Red Heads Highlights

ALL-AMERICAN RED HEADS (1936-1986): The All-American Red Heads were one of the first professional women's basketball teams. In 1936, almost 50 years after women's basketball began, C. M. "Ole" Olson (who also founded Oson's Terrible Swedes) started a barnstorming team which would play around the country until 1986. The name of the team came from Olson's wife, who owned a number of beauty salons in the south. They played by men's rules and were a smash success with the audience. Orwell Moore, a highly successful high school coach, coached two of the teams from 1948. The teams boasted AAU All-American players and other players straight from high school. Players like Hazel Walker (1959 ASHOF Inductee), Peggy Lawson, Kay Kirkpatrick, Willa “Red” Mason, Johnnye Farley, Bonnie Billiard, Georgia Washington, Judy Cameron, Marsha Tate, and Karen Riggs Dowty. Orwell and his wife, Lorene “Butch” Moore bought the team in 1955 and moved it to Caraway, Arkansas, “Butch” was the leading scorer for the Red Heads, scoring 35,426 points in 11 seasons. She could sink 25 free throws in a row from a kneeling position at the free throw line. In 1971 the All-American Red Heads had up to three teams on the road at the same time. Seasons ran from October to late April or early May. The season consisted of approximately 200 games and the teams would travel over 60,000 miles by car. During the off-season, players taught basketball to girls. Orwell also began Camp Courage, a basketball camp for girls. In 2010, the team was honored at part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day in Minnesota. That same year they were honored at the Senior Pan-American games in Eugene, Oregon. The team was honored by the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame for their contributions to the game. The team was recognized in a display entitled "Trailblazers of the Game" at the 2011 Induction Ceremony on June 11, 2011. On April 2, 2012, the team was announced as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction class of 2012. The Red Heads were formally enshrined on September 7, 2012. In 2017, the team was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

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