|1955 team with new owner/coach Orwell Moore
In the fall of 1948, Olson made what turned out to be the most significant
move in Red Heads history when he hired a hotshot young coach named Orwell Moore as road manager. Moore was cutting his teeth
at several small high schools around Arkansas when he first met Olson. The All American Red Heads had become so popular that
there were no open dates on the calendar. Olson figured the time was right to put a second team on the road again. The Famous
Red Heads – a farm team to the first unit – hit the ground running with seven new faces in 1948. The first coach
was not working out so Olson was looking for a replacement to coach his second unit.
Orwell Moore and C.M. Olson were cut from the
same cloth. Bold. Fearless. Loyal. Moore was a country boy through and through. He saw his future in teaching and coaching,
and maybe a little farming on the side. His new bride, Lorene, played basketball for him in high school. Years later, Orwell
recalled how excited Lorene was when he received the offer from Olson to coach the Famous Red Heads. Her approval was all
he needed to make the life-changing decision. Orwell coached and managed one Red Heads team or another for the next seven
seasons. Lorene played several seasons scoring more than 35,000 points for her career.
Olson always was a good judge of character.
He handpicked his rosters locating talent in the most remote places. Still, there was no way Olson could have known the impact
his latest find would have on the All American Red Heads the day he called to steal the young coach away from his post at
Caraway High School. Olson trusted Moore. In 1954, when Olson finally retired from the game, he handed the reins over to the
only person he felt would carry the torch of his beloved Red Heads. Basketball was losing one of its greatest minds but gaining
one of its greatest characters. Orwell Moore loved the Red Heads dearly. For the next thirty years, he would pour his heart
and soul into keeping the All American Red Heads on top of the basketball world.
The All American Red Heads continued to log more and more miles each passing year
under the direction of Orwell Moore. He understood the importance of introducing his traveling road show to new audiences.
He was unflappable in his desire to make the Red Heads the most popular attraction in basketball. He entertained the idea
of touring Europe, Asia, Australia, and Hawaii. In any given season, Moore scheduled upwards of 200 games in at least forty
states in six months. His basketball nomads played “anyone, anytime, anywhere” carrying on the tradition that
lasted nearly fifty seasons. The schedule was always demanding and each passing year new towns and new teams were added to
the slate. Moore’s Top of the World tours in Alaska – five in all – aptly described the general feeling
around the Red Heads family.
Coach Moore spent most of his professional life advocating for equality in sports. The All American Red Heads
broke down barriers, challenged the social and cultural traditions of an entire nation, and generally opened doors to women
that were previously closed in the world of sports. In the summer of 1972, the United States Congress passed into law Title
IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Commonly referred to as Title IX, this seemingly innocent piece of legislation has
been at the heart of the debate over men’s and women’s athletics ever since. Title IX signaled a new era in women’s
sports as equal access to scholarships, sports facilities, and athletic equipment was mandated in public education. The effect
was almost immediate and the gains tremendous. Sports programs for women increased at all levels as Title IX legislation elevated
the quality of the athletic experience.
The All American Red Heads were pioneers in the crusade for equality, setting the table but unable to eat
with those who followed. The first 36 years of operation served notice that women were part and parcel to the world of sports.
Ironically, the revolution that Orwell Moore, C.M. Olson before him, and all of the Red Heads over the years worked so hard
for eventually led to the demise of the very agent of that change. The Red Heads continued to play basketball until 1986,
but the years following the passage of Title IX failed to capture the magic of those first four decades. Under a separate
set of circumstances and for different reasons, the All American Red Heads ultimately suffered the same fate as the Terrible
Swedes fifty years prior when Orwell Moore ended the reign of the longest-running women’s professional sports team in
All American Red Heads played basketball for the better part of six decades. Only the Harlem Globetrotters compare favorably
in terms of games and miles and years. The Red Heads appeared in magazines such as Life, Look, Colliers,
and Sports Illustrated. They shared the stage with Ed Sullivan and Art Linkletter and played before Hollywood A-listers
like Marlene Dietrick, Bing Crosby, and the incomparable Fred Astaire. In a span of 50 years, presidents came and went including
FDR, JFK, and LBJ. Elvis Presley and the Beatles made young girls twist and shout. Neil Armstrong made one giant leap for
mankind. Women like Betty Friedan and Billie Jean King fought for equal rights. The All American Red Heads, pioneers in the
same crusade, played basketball for a greater cause.
