On Sunday, April 30th , the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame will welcome the 2017 inductees into membership at their annual banquet at the Burney Center on the campus of UNCW. The Reception and Silent Auction will begin at 5:00 pm followed by the induction ceremony and dinner at 6:30 pm. The annual golf tournament will be held at Cape Fear National in Brunswick County on Saturday, April 29th .
The GWSHOF was formed in 2005 in order to honor those who have brought recognition to the Greater Wilmington area and themselves, by their excellence in the world of sports. Past inductees include Leon Brogden, Roman Gabriel, Wayne Jackson, Sonny Jurgensen and Meadowlark Lemon (2006 Class); Bill Brooks, Jap Davis, Tommy Green, Althea Gibson and Jack Holley (2007 Class); Buck Hardee, Clyde Simmons, Cathy Johnston Forbes, Hoss Ellington and Wray Carlton (2008 Class); E. A. "Spike" Corbin, Chester McGlockton, George Rountree III, Brian M. Rowsom, and Helen Grey Smith (2009 Class), Ben Bourgeois, Terry Holland, Joe Miller and Sherriedale Morgan (posthumously) (2010 Class), Sheila Boles, Bill Dooley, David Esposito and Wilver Dornel Stargell “Pops” (posthumously) (2011 Class), Dr. James Dineen, M.D., Isaac B. (Ike) Grainger (posthumously), Christopher Trot Nixon and Lendward (Lenny) Simpson (2012 Class), Kenny Gattison, Thell Overman (Posthumously), Martin “Glenn” Sasser and Maggie Will (2013 Class) and Ricky James Benton, Bob Boyd (Posthumously), Alge Crumpler and Calvin Lane (2014 Class), Chuck Carree, Mel Gibson, Jim Hebbe and Jim Moore (2015 Class). Last year’s class of 2016 included Gwen Austin, John Bunting, Larry Honeycutt and Charlie “Barrell” Niven (posthumously).
The 2017 slate of inductees are as follows:
Dave Allen, the founding father and architect of UNCW’s swimming and diving program announced his retirement on March 13, 2015. Allen coached 44 years at 3 different institutions and stepped down on June 30, 2014.
Allen, led the UNCW men’s team to an unprecedented 13th consecutive Colonial Athletic Association championship in College Park, MD in 2013-14. He also coached the UNCW women to three championships, including back-to- back crowns in 1998 and 1999 and the 1997 and 1998 ECAC crowns.
Allen originated the program in 1977-78 and directed the Seahawks to a combined 16 conference championships, 13 on the men’s side and three for the women, along with a pair of Eastern titles.
The ultra-successful mentor was named CAA Coach-of- the-Year 15 times, including 5 for women and 10 for men.
A native of Rochester, N. Y., Allen accumulated 542 dual meet wins at three institutions. Prior to UNCW where he had a record of 494-356 in 37 seasons, he coached one season at Allegheny (4-7) and then six at Postsdam State (44-26).
In 1978 Allen and his wife Ellen started the “Seahawk Swim School”, a learn-to- swim program for youngsters ages 3-12. It still operates to this day and has taught thousands of youngsters in the Wilmington and surrounding areas how to swim.
Allen was honored in 1987 when he was selected to represent the United States government in a five- week tour of the Mideast. He presented clinics and seminars in Turkey through the U. S. Information Service’s Sports America program.
Allen’s student-athletes have also enjoyed great success in the classroom. Eight swimmers captured the Chancellor’s Cup, the school’s highest academic honor for athletes and six of his swimmers have been inducted into the UNCW Athletic Hall of Fame.
Allen and his wife, Ellen, have three children, Matt, Brian and Stephanie, who each attended UNCW and competed on the swim teams. They have five grandchildren, Collin, Hudson, Rowan, Bryson and Abigail.
DR. HUBERT A. EATON, Sr. (Posthumously)
In 1932, at the age of 15, Eaton was the first African American to win the North Carolina Interscholastic Tennis Championship. In 1933, he won the Boys 18 ATA National Championship. He became the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association (which is now called the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association or “CIAA”) Singles Champion in 1936. Eaton and George Stewart won the ATA Men’s Doubles Championship in 1848, 1949, 1951 and 1946. In 1046 Dr. Eaton took Althea Gibson into his home. He provided tennis instruction on his home tennis court and, along with Dr. Robert Johnson, directed her early ATA career. Eaton was a successful ATA President during a critical period in the organizations’ development. He served in this role from 1960 to 1970 and helped the organization maintain relevance at a time when tennis was becoming integrated.
Eaton was an excellent student. He graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in 1937 and wanted to go to medical school in North Carolina to continue his education. Unfortunately, African Americans were not admitted to any of North Carolina’s medical schools. He therefore attended the University of Michigan and earned his M.D. in 1942. Eaton actively fought for integration both on and off of the tennis court. In his native Wilmington, NC, Dr. Eaton led efforts to desegregate Wilmington College (forerunner of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington), the YMCA, the Municipal Golf Course and the County Library System.
