Flying Queen

1969-71

Sally Miller

I am Sally Miller. I played for the Wayland Queen Bees from 1969 – 1971, and I was a trainer for the Flying Queens from 1971 – 1973. I then returned to Wayland to be the assistant coach from 1981 – 1983.

I was raised in Panhandle, Texas by my father and mother, Joe and LaVerne Miller. I had one sibling, Joe Don, who was five years older than me. God could not have placed me in a better family. I loved and adored my parents and brother. My parents had a strong work ethic, a humble spirit, and an unshakable faith in God. My brother was my faithful friend and my protector. The precious memories of my childhood are truly a blessing from God.

I grew up loving to play sports. In our neighborhood, it was all boys and one other girl besides me. Occasionally, I would play jacks with her, but I preferred being on the playing field with the boys. We played football, baseball, basketball, and had rodeos using old tires as our bucking livestock. However, it was early on that I developed a passion for basketball.

Beginning in the 7th grade, we would load up a bus each year and go to the coach’s clinic at Wayland. Always, the Flying Queens were the star attraction. Just one trip to this clinic, and I knew I wanted to play for the Flying Queens and then teach and coach after I graduated from Wayland.

My parents were adamant about Joe and me going to college. Neither one of them had been given the opportunity to do so. Joe Don wanted to go to West Texas University, but my heart was set on going to Wayland. I know that both of my parents made tremendous sacrifices that allowed me to follow my dream. Daddy wanted mother at home to take care of us, so he worked three jobs in order for Joe Don and me to receive a college education. Also, I know mother did without many things in order to let us pursue our dreams. Therefore, my diploma from Wayland means more to me than I could ever express in words.

In Junior High, my coach was Coach Millsap. He was such a sweet guy and a good coach. However, he could not drive a bus. There is no telling in a two-year span how many curbs we hit.

Ann Metcalf was my high school coach. She was a good coach who taught us discipline, hard work, and the skills necessary to be successful. Under her direction, I became a better player and physically stronger. My senior year, Van Kountz was my coach, and he influenced my game and my life. I was blessed to be coached by good people who were also good coaches.

So, in the Fall of ’69, with Panhandle, Texas in my rearview mirror, my ’68 Mustang loaded down, and surrounded by the prayers of my parents, I set out to follow my dream of becoming a Flying Queen. From the moment I moved on campus, I loved Wayland. The campus was small, the professors encouraging, and the students so friendly. And here I was on the campus of the famous Flying Queens!

Never mind that some of us came without scholarships. We still were given the opportunity to try out for the team. So, we all gathered at The Box, that old Wayland gym. To me it was not the looks of the gym, but the people inside playing a game they loved, looking to uphold that rich Flying Queens’ tradition. There they were, names I knew and had heard of, and all of a sudden, here I was on the same basketball court with them!

Well, let’s just say that I might not be the sharpest Crayola in the box, but after a few weeks, it became very obvious to me that I was just not good enough to play for the Flying Queens. I love the Bible verse, Proverbs 16:9 – “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

My heart had brought me to Wayland to pursue a dream, but God directed my steps in an unbelievable way. While this may be hard for some to understand, there were those of us who would rather play on the Queen Bees (the Flying Queens JV team), than to have playing time at another college. So began my journey as a Queen Bee. What a great group of girls I had the opportunity to be around as we continued to play the game we loved. They were all great, but I would like to mention three of them: Babs Tatum Lombard, Anne Rapp, and Jan Cryer Roach. The four of us decided that if we could not play for the Queens, we would become the best cheerleaders they had ever had. So, we set out to make posters, perform skits, make door tags, and numerous other things to show our support. We called ourselves The Mechanical 4, the name derived from the door where the shot clocks were kept! I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun we had, what memories we made, and the camaraderie that existed among us.
Still, we were getting to play basketball.

In workouts, we played the five-on-five game against the Queens. When we played other colleges, we played the Rover game with two stationary players on each end and two roving full-court. When we were scheduled to play high school teams, it was the six-player-game with three on each end. Judy Gover Allmon and Sylvia Nadler coached the Queen Bees’ team. I am sure they deserve some kind of special recognition for putting up with us. I am so thankful the Flying Queens had a JV team – the Queen Bees. It gave us the opportunity to still play and remain a part of this storied program.

