During a ceremony in BC’s Dome Gymnasium as part of Homecoming 2015, the college paid tribute to the legacies of the most prolific men’s basketball and baseball coach in school history, Mark Blevins, and three of his former men’s basketball players, Dan Brown (’85), Howard Mayo (’88), and Lamont Woods (’92).
A coach for men’s basketball and baseball from 1984 to 1992, Coach Blevins led Bluefield College through what some refer to as the “Golden Era of Rams Athletics.” In fact, his BC basketball teams are still today the winningest teams in school history (201-126). They finished in the National Final Four five times, reaching the championship game three years in compiling a 14-6 National Tournament record. They also won 130 games, more than any other basketball team in the state of Virginia, from 1984 to 1989.
Coach Blevins’ BC teams also annually played NCAA Division I squads, such as George Mason University, several Southern Conference and several Big South Conference schools. In addition, he coached the Small College All-American Team each of his three runner-up seasons, competing throughout Western Europe, Scandinavia, the Soviet Union, New Zealand, and Australia.
Under Coach Blevins’ leadership, both basketball and baseball programs at Bluefield College secured the school’s first NCAA Division I wins. His baseball teams lost the National Championship in 1990 and won the Tennessee-Virginia Athletic Conference (TVAC) championship in 1991 over programs like Carson Newman College, Lincoln Memorial University, King College, and Tusculum College, becoming the area’s first 40-game winner. That same 1991 baseball team lost the District 24 Tournament to David Lipscomb University, 8-3, with Lipscomb advancing to the National Tournament.
Coach Blevins spearheaded Bluefield College’s move into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). He also selected District 24 and helped initiate the development of the Tennessee-Virginia Athletic Conference (TVAC), which BC made its athletics home. He also brought the first foreign teams, Czech National and Finland, to BC’s Dome Gymnasium and signed the first foreign players into both programs from Canada, the Caribbean, and Western Europe. In addition to coaching and building the foundation of Bluefield College athletics in the NAIA and TVAC, he was a full-time assistant professor in the BC classroom.
In accepting his award, Coach Blevins recalled the generosity of the late Katharine B. Tierney, a strong supporter of BC basketball in the 1980s and 1990s. He also named members of the BC faculty and staff who supported his teams during that time. In addition, he named each of the players from his basketball and baseball teams and thanked them for making his induction into the Sports Hall of Fame possible.
“I want to give the credit to the people who deserve it,” Coach Blevins said. “Bluefield College did a lot for me. It gave me the greatest opportunity to be around the greatest men to walk the face of the earth.”
After Bluefield, Coach Blevins took his talents to Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he has been an award-winning history teacher and the winningest softball coach in Bearden history, retiring with a 256-127 record and three district titles. His basketball teams at Bearden have averaged 28 wins per season — 580-145 overall — over the past 21 seasons, becoming recognized as one of the few Nike Elite Basketball Programs in America over the past nine seasons. In addition, his teams have won 22 district titles and played in 18 Sub-state State Tournaments. In fact, in his 22nd year as head coach at Bearden, Coach Blevins is the winningest basketball coach in school history. Overall he has 828 varsity basketball wins.
Joining Coach Blevins in the Class of 2015 Sports Hall of Fame were three of his former men’s basketball players at Bluefield: Brown, Mayo and Woods. A men’s basketball player from 1980 to 1984, Brown served as caption of the team in ’83 and ’84 while averaging a double-double in points and assists. In 1984, he led the Rams to the National Little College Athletic Association (NLCAA) National Tournament before finishing his career with more than 1,000 points scored.
As an assistant coach, Brown helped lead the ’85 squad to the NLCAA National Tournament where they finished the season as the NLCAA National runner-up. Since BC, he has coached boys’ and girls’ basketball at Warwick and Heritage high schools in Virginia. More importantly, he is the owner of the Guiding Young Girls Mental Health Agency in Virginia, which provides support to families dealing with children with behavioral issues.
“I don’t know what to say to express how grateful I am for this award,” said Brown. “I never thought this day would come. I loved being a part of Bluefield College. It was an important time in my life. Basketball at Bluefield College was like a family to me. What I am today would not have happened had I not come to Bluefield College.”
Mayo was a standout player on four National Little College Athletic Association (NLCAA) National Tournament men’s basketball teams at BC from 1984 to 1988. He led the Rams to three NLCAA National Runner-up honors and was an NLCAA All-American in 1986 and 1987.
“When I think of Bluefield College, I think of three things: friends, family and faith,” said Mayo. “Bluefield College was home to me. I am very thankful for the relationships I made at BC and for the lessons I learned.”
After BC, Mayo became head coach for girls’ basketball at Carroll County High School in Virginia from 1993 to 2002 and led the Lady Cavaliers to three Southwest District championships and a 139-77 win-loss record. Today, he has a 196-82 win-loss record as head coach for girls’ basketball at Mount Airy High School in North Carolina.
Woods was a vital part of BC men’s basketball from 1988 to 1992. In fact, he led the 1989 team to the National Little College Athletic Association (NLCAA) National Tournament, where he was named to the NLCAA National Tournament Team. He also earned All-Conference honors in 1991 and 1992 and for his career averaged a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds per game. Shooting a remarkable 63 percent from the field, he ended his career just shy of 2,000 points scored. Today, he is a senior financial analyst for a Fortune 100 financial services organization.
In accepting his award, Woods recognized his wife, Susan, and his children, Jordan and Chloe. He thanked God and his mother, “looking down on (him) from heaven.” He also acknowledged BC professors, like Will Gordon, who instilled in him “a love for accounting,” and gave credit to his teammates and coaches from both high school and college, including Bramwell High School head coach Robert Wray, who “was like a second father to (him),” and Coach Blevins, who “taught (him) about life and how to be a man.”
“This is such a great honor,” said Woods. “This is my Oscar moment. Bluefield College was a great place for me, a place to excel in academics and athletics. I’m so glad I chose a place that puts God first. Bluefield College is a great school.”
|View more pics from the Sports Hall of Fame induction.
|Read more coverage of Homecoming 2015.
BLUEFIELD COLLEGE SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES (FROM LEFT) HOWARD MAYO (’88), COACH MARK BLEVINS, LAMONT WOODS (’92), AND DAN BROWN (’85).
|View more pics from the Sports Hall of Fame induction.
|Read more coverage of Homecoming 2015.|