Published May 5, 2009
Martin "Sonny" Cox
sent this article and supporting link listing his mom's 1938 AAU
All-American status in women's basketball while playing for the
Galveston Anicos. Sonny thinks she played on a number of AAU national
championship teams during her career. She played on two or three
national championship teams in 1934-36 with the Tulsa Stenos, a women’s
business college she attended in Tulsa, OK. While working for the
American National Insurance Company, Anicos, Sonny thinks she also
played on the 1938 and 1939 national championship teams.
Sonny wrote, “she
was a real competitor all her life. I know while growing up and playing
basketball, beating her at ‘horse’ was almost impossible. I sure do miss
He indicated that
over the years his mom, Lillian Justice Cox, stayed in touch with
several of her old teammates, so Sonny grew up knowing Nora Cain Volich
and a true women's basketball legend, Hazel Walker.
The Galveston Anicos were a women’s
Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team from the 1930s. The team was
sponsored by American National Insurance Company, from which the name
“Anicos” was derived. The team came to the forefront in the 1937
in the national AAU tournament when they lost the title to the
Little Rock Lewis & Norwood Flyers. The team was assembled by the
owner of American National, William L. Moody III, who built a team of
veteran AAU players guided by a superlative coach,
Sam F. Babb, who had built national AAU championship teams in 1932
and 1933 with the
Oklahoma Presbyterian College Cardinals.
No women from Galveston were on the team. The star of the Anicos was
Frances Williams, who had
previous experience for teams from Fort Worth, Oklahoma City,
Holdenville, and El Dorado, making the AAU All American (tournament all
star) team in both 1935 and 1936. Another top player he recruited was
Nora Cain, who was an AAU All American in 1936 for the Tulsa team. The
Anicos did well in the tournament, beating the great Tulsa Stenos in the
semi-finals, but losing the title game to the
Little Rock Lewis & Norwood Flyers, 17-10. Williams won the Most
Valuable Player honor and Cain joined her as first team All American.
The Anicos came into the 1938 tournament undefeated, and because of
their reputation and black uniforms, they became known as the “black
threat.” The tournament was a low-scoring affair, the Anicos winning the
championship by beating the Wichita Thurstons 13-8. Three Anicos made
the first team All American team—-Williams, Cain, and Lillian Justice.
They finished the season with a 29-0 record.
The Anicos, boasting the talents of Lottie Jackson (“America’s greatest
girl basketball player”) easily repeated as champions in 1939, beating
the Little Rock Flyers 21-8 in the title game. Again Galveston earned
three positions on the All American squad—Williams, Jackson, and Glennis
The Anicos came into the 1940 tournament as the top seed, but were upset
in the semi-final by Nashville Business College (NBC), dubbed the
“Nabucos” by sportswriters. On the NBC team was an up and coming star,
Alline Banks. No Anicos made the first team All American team, the
women of Galveston had passed the torch to new powers in women’s
championship 1939 team gets a New York Times item
Submitted by Martin
"Sonny" Cox, EHS basketball player, trackman, band member, and 1957
graduate on behalf of the Cox family.