|Actual uniforms and warmup used in 1950s and 60s
Articles on the Red Heads on their Induction
Red Heads get Naismith Nod (9-18-12)
Without Red Heads there is no WNBA
Homerville (Ammons) inducted with Red Heads to HOF
Caprock teacher inducted with Red Heads into HOF (Bruce)
She Shoots, She scores (Williams - Wooldridge) HOF
Resident Loves Red Heads - Molina
HOF Inducts Red Heads McClain, Malone
Red Heads inducted into Hall of Fame (McClain)
Red Heads are pioneers again with spot in Hall (pay site) 9-7-2012
Proud night for Red Heads (video from induction)
Roybal to be inducted into HOF with Red Heads 9-5-2012
Miller, Red Heads inducted into Hall of fame - Kansas City Star 9-9-2012
Pensacola Resident surprised at induction - Brenda Nalepa - 9-8-2012
Hall of fame journey for Nalepa and Red Heads (9-18)
Martinson of Red Heads inducted into HOF
Tate, Red Heads picked for NHOF
Doucette, Red Heads inducted into Hall of Fame
Howe, Red Heads to be inducted into HOF
UWGB Alum inducted (Jensen-Kocken)
Red Heads inducted into HOF - Northeast Ark Town Crier 9-7-2012
Becky Pritchett and Red Heads into Hall of Fame
Smith "no words to describe" into HOF with Red Heads
TV Clip with Mechelle Pollard Weyer
Excerpt from Hall of Fame Induction
Tonight I am honored to speak on behalf
of the All American Red Heads. I would like to start by thanking the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
for bestowing such a prestigious honor on such a special group of women and men. I would also like to congratulate the other
members of the Class of 2012, too numerous to call each out by name, but we are thrilled to join you and the rest of the Naismith
Hall of Fame family. A special thank you to John Doleva and his staff who are Hall of Famers in my book any day.
be the first women’s basketball team inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame… Thank you for bestowing such a
prestigious honor to a special group of men and women who have spent their entire lives honoring the name, The All American
I would like to take you back to 1936 America. A time of dust bowls and depressions
and unease and all the while…basketball. A game so simple in many ways. A ball, a hoop…all you really need.
And the opportunity to play of course. During this time, the opportunities for women were incredibly limited. It was considered
socially unacceptable and physically impossible to run up and down the floor, to sweat, to compete. Women’s place was
in the home, not on the basketball court. Of course there were exceptions. Women rejected the notion that basketball
was man’s domain from the very beginning and women always worked as nurses and teachers and hairdressers. Which brings
me to the All American Red Heads.
It was widely viewed that a woman’s body could not withstand
the stress of such activity and it would pose serious health consequences. Against all odds, in 1936 the Olson’s
created The All American Red Heads.
To all of the women and men, players, coaches, and family members,
who were bold enough to challenge the status quo and play basketball, this Honor is for you. Without taking that monumental
first step, women’s basketball would not be where the game is today, and we would not be here to accept this honor.
The Red Heads thrilled fans with their fancy passing, crafty ball handling, deceptive play patterns,
clever ruses, amusing routines and GREAT BASKETBALL. Demands for the team were so plentiful that some years there were
two or three teams traveling the country.
The All American Red Heads broke the mold, and a
number of these men and women who gave their lives to basketball join me on stage tonight. There are hundreds more who could
not be with us.
We would also like to thank John Molina, who believed in Coach Moore’s dream
and helped educate others and promote the dream. Thank you for being a friend to him and keeping his hopes and dreams
alive. Also, to Matt Zeysing, thank you for preserving, in writing, the legacy of the All American Red Heads.