Alumni Profile: Bettye Wallace, Class of 1950

Bettye Wallace

Bettye Wallace is a familiar name for generations of Reddies. She had a long career at Henderson as a tennis player, teacher, and coach.

Wallace received the ‘H’ Award for her meritorious service to Henderson, and she was inducted into the Reddie Hall of Honor in 1997. She was recognized statewide by being inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in April 2018.

On Oct. 22, Wallace celebrated her 90th birthday, and in true “Bettye’s Reddies” fashion, team members from far and near came together to celebrate. This group gets together twice a year and always makes a point to watch a volleyball match together.

They are truly like a family that Henderson brought together many years ago, and the bond held by Bettye’s Reddies truly embodies the Reddie Spirit. Wallace recently shared memories of her time at Henderson and how it shaped her life.

When did you graduate, and what was your major?

I majored in math, and I played tennis. I graduated May 28, 1950.

Why did you choose Henderson?

It was the closest school to home.

Who were your best friends while attending Henderson, and are you still friends with them today?

I had many. They include Sue Smith, Jo Dean, Michae Caristonis, Rita Lynn Evonson, Betty Hale, and Patsy Alexander. The only one I am still in touch with is Jo Dean Chamless.

Who were your favorite professors?

Dr. Hyman taught math, and was the head of the department my freshman year, and Mary Lee Foster also taught me math.

What exactly were your occupations?

I worked at Henderson for 24 and a half years. I started by teaching physical education until Duke Wells asked me to take over the tennis program, in addition to my teaching duties. I only had four girls who went out for tennis that first year. I eventually had up to 18 join the team who practiced even though they didn’t get to play competitively.

I then started the volleyball program in 1965. Before my time at Henderson, I coached basketball in Murfreesboro for one year, taught math for Rison High School Year for three years, followed by teaching physical education for Malvern High School for nine years.

How did Henderson prepare you for your career?

All of my classes and the professors helped prepare me.

What is your favorite memory of Henderson?

The fun time in the dorm.

When’s the last time you have been on the Henderson campus?

I was just on campus on Monday. I attend nearly all sporting and alumni events, and I often go to plays and music concerts.

What other job do you think you’d be really good at?

I think I would be a good tour guide. Before Google, if a friend was going on a trip, I would get maps out and see what the best route would be to go. I have done this for quite a bit of people.

How do you relax after a hard day?

I relax in my recliner.

Who do you or did you admire the most, and why?

My 10ht grade homeroom teacher was Mrs. Brooks who inspired me to study and make A’s.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Go to Alaska because of the scenery.

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
To accept getting old and not be able to do the things I used to do.

What are three interesting facts about you?

I spend my summers in Colorado. After I retired I walked the distance around the world. It took me 20 years. I majored in math, but I spent most of my time teaching P.E.

If your life was a book, what would its title be?

Do Your Best

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be?

Be yourself.