What an honor it is to be in the Flying Queens Basketball family! I am Valerie Goodwin-Colbert and I attended Wayland Baptist University from 1975 to 1979. Growing up in rural Oklahoma, it was a given that sports was a part of my destiny. I have four strong and talented siblings, had an athletic mom and dad, and a family lineage that had varying degrees of participation and success in football, track/field, basketball and rodeo. My training ground was a dusty, rutted driveway leading into our farm with a rusty basketball goal, and miles of dirt roads to run. I was fortunate to have an early foundation of competition, hard work and integrity inherited through my family, and a healthy “village” support. That farm-bred, small town mentality was really the common bond of many of us that played for the Flying Queens, and revealed itself through an unmatched work ethic that I have not witnessed again in my lifetime.
How many women in the 1970s, before the birth of Title IX, could say that they had an athletic scholarship, played in a packed gymnasium and flew on private planes for road trips? The courage, and forward thinking that the Hutcherson family, Wayland Baptist University and the Plainview community expressed in their vocal support to women was bold! I did not see my teammates take things for granted, but instead I learned life skills in humility, passion and perseverance from them. I witnessed how the Wayland Baptist University Flying Queens program was a fertile ground where women were celebrated for multi-dimensions of their strength, accepted for the courage in handling high levels of stress and expectations, and encouraged to have a bold assertiveness in making an impact as a role model that influenced women’s basketball programs across the United States.
My lifelong friends and change-agents are Flying Queens, but that did not stop me from being a part of the WBU campus life activities. I participated in the Miss Wayland pageant, the music sorority and was president of the Student Foundation. The opportunity of travel with the Flying Queens throughout the United States, and to step on university campuses that I would not have otherwise seen, ignited a love of cultural immersion and lifelong learning. We travelled as a team, internationally, on a 2-week mission trip to Hong Kong in May of 1978 that sparked a desire and curiosity in me that impacted my life choices.
I graduated from Wayland Baptist University and was drafted into the Women’s Basketball League for the Dallas Diamonds, coached by Dean Weese. The joy of seeing other Flying Queens throughout our travels, making history for women’s professional basketball, re-affirmed that WBU was, and is a special place. It did not take me long to figure out that I wanted to go into coaching, so when Sue Gunter at Stephen F. Austin State University head coach-turned-into-athletic director called me and said “Val, you need to come over here and help us with the young players,” I jumped at the opportunity to coach with a Flying Queens longtime national rival, and be mentored by a dear and respected friend of Coach Weese. I eventually coached at Oklahoma State University (thank you Flying Queen Judy Bugher – I love you), Missouri State University, University of Oklahoma and Southwestern College (California), where I finished my coaching/teaching career of a span of almost 30 years. My involvement in campus leadership, coaches’ association leadership (both State and National) and advocate for the continued growth of Title IX was both rewarding and challenging.
I stand in awe, and thankful for the decades of Flying Queen colleagues who started, and continued the rich history of a legacy that will live forever.
Wayland Grad 1979
Flying Queens Forever!