My name is Linda Tucker and I first heard about the Queens when I was a sophomore in Rockvale High School in Rockvale, Tennessee where my father taught and coached the girls’ basketball team and my mother was the librarian. One day the library receive a book entitled The Queens Fly High by Harley Redin. My mom showed it to me and I took it home and read it. After reading it I told my folks that I wanted to go to college at Wayland and play for the Queens. My dad (and coach) said, “Lin, you better work really hard then.” I replied, “Dad, I work my butt off everyday.” And I did because basketball was all I ever wanted to do.
John Head from Nashville Business College asked me to play for NBC but I didn’t want to go to a business college or go part-time to another nearby school while playing for NBC. I wanted to go to Wayland, but Rockvale, Tennessee was 1000 miles from Plainview, Texas so Coach Redin knew nothing about me. I couldn’t go to tryouts. He’d never been to Tennessee to see me play so I had no scholarship offer. Yet, I was determined so I applied to Wayland and was accepted. I went to Wayland on sheer grit. My parents loaded me up in the car and drove me to Plainview, Texas. I guess many of you know the feeling of your parents unloading you at a dorm and driving off. This is hard but it’s also hard on parents. My dad, the stalwart of our family, only made it 40 miles out of town when he said he was turning around and going back to get me. My mom, the more likely of the two to want to do so, said, “No you’re not.” Well, the rest is history. I made the team. Had a great time both on and off the court. I loved the pre-game warm-up where I remained the only Queen who could dribble the basketball and pass off to another player while doing a one-handed handstand. I made life-long friends and have lots of stories (some of which we can’t tell).
After Wayland, I coached at Pearland Middle School, Clear Creek High School, and then was the first full-time women’s basketball coach at Rice University where I coached for 11 years. Post Rice University, I spent 5 years as a Regional Director for Special Olympics. I was a clinician for Special Olympic participants at Women’s Basketball Final Four Tournaments and recruited Kodak All Americans to coach the Special Olympic Athletes in these clinics. In 2000, I moved to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, where I worked until 2013 at Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, MS setting up beverages stations at golf tournaments, New Orleans Saints football suites and other special events. I received Volunteer of the Year award from MGM in 2009.
One of the most devastating things in my life was the loss of my home in Hurricane Katrina in a 26-foot storm surge that went over my house. I lost everything including all sports memorabilia. Thanks to hurricane straps my house survived, but had to be almost completely rebuilt due to water damage and mold. I did a lot of the work myself. One of the most rewarding things in my life has been the work I am doing through a foundation I created. Through the Foundation, I started a Mammography Assistance Program at Hancock Medical Hospital, Bay Saint Louis, MS in 1999 to provide free mammograms for uninsured Women in Hancock County, MS. Since then, the Foundation has raised over $230,000 and provided 1,400 mammograms.
I would love to reconnect with former Queens and supporters.
Wayland Grad 1969
Flying Queens Forever!