I’m Sharla Harrison Rich. I grew up in Sudan, Texas, small town America. My grandparents and lots of my family grew up in this town. We were and still are a very close group. I had a lot of support from my family growing up. My mom and both of her parents graduated from SHS. I played varsity basketball for 4 years and was a member of the 1983 Texas State Championship team. I also was a State Champion Mile Relay runner for 2 years. I graduated Valedictorian of my High School Class.
I guess I always knew that I would go to college. My mom was a Flying Queen and I had been to Wayland many times. One of the key things in my decision to go to Wayland was a campus visit in the fall of my senior year where I spent the weekend with the Queens. I loved it. Wayland was small and had a homey feel and the girls were so nice and so much fun. My best friend, Missy Fisher Shultz, went to Wayland the year before I did and was very positive about her experience. I was recruited and in the spring of my senior year I made the decision to sign with Wayland.
My four years at Wayland were a great experience. I loved the fact that we got to know our professors. They were very supportive and even invited us into their homes for Sunday lunch or even a Thanksgiving meal. The student body was also very supportive. I still stay in touch with teammates and former classmates and I love seeing former professors and other people who supported and influenced me while at Wayland. My most memorable moments include the relationships I made, the basketball games, the science building and trying to do Organic Chemistry distillations while dissecting our cat!
I also had many memorable moments as a Flying Queen. I absolutely loved flying and I always got to be on Mike’s plane!! I loved the Queens Classic. I started playing in the Classic in High School, so it was really neat to play in college and to win the Classic!!! Our pre-season trip to Mexico my freshman year will always be a highlight and National Tournament time was always very exciting! I can’t say enough about Harley and Wilda, Mike and Suzie, and Marsha. They loved us like family and were ALWAYS there for us. On no other team in the world could we have experienced the unique things that this team and our sponsors made possible. As I think back on those years and all of the opportunities we had, I’m not sure I realized the significance at the time. I was just playing basketball. It was a lot of work, but in exchange, I got an education and so much more. It was at Wayland that I grew as a leader. From playing basketball I learned teamwork, hard work, tenacity, leadership, and how to set and accomplish goals. All of these have been important in my career. I have worked for Abbott Laboratories for 21 years. I am a Medical Technologist. I am currently the Director of Customer Support Operations for Abbott Transfusion Medicine. We sell, install and service and support laboratory instrumentation responsible for testing the majority of the worlds’ blood supply. I travel a lot internationally with my work.
As for my family, my husband Tim and I have been married for 23 years and we have one daughter, Emma. We live in Sudan, Texas with 3 dogs, a cat, a fish and 3 goats. I think my Wayland friends/teammates would be really be surprised that we show goats. My daughter is big in FFA and goats are her project. We have an acre of land with a small barn and spend a lot of time there.
The highlights of my life are my basketball career at Wayland, my marriage to Tim, the birth of my daughter, my job and moving back to Sudan to be close to friends and family. I live two doors down from my best friends, Missy and Joe Ky Schultz, and my parents Al and Glyna (Masten) Harrison live across the street. My brother, Jay Harrison, also a Wayland graduate, is in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The loss of my grandparents, who were my very biggest supporters, was a difficult time.
I still love basketball and watching basketball. My daughter and I went to the Final Four last year! If I got a chance to talk to current Queens I would tell them how proud I am of them and all they are accomplishing. Of course I always love to talk about my team and time at Wayland so I’d maybe give them a laugh or two. I always loved when former Flying Queens would come and see us and tell us stories—the good, the bad, and the unprintable. We represented Wayland well but we also had our mischievous fun.
I would love to reconnect with former Queens and supporters.
Sharla Harrison Rich
Wayland Grad 1989
Flying Queens Forever!