UNCW swim coach, tennis pioneer, former big leaguer highlight 2017 Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame inductees

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WILMINGTON – Membership to the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame (GWSHOF) will eclipse the 50-mark when four new inductees are enshrined as part of the Class of 2017.

Standing alongside GWSHOF board members, Chairman Jon Rosborough announced the 2017 class during a Friday news conference at Wilmington International Airport. A three-day celebration will culminate with the official banquet set for Sunday, April 30, at the Burney Center on the campus of UNC-Wilmington.

The Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame will add to its display at the Wilmington International Airport.
The Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame will add to its display at the Wilmington International Airport. 

Statewide syndicated sports radio talk show host David Glenn will emcee the event, which begins with a reception and silent auction at 5 p.m. followed by the induction ceremony and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The annual Joe Miller Golf Tournament will be held at Cape Fear National at Brunswick Forest on Saturday, April 29.

“Bill Dooley, who passed away this past year  came up with this idea in 2005 and it’s hard to believe we’ve filled up our wall of fame with some many great people who have made an impact in this community,” Rosborough said. “We have four new inductees for the 2017 class and they include Dave Allen, Dr. Hubert Eaton (posthumously), Bruce Fleisher and Quinton McCracken.”

Dave Allen

Dave Allen was one of the most respected swimming and diving coaches in the NCAA Division I ranks.
Dave Allen was one of the most respected swimming and diving coaches in the NCAA Division I ranks.

Allen was the founding father of the swimming and diving program at UNC-Wilmington. With his retirement in 2015, Allen concluded a 44 year coaching career. After getting the program going on campus in 1977-78, he directed the Seahawks to a combined 16 conference championships. Allen was a 15-time Colonial Athletic Association Coach the Year.

Dr. Hubert Eaton

Dr. Eaton was a pioneer in tennis as the first African American to win the North Carolina Interscholastic Tennis Championship. The tennis player and later instructor played an integral part in developing the professional careers of Wilmington icons Althea Gibson and Lenny Simpson.

Eaton served on the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and was a leading civil rights activist.

Bruce Fleisher  

Bruce Fleisher. Photo courtesy- @FleisherGolf
Bruce Fleisher. (Photo courtesy of @FleisherGolf)

A native of Tennessee, Fleisher moved to Wilmington with his family at the age of two and quickly developed a passion for the game of golf. As a member of the Miami-Dade Junior College Golf Team, Fleisher became the third youngest player to win the U.S. Amateur at age 19.

He later joined the PGA and then the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour) in 1999. He claimed the 2001 U.S. Senior Open Championship.

Quinton McCracken

McCrackin played 12 seasons in Major League Baseball and currently works as director of player personnel for the Houston Astros. The Brunswick County standout was a four-sport athlete at South Brunswick High School.

He led the Cougars to a state championship and graduated from Duke University. After being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 1992, McCracken was selected by the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the clubs fourth pick in the MLB expansion draft. He later became the first ever hitter to step to the plate in Rays franchise history.

Quinton McCracker was named Director of Player Personnel for the Houston Astros in 2015. Photo courtesy- Houston Astros.
Quinton McCracker was named Director of Player Personnel for the Houston Astros in 2015. (Photo courtesy of Houston Astros)

More than 40 area students have also benefited from the induction ceremony each year as part of GWSHOF Bill Dooley Scholarship Program. Each year the GWSHOF awards scholarships in recognition of each of its inductees into the Hall of Fame. The scholarship is in the amount of $2,000 and awarded to a high school selected by each inductee.

In the Hall of Fames mission to give recognition while providing money for education, GWSHOF also announced plans to extend its display at the Wilmington International Airport. The wall of fame will have a section completely dedicated to its scholarship recipients located adjacent to the plaques of its inductees.

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