He served on the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, serving as chairman in 1981. Dr. Eaton ran for a seat on the New Hanover County Board of Education in 1952, 1954 and 1956. He lost those races but made history by becoming the first African American to run for public office in New Hanover County since the 1890’s. Dr. Eaton was a leading local civil rights activist and sued New Hanover County to provide equal funding for black public schools. In 1984, Eaton was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a tremendous tennis player and outstanding leader. And in 2013 he and Wilmington native Lenny Simpson were inducted into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame.
BRUCE LEE FLEISHER
Bruce Lee Fleisher was born on October 16, 1948, in Union City, Tennessee. In 1950 the Fleisher family moved to Wilmington, NC where Bruce began playing golf with his brothers, Leslie and Jerry. At Wilmington’s Pine Valley Country club he “learned the golf swing and how to play the game: with the help of Assistant Pro, Henry Atkinson.
When Bruce was 14, the Fleisher’s moved to Miami. Already a good golfer, Bruce enrolled at Miami- Dade Junior College and joined the golf team. While attending Miami-Dade in 1968, Bruce became the third youngest player to win the US Amateur when, at age 19, he defeated Vinnie Giles in the finals at Scioto Country Club.
In 1969 Bruce turned pro and went on to have an outstanding professional career on the PGA tour. In his early years on tour he had some success, but most of his top 10 finishes came in his last eight years on tour. Between 1991 and 1998, Bruce had 35 top 25 finishes, 14 top 10 finishes, and a win in 1991 at the New England Classic.
In 1999 he joined the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour) and went on to win 18 tournaments, including the 2001 US Senior Open. He was the first player ever to win back to back victories in his first two Champions Tour Events and won the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards in 1999.
In July of 1991, Bruce received a letter from the great Gary Player….. “Congrats on your brilliant win lately. I saw it on TV and felt quite choked for you. Golf is a great game and this win of yours did a lot for the game. It also gave encouragement to many people.”
Bruce now spends his summers in Asheville, NC, and his winters in North Palm Beach, Florida.
Quinton Antoine McCracken (born August 16, 1970) is a former professional baseball outfielder. He played twelve seasons in Major League Baseball, and was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays franchise’s first center fielder and batter on March 31, 1998.
McCracken attended South Brunswick High School and was the starting running back and the free safety in football, the starting point guard in basketball, in addition to being a baseball stand and track standout. In baseball, as a senior, he led his team to a 29-0 record and the state Championship. South Brunswick finished the baseball season that year ranked #5 among national high school baseball teams in 1988.
After graduating from Duke University, McCracken was selected by the Colorado Rockies in their inaugural draft in 1992; in three games, he struck out in his only at bat. In 1996, he played mostly center field, batting .290 in 283 at bats. In 1997, he stole a career-high 28 bases and increased his batting average to .292.
McCracken was drafted by the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays on November 18,1997, as their 4th pick in the 1997 Major League Baseball expansion draft, to be their starting center fielder for 1998. Playing in a career-high 155 games, McCracken has his best-ever season, batting .292 with 7 home runs, 59 RBI’s, and was named the Devil Rays first-ever most valuable player.
He became a free agent in 2001 and in January, 2002 signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He spent the entire season with the major league club, hitting .309 as the Diamondbacks won the NL West. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2003, released and two days later resigned with Arizona. McCracken underwent a few other team changes then signed on to play independent ball. In late 2007 he retired.
McCracken was named Assistant Director of Player Development for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 and in 2012 he was hired as Director of Player Development for the Houston Astros.
Quinton married Maggie Moskal in 2005. The couple have a son Isaiah Cicero bone in 2008. Maggie is a cast member of VH-1s Baseball Wives.
This year’s emcee will be DAVID GLENN… some might call him the encyclopedia of ACC Sports but at ESPN radio they just call him Dave G. David serves as host of 99.9FM The Fan weekdays from Noon-3pm but also is Editor/Writer for the ACC Area Sports Journal and ACCsports.com.
Growing up in Philly, David was exposed to sports at an early age. “Philly is a sports town to its core,” says David. On David Glenn’s show, listeners are encouraged to share their opinions and speak out for or against other caller comments. He has an extensive sports devotion including the obvious (college basketball, college football, NHL, NFL, MLB) and not so obvious (wrestling, only with mud). He is one of the authorities on all things ACC.
For more information on the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame and ticket information for this year’s event, go to www.gwshof.com; email address firstname.lastname@example.org or call (910) 795-1224. For more information on the golf tournament contact Sheila Boles at email@example.com or Joe Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.