades. Only the Harlem Globetrotters compare favorably in terms of games and miles and years. The Red Heads appeared in magazines such as Life, Look, Colliers, and Sports Illustrated. They shared the stage with Ed Sullivan and Art Linkletter and played before Hollywood A-listers like Marlene Dietrick, Bing Crosby, and the incomparable Fred Astaire. In a span of 50 years, presidents came and went including FDR, JFK, and LBJ. Elvis Presley and the Beatles made young girls twist and shout. Neil Armstrong made one giant leap for mankind. Women like Betty Friedan and Billie Jean King fought for equal rights. The All American Red Heads, pioneers in the same crusade, played basketball for a greater cause.

 

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Actual uniforms and warmup used in 1950s and 60s

Articles on the Red Heads on their Induction

Red Heads get Naismith Nod (9-18-12)

Without Red Heads there is no WNBA

Homerville (Ammons) inducted with Red Heads to HOF

Caprock teacher inducted with Red Heads into HOF (Bruce)

She Shoots, She scores (Williams - Wooldridge) HOF

Resident Loves Red Heads - Molina

HOF Inducts Red Heads McClain, Malone

Red Heads inducted into Hall of Fame (McClain)

Red Heads are pioneers again with spot in Hall (pay site) 9-7-2012

Proud night for Red Heads (video from induction)

Roybal to be inducted into HOF with Red Heads 9-5-2012

Miller, Red Heads inducted into Hall of fame - Kansas City Star 9-9-2012

Pensacola Resident surprised at induction - Brenda Nalepa - 9-8-2012

Hall of fame journey for Nalepa and Red Heads (9-18)

Martinson of Red Heads inducted into HOF

Tate, Red Heads picked for NHOF

Doucette, Red Heads inducted into Hall of Fame

Howe, Red Heads to be inducted into HOF

UWGB Alum inducted (Jensen-Kocken)

Red Heads inducted into HOF - Northeast Ark Town Crier 9-7-2012

Becky Pritchett and Red Heads into Hall of Fame

Smith "no words to describe" into HOF with Red Heads

TV Clip with Mechelle Pollard Weyer



 

Articles on players since Hall of Fame Announcement (alphabetical order)

Charlotte Adams - Headed to HOF - click here to download

Marcia Adams - Part of History and Hall of Fame

Marcia Adams - Playing Pro with Red Heads

Marcia Adams (7-7), Heads to HOF with Red Heads

Jolene Ammons - Hall of Fame Bound - file to download - click here

Jessie Banks - All American Red Heads to be enshrined

Jessie Banks - Red Heads paved the way

Mary Carpenter - Former Red Head to be inducted with team

Cheryl Clark - Well deserving Clark to enter HOF

Cheryl Clark - Wetmore native to HOF

JoAnn Boone Clements - Red Heads Get in Hall of Fame

Becky Harp Pritchett - Dodge County women inducted with Red Heads

Pat Deroche Hymel - First Pro Womens team enters HOF

Kathy Jones Heck. Red Heads headed to Hall of Fame

Holder and Red Heads to HOF

Jackie Krutsinger to be inducted into HOF with Red Heads

Nancy Malone - Red Heads HOF Bound

Gail Marks - Hall of Fame next stop

Gail Marks - All American Red Heads Pioneers lead to HOF

Diane Martinson - Red Heads enter Hall of Fame

Diane Martinson - Hall of Fame finds Red Heads

Diane Martinson - Martinson part of Red Heads entering HOF

Diane Martinson - Red Heads getting recognition

Glena Hall McClain, Nancy Malone - Locals headed to Hall

Brenda and Kay on television 6-3-2011

Cairo O'Bryan Sisters head to Hall of Fame

Cairo O'Bryan sisters - Snipits from Radio Show

Martha Olsen - She was an All American Red Head

Martha Olsen - Past is shaping future

Cindy Roybal - Red Letter Moment

Cindy Roybal - Pecos Kid heads to HOF

Lynnette Sjoquist - Lynx honor Red Heads, Title IX

Debbie Smith Loftice - HOF honor is humbling

Becky Thompson enters Basketball HOF

Myrtle Wallace Frost, Glenda Hall McClain, Nancy Malone - Pioneers with game

Sue Whitten - Picture of her and sSchool Coach at reunion

Sheryl Wood Borgman - Teacher in Hall of Fame

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