Dew Drop Rowlett

Dew Drop Brumley earned All-American honors with the Tupelo Red Wings in the 1930s. She was a standout at IAHS during her prep career.

Dew Drop Brumley Rowlett was already a legend before her playing days on the hardwood were complete.

Rowlett was a force on the Itawamba Agricultural High School’s girls basketball team in the late 1920s. She helped lay the groundwork for the program to become one of the most successful teams in the country during the late ‘30s. By that time, she was coaching at Murray High School in Murray, Kentucky.

After a highly successful playing career at IAHS, Freed-Hardeman College, Murray State and AAU ball, Rowlett spent the rest of her life as a coach and advocate for women’s sports.

Even the name she went by, “Dew Drop,” came about during her high school days, according to Rowlett herself. In interviews over the years, she said fans would yell “do drop it in” wanting her to score. Folks started calling her “Dew Drop,” and the name stuck.

Rowlett began her collegiate career at Freed-Hardeman College from 1930 to 32, where she was named to the Mississippi Valley Conference all-tournament team in 1930, 1931 and 1932. She was named tournament most valuable player in back-to-backs years beginning in 1931.

Rowlett then joined the team at Murray State University, where she proved almost impossible to guard. In those days, it wasn’t unusual for a team to score a low number of points in a game and win. Rowlett often scored that many points, at least on her own. According to reports, she averaged 22 points a game and even scored 45 against the University of Louisville in her only season of play. Murray State didn’t field a woman’s team again until 1970. If the numbers from that era were recognized, she would be No. 2 all-time on the most points in a single game list.

Rowlett also played softball and tennis for the Racers until she graduated.

While at Murray State, Rowlett also played for the Red Wings, an Amateur Athletic Union {AAU} team based in Tupelo. Rowlett, her sister, and Margaret Wade, the woman who led Delta State to three state national titles, were all on the team. All three played important roles in the growth of women’s sports.

The 1934 Red Wings advanced to the national AAU tournament that season. Rowlett played outstanding basketball for a team that went 30-3-1, earning All-Southern and All-American honors. At this time, it was the equivalent of today’s All-American honors. Women’s sports at the collegiate level were in the early days on the long road to get college athletic programs to include women’s sports.

Rowlett began a 30-year teaching and coaching career at Murray High School in 1936, where she coached tennis and track and field.

She made the move to coaching at the college level in 1965 coaching tennis. In 1971, she began a stint as the head coach of the newly re-established Racers before returning to Freed-Hardeman to re-establish their women’s program where she was named the Volunteer State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1980. She retired in 1981 back to her home in Kentucky to golf.

Rowlett is recognized as a founder of the Kentucky Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

In 1985, Rowlett became the first woman selected to the Freed-Hardeman Athletic Hall of Fame. Her sister joined her a year later. In 1993, Rowlett was inducted into the Murray State University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Rowlett’s numbers on the court were impressive, but her lifelong work in promoting opportunities for women and girls in sports is her lasting legacy.

Twitter: @abbyloden

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