The legend of the grand lady of basketball became even more legendary in June of 1999 during the grand opening of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
The winningest ever girls basketball coach in the nation, the late Bertha Frank Teague was included in the prestigious inaugural induction class of ’99.
The former Byng, Oklahoma High School coach recorded an incredible 1,157-115 record in a glorious span beginning in 1926 and ending in 1969. In perspective, legendary lawman Wyatt Earp died in 1926; a year later aviator Charles Lindbergh made his first non-stop flight across the Atlantic and Babe Ruth hit a record 60 home runs. Omega Johnson, a stellar player under Teague who later became her road companion at girls’ basketball events, attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting induction gala and dinner and the induction ceremonies.
Mrs. Johnson reflected the views of followers of girls’ basketball in an interview prior to the induction. “Any organization that has to do with women’s or girls’ basketball just has to include Mrs. Teague. That’s a given,” Johnson said.
In its first year of existence in 1976, Teague and Johnson were among the original incorporators of the annual holiday basketball tournament, the Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic, played in Ada, Oklahoma. The event has grown into the most prestigious regular season tournament of its kind, drawing the top girls’ basketball programs in Oklahoma as well as surrounding states.
Teague was certainly no stranger to state championships. She coached the Byng Lady Pirates to eight state championships and seven runners-up. Her team went through a 27-year unbeaten streak in conference action.
In 1989, Mrs. Teague was honored by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in Knoxville, Tennessee during the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. She received the first ever WBCA Service Award as part of the tournament’s festivities. More than 800 fans were on hand for the ceremony.
Mrs. Teague said after returning from Tennessee that the WBCA Service Award was one of the most gratifying experiences in her life. She was also introduced into the Naismith Nation Basketball Hall of Fame, the National High School Sports Hall of Fame; the Missouri Basketball Hall of Fame; the Oklahoma Basketball Hall of Fame; the Oklahoma Girls High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame; and was the first women ever to be introduced into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
A tremendous driving force for the girls basketball for nearly three quarters of a century, Mrs. Teague passed away in an Oklahoma City hospital on June 13, 1991. She was 92 years old.