I’m Barbara McAninch and I was a Hutcherson Flying Queen from 1965-1969.
My father was in the Coast Guard stationed in Santa Barbara, California during World War II, and he met my mother, a bacteriologist at a lab in Santa Barbara, when she and her roommate picked him up while he was hitchhiking from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles. I was born in Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful cities in the world and moved to a red clay, dry land farm seven miles from Trent, Texas (a town with a population of 306) at age 6-weeks. I grew up on the farm with my sisters, as very independent self-sufficient farm girls. In the 6th grade at Trent School I started playing basketball. In junior high I was already 6 feet 1 inch tall, but only weighed 125 pounds, and had no basketball skills or fundamentals. Luckily, when I was a sophomore in high school Trent got a new girls basketball coach, Ralph Newton, who taught us all of the fundamentals and more importantly taught us how to win. We won the Texas Class B Girls High School Championship during both my junior and senior years, and I was selected as an all-state player.
Since both of my parents had attended college, I grew up knowing I was going to go to college, but as a farm family we did not have sufficient funds. My older sister was already at Texas Tech, and I was concerned that there was not enough money for me to go to college. I was offered a contract to travel around the country and play basketball with the All-American Red Heads and had decided to take the job and save my money to go to college later in life. The day following the Red Head’s contract offer, I received a letter from Coach Harley Redin offering me a basketball scholarship to play for the Flying Queens, and I immediately accepted. I had been an offensive post player in high school, but Coach Redin switched me to pay post defense at Wayland, and I was able to be on the starting team my freshman year and throughout the 4 years that I played at Wayland. I played with a wonderful group of women who have remained my friends throughout the years and are the heart of the Hutcherson Flying Queens Foundation that supports the current Flying Queens. Claude and Wilda Hutcherson were amazing sponsors for the team. Their home and indoor pool were always open to us to give the team members a home away from home. The fans and residents of Plainview were always so supportive and very special to everyone on the team.
While I attended Wayland Baptist University, I held many leadership positions. I was co-captain of the Flying Queens my junior and senior years, a Student government senator my sophomore year and vice president presiding over the student senate my junior year. My senior year I was elected student body president – the first woman and the first Catholic elected to the post. I was honored to receive the Outstanding Citizen award for women at the college my senior year. I graduated with high honors. During my senior year the dean of students had given me two aptitude tests – one for men and one for women. The men’s test said I should be a lawyer and the women’s test said I should be a teacher, so I was counselled to be a teacher. I took the GRE and went to the University of Houston on a teaching fellowship where I earned an M.A. degree in political science. While I was attending the University of Houston, one of the professors for whom I assisted told me that I needed to go to law school. Not realizing that people spent months preparing for the LSAT, I signed up and walked in and took the test with no preparation and got a great score. I was waited-listed for Harvard and admitted to George Washington University School of Law, but did not have the funds to attend, so I deferred for a year and worked as an Instructor of Political Science at Angelo State University in San Angelo and was able to save enough salary to pay for my first year of tuition at George Washington Law School.
I attended day school and worked part-time to have money for my living expenses. After my first year, I worked 7 days a week at two jobs during the summer to earn my second year’s tuition. The week before the tuition was due to be paid, I got a letter notifying me that I had been awarded a full tuition scholarship which I had for my last two years of school. I continued to work while attending law school and was able to clerk at the Department of Justice for the Antitrust Division. I was given a full-time job following my graduation with honors and passing of the bar.
At the Department of Justice, I was assigned to the folding cartons pricing fixing investigation and was able to train under a great litigator, Bruce Pearson. Our investigation uncovered a major price fixing conspiracy and 73 defendants were indicted by the grand jury. Seventy of the defendants entered pleas, and it was the first case where a jail sentence was imposed on a corporate president involved in price fixing. I was with the Antitrust Division for five years and was awarded three Outstanding Performance Awards for my work.
My daughter was born, and it was very difficult to work full-time in Washington, DC and get the help needed to care for an infant, so we relocated to Memphis, Tennessee to be near family. I worked for three years as an associate at the law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson and was recruited to work in the Holiday Inns Hotel Corporation litigation section in Memphis where I handled large cases against the hotels for four years. I was then offered an assistant general counsel position with Embassy Suites in Dallas and relocated to Dallas.
After four years, Holiday decided to consolidate all hotel operations in Memphis, but my daughter was in a school for the gifted in Carrollton, Texas, and I was not willing to move back to Memphis. I left Holiday and accepted a position as assistant general counsel for Pearle Vision where I was promoted to general counsel within two years. When Pearle Vision was sold to a company in Cleveland, Ohio, I again chose to stay in Dallas and was hired as chief legal officer for Snelling Staffing, a position that I held for eight years. I am currently an assistant city attorney for the City of Dallas, heading the Government Services Section that prepares all of the major service contracts for the city.
I have remained active with my church throughout my life. I have served as a lector for 34 years, a Eucharistic minister, an RCIA teacher, and for 19 years presided for a Sunday communion service at Atria Carrollton as a minister of care to the elderly. I also serve as a neighborhood leader and have served on the Board of the non-profit corporation that is responsible for the common property owned by 741 households, including lakes, swimming pools, a golf course, tennis courts, a playground and a clubhouse. I have served as president, vice president and secretary of the corporation. I served for six years on the planning and zone commission for Carrollton and for a year and one-half as chairman of the commission. I currently serve on the Capital Improvement Projects Advisory Committee for the city. I was one of the founders of the Hutcherson Flying Queens Foundation, writing the By-Laws and 501(c)(3) application. I have served as secretary, president, and past president of the Foundation.
In my opinion women who play basketball learn critical life skills that allow them to be leaders on the basketball court, and they take those skills into the business and legal office. I know how to take charge of a meeting or situation and how to react quickly in an emergency because I learned how to do that on a basketball court. While playing a basketball game, you have to read the court and what other players are going to do and be ready to react to whatever situation arises The same thing is necessary in the business world, and I am grateful for the opportunity that I had to play high school and college basketball and so lucky that Wayland and the Hutcherson’s gave me that opportunity with a scholarship to play before Title IX forced colleges to set up women’s teams and before it was acceptable for women to play. Thank you, Wayland! Thank you, Claude, Wilda, and Harley!