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17 Sep 2013

Team Celebrates 60th Anniversary of National Title

Team Celebrates 60th Anniversary of National Title

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Members of the Hanes Hosiery women’s basketball team, which won three consecutive AAU national championships in the early 1950s, will gather again Saturday in Winston-Salem.

The players, their relatives and their spouses will meet for their annual reunion at 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Point Grill at 7843 North Point Blvd.

The Hanes Hosiery women competed in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) from 1945 to 1954, nearly 40 years before the NCAA began sponsoring women’s basketball. Virgil Yow coached the team through the 1953 season, and the players worked at Hanes.

Lounelle Selle, 84, who played in what would be considered the center position, said the reunion will honor the team that won the 1953 AAU national title, the last of three straight.

“We came up here just out of high school,” Selle said. “We played together, lived together and traveled together. We are lifelong friends. I loved the travel.”

After her basketball career, Selle spent 40 years in Christian ministry, education, pastoral care and counseling, including two years with the Peace Corps in Bolivia and 15 years in Taiwan as a missionary to students,

Hanes Hosiery finished the 1952-53 season with a 37-0 record and won its third straight AAU crown by defeating Wayland Baptist College of Texas 36-28.

The team began its string of national titles in 1951 on the way to compiling a then-record 102-game winning streak that ended in the 1953-54 season. The team’s star players included Evelyn “Eckie” Jordan, a five-time All-American from South Carolina; Eunies “Eunie” Futch, a three-time All-American from Florida; Hazel Phillips of Statesville, who won two national free-throw titles; and Jackie Swaim Fagg, a two-time All-American. Fagg, who lives in Kernersville, retired after helping Hanes win the 1951 title.

Phillips, 85, who lives in Winston-Salem, said she looks forward to spending time again with her former teammates.

“It’s a tight group, and we worked together,” said Phillips, who played on all three national championship teams and was inducted into the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

Phillips, known for her accurate set shot, later coached basketball and softball at Griffith, Parkland and Carver high schools.

Ruth Bingham, 85, of Clemmons played on the team from 1946 to 1951, including its first national championship squad. She said she has fond memories of playing basketball for Hanes Hosiery.

“It was a great team,” Bingham said. “It was really a special time in my life, and I look forward to getting back together. I wouldn’t taken anything for it. We didn’t have anywhere else to play.”

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