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Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame has five new members

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WILMINGTON -- The greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame has five new members. They were inducted Sunday night during a ceremony at the Hilton Riverside. Coaches Bill Brooks, Jap Davis and Jack Holley and former Major League pitcher Tommy Greene and friends of late tennis great Althea Gibson talked about the glory days for these local legends -- glory days that heard them a high honor. All it takes is a trip to UNCW's baseball stadium to see the impact Bill Brooks made on campus. After all, the ballpark bears his name. As does the Colonial Athletic Association's Baseball Player of the Year award. Brooks led Seahawks sports into the CAA and NCAA after coaching the baseball team to National Junior College championships in 1961 and 1963. In 1990 he was inducted into the National JUCO College Baseball coaches' Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Sports Hall in 1993. Jap Davis was a member of Wallace Wade's Iron Dukes that played in the 1939 Rose Bowl. He passed on a chance in the NFL to go into coaching. After serving in World War II he came to New Hanover High School in 1946, assisting his old high school coach Leon Brogden. He later coached the Cats' football, wrestling, tennis and golf teams. The school named its field house after him in 1997. Davis, Brooks and Brogden all coached a young man named Jack Holley over the years. He played on championship football, baseball and basketball teams at New Hanover High in the '50s. But he's perhaps best known for his state record 380 wins in 44 years on the high school gridiron, currently at Wallace-Rose Hill. Tommy Greene played baseball at Whiteville High School and eventually made it to the major leagues. He was a throw-in in the deal that sent Braves legend Dale Murphy to Philadelphia in 1990. A season later he proved his worth. Greene pitched a no-hit, no-run game even making the final out himself. He also helped lead the Phillies to the 1993 World Series, starting the year eight-and-zero with five straight complete games. The late Althea Gibson not only made her mark on the sports world, but the world in general. She came to Wilmington in 1946 to work on her tennis game. She went on to be the first African-American to win titles at Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Doubles and the US Open. In 1957 she was the first black to be voted Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year. She won it again in 1958. She also played professional golf. Nearly four years after her death the Althea Gibson Foundation continues her legacy, helping urban youth develop their skills in tennis and golf.