After playing two years for the Queen Bees, I was given the wonderful opportunity to become the trainer for the Flying Queens. It was an amazing two years. I learned skills to keep our players healthy and to keep them on the floor playing. Then I found myself on one of those three famous planes that flew the Queens all over the country to play basketball. I saw first-hand the generosity and kindness of Claude and Wilda Hutcherson and their family to the Flying Queens’ program. And for all those years waiting for the future in which I would coach, I knew how to tape an ankle! Once again, the direction was perfect for me.

After graduation, I began my teaching and coaching career in Floydada, Texas. It was the perfect place for me to begin my career. The community was supportive, and I was blessed with wonderful players and students. God directed my steps to the best situation for me.

We all have our mountaintops and our valleys. My deepest valley came while I was in Floydada. My beloved brother was killed in a horse accident, and a few months later, I went through a divorce. While none of us want to be in a valley, it is truly through those times that we see the faithfulness, the goodness, the grace, and the power of God. My heart was broken for my parents, but their faith remained unshakable which greatly increased my faith. Another wonderful direction of our Lord led me to Petersburg. While there, Jimmie Wilson, Cathy Wilson’s mom, was truly a God-send to my heart. While teaching and coaching there, God used her and that great community to minister to my heart. It was a time of restoration and regrouping. It was also at that time that my dear friend, Cathy Wilson, came calling. After winning three state high school championships, she was called back to Wayland as the first female and first former Queen to coach the Flying Queens. After being there for two years, she asked me to come to Wayland as her assistant coach and to be in charge of recruiting. My hesitation was that I had only coached the six-player game, and the Queens were playing five-on-five. She assured me that she would take care of the coaching if I would take care of the other tasks. So, I was thrilled to return to campus and to that great tradition known as the Flying Queens! I went from a student who was scared to death of Lena Faye Alford to being her next-door neighbor in the faculty apartments. Sometimes in directing our steps, God has a sense of humor!

Everything was going great that first fall until we were preparing to go to Frank Phillips College in Borger for a scrimmage. Cathy threw her back out and was not able to go to the game. I thought my contract said, “No coaching!” I am thankful that it was only a scrimmage, otherwise, I might have had “the big one!” My two years at Wayland as Assistant Coach were amazing and invaluable for me. I will never forget being at Cal Berkley playing in the Regional Finals to see who would go to Philadelphia for the AIAW Final Four. We were a huge underdog, and yet we won that game. We flew across the country and found ourselves in the Final Four with Villanova, Rutgers, and Texas at the famed Palestra, often called the Cathedral of College Basketball. We had outstanding players with great character – they were first class individuals. I will always be grateful to Cathy for giving me this opportunity. During those two years of sitting with her on the bench, I knew I was learning from one of the great basketball minds. This would be an invaluable experience for me as I transitioned to teaching basketball skills to junior high girls for the next twenty years.

I went on to coach at Crockett Junior High in the Amarillo ISD and at Valleyview Junior High in the Canyon ISD. I finished my career in education teaching at Westover Park and Greenways Intermediate, both in Canyon ISD. For thirty-three years I was blessed with outstanding students, extraordinary colleagues, and supportive parents. My time in the educational field was an incredible experience for me. I have wonderful memories, and I am most grateful God guided my steps in that direction.

In the Spring of 2007, my good friend came calling again. Cathy has a successful financial planning business in Amarillo. Her office manager had resigned, and she asked if I would be interested in that position. After praying, I knew God was directing my steps to this new career. I made it clear to Cathy that the biggest check I had every handled was what it cost to buy a yearbook at school! She had faith that I could do the job, and I have been in this job for the past twelve years. What a blessing it has been for me. I love our clients, and I have learned so much. It is a wonderful environment. Cathy has taught me so many things, but no greater lesson than what it means to truly have a servant’s heart. I am blessed to be a part of C.S. Wilson & Associates, Inc.

Today my life consists of work, taking care of my precious ninety-four-year-old mother who still lives in Panhandle, traveling, and being a part of First Baptist Church in Amarillo. God has blessed me with wonderful friends, and He has filled my heart with joy.

To the Flying Queens of today –
Be grateful for your God-given talent.
Be humble – we have all been blessed to be a small part of the big picture.
And finally, let God direct your steps. He never makes a misstep.

I will be eternally thankful that God directed my steps to Wayland Baptist University and to that storied Flying Queens’ program.

Sally Miller

Wayland Grad 1973

Flying Queens Forever!