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Brett Blizzard headlines 2020 UNCW Athletic HOF Class
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Seahawk Nation 08 Offline
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Brett Blizzard headlines 2020 UNCW Athletic HOF Class

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UNCW Inducting Four Into Hall of Fame

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Swimming and diving program founder Dave Allen, longtime supporter Jim Ballantine, men's basketball icon Brett Blizzard and women's basketball standout Sharon McDowell will be honored at the 13th induction of the UNCW Athletic Hall of Fame in mid-February.

The addition of the four individuals will increase the group's elite membership to 52 overall since the inaugural event occurred in 1998.

A reception will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at 11 a.m. in the Warwick Center, with the luncheon ceremony following at noon. Tickets are $25 each and may be purchased on-line at UNCWSports.com or in the Athletic Ticket Office in Trask Coliseum.

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Dave Allen

Allen's name continues to be synonymous with the UNCW swimming and diving program following a 36-year career chock full of accomplishments. After coaching briefly at Allegany College and Potsdam (N.Y.) State for six years, he established the UNCW program in 1977-78 and it flourished.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., he coached the men's and women's teams to a combined 16 conference championships, including 13 on the men's side and three for the women, along with a pair of Eastern titles.

Allen led the men to an unprecedented streak of 13 consecutive Colonial Athletic Association men's titles from 2002-14 and also coached the women to three championships, including back-to-back crowns in 1998 and 1999, and the 1997 and 1988 ECAC titles.

Allen racked up 15 CAA Coach of the Year honors – 10 as the league's top men's coach and five for his success with the women's program.

During his storied career, Allen had six Seahawk swimmers compete in the NCAA Championships and numerous student-athletes earn All-CAA honors and other major recognition. Butterflyer Sam O'Leary became the school's first NCAA Division I All-American in 1982 and 10 years later, sprinter Dan Gallagher raced to a fourth place finish in the 50 Freestyle. Diver Dean Berman competed in the NCAA's in 2006 and Caitlin Kirsteier (2010), Rob Anderson (2010) and Carly Tanner (2013) competed in the NCAA meet as well.

Overall, Allen coached his teams at three institutions to 542 dual meet victories. In 36 seasons at the helm, Allen coached 15 All-Americans, 155 conference champions and 19 Eastern winners.

Allen's career with the Seahawks extended beyond the pool. Eight of his swimmers captured the Chancellor's Cup, the school's highest academic honor for student-athletes and Steve Hewins became the first UNCW student-athlete to earn a CAA post-graduate scholarship.

Allen joins eight of his protégés already enshrined. O'Leary (1998), Gallagher (2010), Dean Berman (2014), Burak Erdem (2002), Amy Lewis Holland (2006), Janet Johnson (1998), Kate Milling Kling (2018) and Adrienne Sutton (2014) have been previously honored.

Allen is already a member of two elite groups. He was inducted into the Potsdam State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

Jim Ballantine

A tireless behind-the-scenes worker since the early days of the Seahawk Club, Jim Ballantine's contributions to the program have been critical as the program continues to prosper on the NCAA Division I level.

James Clinton Ballantine grew up in North Dakota, where ice hockey was his favorite sport. A 1963 graduate of the University of North Dakota, the avid outdoorsman made his way to Wilmington and served as Executive Vice-President for Miller Building Corporation.

While in Wilmington, Ballantine was active in many civic and church organizations and found time to devote to UNCW's budding program. He served on the board for the Watson School of Education, the UNCW Board of Visitors and, fortunately for UNCW Athletics, the Seahawk Club.

Ballantine served as secretary, treasurer, vice-president and president of the Seahawk Club and was honored in 2002 with the prestigious William J. Brooks Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the department.

Ballantine joins a group of seven benefactors in the Hall of Fame. The list includes George Rountree III, George Diab, T. Eugene Dew, Estell Lee, Dr. William P. Nixon, Raiford G. Trask, Sr., and David Jones.

Brett Blizzard

When it comes to impact players in their sport, few can match what basketball great Brett Blizzard accomplished during his spectacular career with the Seahawks from 1999-03.

The popular player from Tallahassee, Fla., started all 125 games in his storied four-year career with the Seahawks and left with a basket full of school records unmatched by any player in the school's history. He remains the Seahawks' all-time scoring leader with more than 2,000 points and ranks among the top performers in several other statistical categories, including first in steals and minutes played.

A durable, all-around guard with tremendous basketball instincts, he closed out his career with 2,144 points, 493 rebounds and 360 assists, averaging double figures in each of his four seasons for Head Coach Jerry Wainwright.

Blizzard brought out the best in his teammates. With the Floridian leading the way, the Seahawks captured their first CAA championship in his freshman season in 2000 and landed two more NCAA berths in 2002 and 2003. Coupled with an NIT bid in 2001, the Seahawks reached the postseason in each of his four years in the program.

Blizzard is widely considered one of the top performers in CAA history. He is the only player in the league to earn First-Team All-CAA and All-CAA Tournament honors four straight years. Moreover, he was named CAA Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003 and earned CAA Tournament MVP honors in 2000, 2002 and 2003.

He went on to enjoy a successful 16-year professional career in Italy, where he led Jesi to the Italian League Championship in 2004 and Virtus Bologna to the Euro Challenge Cup crown in 2008.

Sharon McDowell

With a high motor complemented by a powerful game in the paint area, Sharon McDowell carved out an outstanding four-year career with the Seahawk women's basketball team from 1984-88.

The Elizabethtown, N.C., native started 75 of 96 appearances with the Seahawks, averaging a double-double as a junior and senior and racking up 37 wins on the hardwood over the two-year span. She finished her career with 1,125 points and 806 rebounds.

McDowell led the nation in field goal percentage during the 1986-87 season, connecting on 67.7 percent of her attempts, and closed out her career with an outstanding 60.9 percent clip.

Following her playing career, McDowell taught Health and Physical Education in the Bladen County school system for 30 years, coaching basketball, volleyball and softball. She served as the athletic director at East Arcadia Middle School in Riegelwood, N.C., for 25 years.

McDowell, who currently teaches part-time at Paul Brown Leadership Academy in Elizabethtown, N.C., earned her B.A. Degree in Education from UNCW in 1988.
11-20-2019 05:02 PM
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billthebighawksfan Offline
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RE: Brett Blizzard headlines 2020 UNCW Athletic HOF Class
There’s one number that Seahawks will never forget and that is #11.
11-21-2019 08:10 AM
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Proff Offline
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Brett Blizzard headlines 2020 UNCW Athletic HOF Class
Glad that Dave Allen is getting recognized for his work for the swimming programs. Almost unbelievable coaching record.

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11-21-2019 08:37 AM
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Seahawkhoops Offline

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RE: Brett Blizzard headlines 2020 UNCW Athletic HOF Class
(11-21-2019 08:10 AM)billthebighawksfan Wrote:  There’s one number that Seahawks will never forget and that is #11.
That is the time i got attached to Seahawk sports
11-21-2019 09:43 AM
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