ECU adds five to Athletics Hall of Fame

Published: Jul. 30, 2019 at 3:22 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Four former student-athletes and renowned director of athletics Dave Hart have been elected to the ECU Athletics Hall of Fame and will be enshrined at a ceremony Friday, Nov. 1, at Harvey Hall inside the Murphy Center.

In addition to Hart, other 2019 inductees include All-CAA women's basketball forward Tomekia Blackmon, placekicker and golfer Kevin Miller, all-conference pitcher Sam Narron and all-time leading rusher Junior Smith.

The inductees will be recognized publicly inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium as part of the halftime festivities during the Nov. 2 football game against Cincinnati.

Hart, who currently serves as special assistant to the chancellor for athletics, initially joined the ECU staff as assistant athletics director for marketing in 1983 and was credited for implementing the "Great Pirate Purple/Gold Pigskin Pigout Party." He was elevated to associate athletics director for external relations and Pirate Club director in 1985, helping the organization surpass the $1 million contribution mark for the first time. Two years later he was named director of athletics and served in that role until 1995.

Hart led ECU's athletic resurgence in the 1990s as the Pirates finished with a Top-10 national ranking in football, played in two bowl games, made the NCAA Tournament in men's basketball and captured 11 additional non-revenue sports conference championships. He also directed efforts that increased the athletics budget to over $8.5 million and its endowment to over $2 million. Women's soccer and women's indoor track and field were added as intercollegiate sports under his supervision and the student development program was structured. Hart also oversaw the transformation of Minges Coliseum from its original state into a modern arena.

Blackmon was a four-year letterwinner (1992-96) for coaches Rosie Thompson and Anne Donovan, and a two-time second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) player. Despite being plagued by knee injuries, Blackmon finished her career ranked seventh on the school's all-time scoring list with more than 1,200 points. She was twice voted as the Pirates' Most Valuable Player (MVP) and led the team in scoring as a sophomore and junior after being named to the All-CAA Rookie team as a freshman. She completed her career as the program's all-time leader with a 53.4 field goal percentage.

Miller excelled both on the gridiron and the links. A four-year (1999-02) football letterman, he graduated as the program's all-time leading scorer with 287 points. He earned Freshman All-America and All-Conference USA honors as a placekicker in 1999 before receiving second-team all-league accolades in 2001. He owns ECU records for most consecutive games with a made field goal (12) and kicking points in a game (19 vs. Marshall, 12/19/01). He earned two letters as a member of the men's golf team and served as interim head coach during the 2006 spring semester

Narron pitched three seasons (2000-02) for the Pirates before leaving school early to pursue a professional baseball career. He compiled a 26-7 record with a 2.75 ERA in 45 appearances, finishing seventh all-time in wins. As a sophomore, he matched the ECU single-season record for victories with 12 and was named First-Team All-CAA and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-East Region. The following season he was named Second-Team All-Conference USA to become just one of three players in school history to earn all-conference honors in two different leagues. He was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American.

Smith is the Pirates' all-time leading rusher with 3,745 yards. He was a three-time honorable mention All-America selection and First-Team All-South Independent Team choice. He rushed for over 100 yards in a game 16 times, running for more than 200 yards in a pair of contests. He's the only player in school history to author three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. As a senior, he led the Pirates to the Liberty Bowl Alliance championship and was named Co-Offensive Player-of-the-Year. Smith was also honored as the recipient of the 1994 St. Jude Liberty Bowl Scholar-Athlete Award.

The five new inductees will bring the total membership in the ECU Athletics Hall of Fame to 172. The original ECU Athletics Hall of Fame was initiated in 1974 as an organization to honor those individuals who have, by direct participation in ECU intercollegiate athletics, brought outstanding recognition to themselves and the University.

An interactive video listing and capsules of the entire Hall of Fame membership is located inside the lobby of the Smith-Williams Center, which opened in 2013. Photos of all Hall of Fame members are now on permanent display and the 2019 enshrined class will be added to the display for the Nov. 1-2 weekend.