William J. “Bill” Brooks is widely credited with the establishment of the athletic program at UNCW, taking the Seahawks from their early junior college beginnings to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and finally, to NCAA Division I status. One of his major accomplishments came in 1985 when UNCW was invited to become a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
A native of Wilson, N.C., Brooks began his career at Wilmington College in September of 1951 as athletic director, basketball coach, baseball coach and chairman of the Health and Physical Education department. He directed the Seahawks to a pair of National Junior College Baseball Championships in 1961 and 1963 and also took the basketball team to the national tournament.
In 1975 he was named NAIA Coach-of-the-Year and was inducted into the National Junior College Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1990.
Brooks became the first individual associated with UNC Wilmington to be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.