Carolyn Bush Roddy: Breaking Barriers in Women’s Basketball

Black History Month

KINGSTON, Tenn. (WATE) — Carolyn Bush Roddy was born and raised in Kingston, Tenn. She grew to be a veteran women’s basketball player and in the midst of integration, Roddy built a star-studded career in women’s sports.

“I have to give my grandmother a lot of credit too because she was such an influence on my life. She was a motivator. She was a disciplinarian. She was my everything,” said Roddy.

Determination and inspiration would end in a storied career for her.

“She always told us, you can do and be anything you want to be, just don’t be afraid of failure.”

Roddy is a 2019 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Her career started at Roane County High School.

“I was the first Black to ever play at Roane County High School. It was integration,” she said.

She recalls being shunned from entering a restaurant with her team.

“My coach, Freddy Paul Wilson, I love him to death. He said if she can’t go the rest of the team’s not going in and we started to get back on the bus.”

Her skills would take her to Hiwassee Junior college in ‘72, where she would dominate. While at Hiwassee, she was awarded the Tigrette Award, Best Defensive Player, Best Offensive Player and MVP of the National Junior College Tournament. Roddy was a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American, not once, but twice. She would find more success at Wayland Baptist College.

On top of her collegiate success, she was an Olympic Team finalist as well as a gold medalist in the 1975 Pan-American Games.

“I played with Pat. I played against Pat. My first encounter with Pat was at the east and west all star game at Stokely.

She’s talking about legendary Lady Vols coach, Pat Summitt. “At first, we weren’t [friends] ‘cause she didn’t like me and I didn’t like her.”

But eventually they formed a friendship.

“We played on the 1975 Pan American Team together. International team together. I went to her summer camp. She allowed me to be a coach at her camp for 28 years.”

Roddy went on to play for the Dallas Diamonds in the Women’s Professional Basketball League.

“Everything in my life has been in God’s plan.”

MORE | Hidden History: Celebrating Black History Month

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