I would like to introduce you to Katherine "Kay" Kirkpatrick (1936-1940). If you happen to see any first pictures of Olson's Redheads from 1936 and you see 6 players instead of 7 she is the one who is missing and here is why.

Originally attending Baylor with her brothers (who also played basketball for Baylor). ** Her brother Hubert was actually the first All-American from Baylor**.. They would often shoot 500 baskets a day from the free throw line. She would play AAU basketball for Holts sporting goods in Waco, TX in 1934 and 1935. During the state playoff in 1935 she would be named an All American.

Enter CM Olson- in 1936 he would interview her for the Redheads and begin recruiting her as he wanted women who was an All-American from their home States. Initally she was unsure of the opportunity but after a second attempt Christmas Eve she packed her bags and was on the road.. She often said playing against men the would start out polite, but when they realized the women were serious they would leave their manners and play seriously.

The Red Heads became a symbol of hope in a depression era. Women accomplishing an unheard feat not only playing a 5 man men's game full court, but winning a majority of the games.


She was often the high scorer on the team and rarely missed a free throw. You can often see early pictures of her sitting on the bench eating oranges as she loved to eat them even during games. She often recalled times where the team would have to have police escorts leave with them after defeating men's teams the crowd would be so hostile.

In 1940 when the Red heads visited the Philipines playing exhibitions games for several months.The US state department issued a warning for all US citizens to return home because of an imminent invasion from Japan.the team was told they would leave in the morning. Sometime in the night Olson had taken a flight and left the team. It then came into Kay's hands She then had to talk to the sponsor Pedro who arranged for a cattle boat to gather the team and try to get them out safely. She would retire from playing professional basketball after the incident and begin to start a family.

Stories like hers are preserved in book Barnstoeming America written by John Molina . To purchase click the link above.