This week in UNCW sports history: Bill Brooks

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This week in UNCW sports history: Bill Brooks

Collin Underwood, Staff Writer

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With the university celebrating its 70th anniversary and homecoming this Saturday, Feb. 10, The Seahawk looked back at the origins of the UNC Wilmington athletic program and its founding father: Bill Brooks.

William Jasper “Bill” Brooks was hired by UNC Wilmington, then Wilmington College, in 1951 as the school’s athletic director, basketball coach, baseball coach and chairman of the health and physical education department.

Early on in his tenure, Brooks held all four positions simultaneously. Brooks served as head basketball coach for 21 years, head baseball coach for 27 years, and athletic director for 40 years.

Coach Brooks showed some success as the head basketball coach, leading the Seahawks to multiple junior college postseason appearances, but his major coaching success came as the leader of the UNCW baseball program.

On the diamond, Brooks led the Seahawks to a pair of junior college baseball championships in 1961 and 1963. Brooks’s success landed him the honor of NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) National Coach of the Year in 1975 and a spot in the National Junior College Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1990.

The legend’s success at UNCW also warranted the university honor him in naming the baseball team’s stadium after Brooks.

On top of being a hall-of-fame coach, Brooks made monumental strides as UNCW’s athletic director that still impact the school today. In 1978, Brooks elevated the university to the NCAA Division-I level as an independent program after 27 years as a junior college program.

After seven years of being an independent participant free of conference play, Brooks landed his program a spot in the ECAC South Conference – now the Colonial Athletic Association that UNCW participates in today.

Other accolades awarded to Brooks include becoming the first individual associated with UNCW inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (1991) and an induction into the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame (2007) shortly before his death in 2010.

When students celebrate UNC Wilmington’s 70th anniversary this week at the homecoming Teal Gate and basketball game, they remember and cherish the timeless influence of Seahawk legend Bill Brooks.

Contributing Writer Collin Underwood can be found on Twitter @tweetnUnderWood. Any tips or suggestion should be forwarded via email to For video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.