Lurlyne Greer Rogers (1928–2001)
Lurlyne Greer Rogers was known as a gifted basketball player and all-around athlete in high school at Des Arc (Prairie County). She went on to play women’s pre-professional basketball in Little Rock (Pulaski County); Nashville, Tennessee; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Earning many accolades throughout her career, Rogers contributed to winning championships, set records, and was inducted into three athletic halls of fame.
Lurlyne Ann Greer was born in Des Arc on December 15, 1928, the youngest of two daughters born to Dada L. Greer and Ralph M. Greer. At seventeen, she graduated from Des Arc High School as valedictorian, after which she played for player-coach Hazel Walker for Little Rock’s Dr. Pepper Girls team. Following her brief stint with the Little Rock team, Greer was recruited to play for a more competitive team, Cook’s Goldblumes (named after a beer company), out of Nashville, Tennessee. According to Robert W. Ikard, author of Just for Fun: The Story of AAU’s Women’s Basketball, “Lurlyne Greer was the best AAU’s women’s player of the late forties and first half of the 1950s.” Greer played in Nashville from approximately 1946 to 1951.
In October 1951, Greer was recruited again to play for one of the most successful women’s teams at the time: Hanes Hosiery out of Winston-Salem. An article from the Winston-Salem Journal that addresses her move has an image of her with the following caption: “Lurlyne Greer, regarded as the greatest woman basketball player in the nation today, has cast her lot with Hanes Hosiery in the local team’s bid for its second straight national championship.”
While playing in the Carolinas, Greer married Richard Mealhouse. The wedding took place on June 21, 1953, in her hometown of Des Arc. The marriage lasted about two years, during which time she went by the name Lurlyne Greer Mealhouse.
It was during this period that her career reached its peak. In 1952, she was the recipient of the Teague Award, presented annually to the most outstanding amateur athlete (male and female) in the Carolinas. Additionally, in the spring of 1955, she was the captain of the women’s team that played in the Pan-American Games in Mexico City. They won all eight games and brought home the gold medal.
After her semi-professional career, she played one season, 1956–1957, for Hazel Walker’s Arkansas Travelers, a team famous for predominately playing against men. Her basketball career ended in 1957.
In the early 1960s, she married Frank Rogers, and the two settled in Heber Springs (Cleburne County), where they were the owners and caretakers of Cleburne County Memorial Gardens. In 1967, Greer was inducted into the Helms Hall Women’s Amateur Basketball Hall of Fame.
On February 16, 2001, Greer died due to complications of a pulmonary malignancy. She is buried alongside her husband in Cleburne County Memorial Gardens. In 2004, she was posthumously inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee, and she was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
For additional information:
Ikard, Robert W. Just for Fun: The Story of AAU’s Women’s Basketball. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2005.
“Lurlyne Greer Rogers.” Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. https://www.wbhof.com/famers/lurlyne-greer-rogers/ (accessed August 9, 2023).
“Mealhouse Called Cage ‘Ben Hogan.’” St. Joseph Gazette, March 22, 1955, p. 13.
Ragsdale, Warner, Jr. “Lurlyne Greer, 5-Time All-America, Joins Hanes Girls: Former Cook’s Star Adds Punch, Height to Champs.” Winston-Salem Journal, October 4, 1951, p. 24.
Justin G. Sangster
Arkansas State University-Beebe
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