Owen High School honors Western North Carolina's first dynasty
In a ceremony between games Nov. 30, Owen High School unveiled a banner that honors the Warlassies basketball teams that won 90 straight games during the 1964-1970 seasons.
Black Mountain mayor Michael Sobol declared Nov. 30 Owen High School Girls 1964-70 Dynasty Basketball Team Day.” And big names in the school’s history took notice.
“I remember coaching at Owen High School and always hearing about how great our great women’s basketball team was," UNC Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said in a letter read to the teams. "It pushed me to be a better coach, knowing what a great basketball history we had to live up to.”
In 2006, the Warlassies were recognized by the Mountain Amateur Athletic Club and Western North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame as the first athletic dynasty team in Western North Carolina, losing only seven games in six seasons. Around a dozen players from those teams were on hand when Owen hosted Enka, the team which ended the Warlassies’ winning streak, for a reception, followed by a ceremony.
Sobol paid tribute to the late coach of those teams, Bill Rucker, by placing a towel over his arm while reading the proclamation on the court.
“The players on those teams knew they were in trouble when Bill Rucker would slap his white towel on the floor,” he said.
Sobol said members of the teams consider themselves sisters more than former teammates.
Owen principal Meg Turner hosted a reception in the school cafeteria for members of the team and their friends and family. It's important for the school to honor the team, she said.
“What these teams accomplished was remarkable,” she said as former players sipped sparkling grape juice. “If they would have had state championships for girls basketball back then, this team could have won a few.”
Former Owen standout and Super Bowl champion Brad Johnson congratulated the teams in a letter Turner shared. The former quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers thanked the teams for all they accomplished at the school.
“Hopefully, this banner will be an inspiration to all young athletes, no matter what sport they play, to set goals of high achievement and to play with passion,” he wrote.
Following a 58-47 victory Nov. 30 by the Warlassies team, former Black Mountain mayor Carl Bartlett, chairman of the Swannanoa, Black Mountain and C.D. Owen High Schools Hall of Fame, introduced the members of the teams. The women, wearing 1970s-era warm-up jackets, received a standing ovation from the sizable crowd in attendance.