Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Margaret Wade: She's not just a name on a trophy

It's been about 75 years since most competitive state high school girls basketball was wiped out and 35 years since Title IX was signed. So how about a little history?

The Wade Trophy is awarded to the best women' s basketball player in Division I. First offered in 1978, it was named after legendary Delta State coach Margaret Wade (1912-1995).

Many forget Wade the player who, in 1929, played forward and became captain of the Delta State Teacher's College team. The team, though, was disbanded in 1932 because the administration thought "intercollegiate basketball could not be defended on sound grounds." Basically, it was unlady-like.

But, like many women of the era who were driven to play, Wade found a place on the court with "semi-pro" AAU teams. In Wade's case it was the Tupelo Red Wings. She served as the team's captain and led them to the Southern Championship before a knee injury ended her career.

As a Red Wing, Wade played with Mary Nelle Brumley Chalk and her sister Dew Drop Rowlett, both who have been inducted into the Freed-Hardeman College (TN) Hall of Fame. Clark was part of 1931-32 Freed-Hardeman College team that won the Mississippi Valley Conference despite the fact that they were a junior college competing against senior colleges. Rowlett attended FHC from 1930 to ’32 and was named to the Mississippi Valley Conference tournament team in ’30, ’31 and ’32. FHC's women's team was eventually disbanded.

All three women made a careers teaching and coaching, most famously Wade who, in 19 years at Cleveland High School (MS) compiled a 453-89 record. Invited back to Delta State to resurect the program in 1973, she guided the Lady Statesmen to three consecutive AIAW championships ('75-'77) with a team that included the fabulous Lucy Harris.

Chalk taught in the Tennessee school system, and coached both boys and girls basketball at Lexington High School for 20 years. Rowlett started coaching tennis, track and field in 1936 at Kentucky's Murray High School. One of the founders of the Kentucky Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in 1968 Rowlett was recognized as one of Kentucky's Outstanding Women in Sports.

Rowlett return to FHU as a coach from 1965-1981. In 1979, her sister joined her to help revive the FHU women's basketball team. The Lady Lions play in the NAIA and have made ten National Tournment appearances since 1997. This year Stacy Myers was the fourth player in FHU history to be named a Kodak All-American.

All hail unlady-like women!

Related Posts:

Black women's basketball teams of the early 1930's

A little Kentucky women's basketball history

A little Oklahoma women's basketball history

Native Americans and women's basketball history

Native Americans in women's basketball today


Faith-based organizations and women's basketball's roots
Bertha Nolan and Gloucester Catholic High School

Follow up to Bertha: Harvard's Kim Delaney Smith and Fairfield's Dianne Nolan