Carla Lowry was a Flying Queen from 1957-1961. She passed away July 23, 2015. This article was submitted by Carla’s friend and colleague, Dot Lovett. It includes selected inserts by Sylvia Nadler.
Carla was born in Washington D.C. where her father was an attorney. As an infant, the family, which included her mother, Kathryn, her two older sisters, Louise and Lee, and father, H.C. Lowry, moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. While Carla was still a preschooler, the family moved to Forest, Mississippi. Carla’s father died in 1948 when Carla was 10 years old. Seeing tremendous potential in Carla when she was in the seventh grade, the Forest basketball coach erected a basketball goal in Carla’s front yard and Carla and Lee spent hours practicing their basketball skills. Both Carla and Lee were outstanding players in Forest and the entire state of Mississippi. Carla was the youngest of the three girls and both Louise and Lee preceded her to college. It was a given that Carla also would be a college graduate. After her father’s death, the family had limited resources; however, Carla happen to see an article in a Sunday’s Parade magazine detailing the Wayland Flying Queens in Plainview, Texas. She contacted Coach Redin and eventually received a scholarship to attend Wayland and play basketball.
Keep in mind that Carla’s youth was spent in Mississippi, which has rolling hills, and is covered in kudzu. When she arrived in Plainview, she had never seen a grain elevator or silo and had no idea what they were. It was level and sparse of vegetation. She thought that she had landed on a different planet. Carla came to love Plainview. Her time at Wayland as a Flying Queen was probably the greatest experience of her life. She stated on more than one occasion that “if she had had the money that she would have paid them to play.” Carla was a very modest person and seldom spoke of her experiences; however, it was obvious that she took great pride in the Queen’s AAU championships and the 131 game winning streak. In talking to Carla, she very seldom talked about games they had won, but she could speak in great detail about the game they lost to Nashville Business College that ended the winning streak.
She was an AAU All-American. She was on the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 1959 Pan American Games and in 1961 she captained the U.S. national team that toured Russia and the Scandinavian countries. The tour was part of the State Department’s intercultural exchange program to enhance relations between the United States and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic. Carla was quoted as saying, “The people everywhere were wonderful. If good will ever spreads between countries, it has to be between people. We hope we left some behind.” Carla was an AAU All-American her senior year and an honorable mention AAU All-American her junior year. The Flying Queens were 102-8 in her four years with the program. The 5-foot-7 forward, known as a “jump-shot artist,” was a captain in her final season as a Flying Queen. When she graduated in 1961, her 1,125 career points was the fourth-highest point total in Flying Queens’ history; today, she ranks 31st.
Carla’s career was stellar to say the least. Her career included excellence as an athlete, a teacher, a coach, and an athletic administrator and a noted scholar. She was described by University of Texas Women’s Athletic Director Chris Plonsky as a “preeminent scholar, college professor, athletics administrator and coach. She touched and positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students, coaches and athletics officials throughout her life.”
Carla became the first female athletics director at Southwestern University in 1984 and also served SU as associate dean of students, chair and professor of kinesiology, and director of wellness and leisure. Her tenure was highlighted by moving an NAIA athletics program into NCAA Division III, overseeing sports expansion, and construction of the Corbin J. Robertson Center. Dr. Lowry promoted wellness and fitness throughout her career. She taught physical education at the University of Texas at Arlington (1972-84), was graduate assistant women’s basketball coach at Texas Woman’s University (1969-71), coached Texas AIAW state championship teams in basketball and volleyball, taught at Sam Houston State University (1967-69) and coached a Southwest Preparatory Conference Championship girls’ basketball squad in her final year at Houston’s Kincaid High School (1963-67). She also was president of the Texas AIAW, a NAIA District Chair, Women’s Sports Development Committee Chair, National Executive Committee Chair and Administrator of the Year in 1987-88. She authored two books: Pictorial Basketball and Women’s Basketball.
She earned induction into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Scott County (MS) Sport Hall of Fame, the Wayland Athletic Hall of Honor, the Sam Houston State University, and Southwestern University Athletic Hall of Fame. Additionally, she received several national honors including the NAGWS Pathfinder Award and the NACWAA Lifetime Achievement Award. While a Professor at University of Texas at Arlington, she won the prestigious AMOCO Foundation teaching excellence award. She earned a B.S. from Wayland and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Texas Woman’s University. She retired from Southwestern University as a Dean and Chair of the Department of Kinesiology.
Throughout Carla’s life she maintained contact with several of her Flying Queen friends. She talked to Patsy Neal and Margaret Odom on occasion. She also made several golfing trips with her good friends Kaye Garms and Cookie Barron. Carla always said that because of the Hutcheson’s generosity and Coach Redin’s leadership, she had opportunities afforded her that allowed her to have a successful career and life. This is no doubt a very true statement; however, this writer believes that with Carla’s talents, values, and tenaciousness that she would have been successful regardless of the path she had taken.
The Hutcherson Flying Queens’ Foundation agrees and joins you in honoring Carla’s accomplishments!