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Allison, Blevins Tabbed For NFCA Hall Of Fame
Former Women's Pro Softball League vice-president and league director Rayla Allison and University of Iowa head coach Gayle Blevins are the 1999 inductees into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Their induction will take place on Friday, December, 3, at the NFCA National Convention in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Rayla Allison (Pioneer Category)Allison's softball career has ranged from athlete to coach to administrator. She spent three years (1976-79) playing professional softball in the International Women's Professional Softball League. She also served as head softball coach at the University of Texas at Arlington for six seasons (1983-89), followed by two years as head softball coach at the University of Hawaii (1989-91). Before coaching softball, Allison served as head basketball coach at Texas Woman's University (1976-77) and Wesleyan University (1977-80).
While at Hawaii, Allison was elected president of the NSCA (now NFCA). In 1991, she became the NFCA's first full-time executive director, a position she held until 1994. She left the NFCA in 1994 to accept a position as vice-president and league director of the Women's Pro Softball League. In January of this year, she resigned from the WPSL and currently works as a sports consultant for amateur and professional sports. She is also attending law school at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn. She expects to complete her degree next month.
Allison is widely regarded as an expert on Title IX and is an advocate of girls' and women's rights in sports participation. She has been instrumental in getting softball reinstated at numerous Division I colleges, as well as getting softball and other women's sports added to schools. Allison has also played a key role in getting fastpitch added at the high school level in several states.Allison currently writes a column entitled "Fair or Foul: Legal Issues in Coaching and Education," which appears in Fastpitch Delivery for the NFCA and in GWS News for the National Association of Girls and Women in Sport.
Gayle Blevins Blevins has compiled a record of 800-394-5 in 20 years of collegiate coaching, getting her 800th win in the 1999 Big 10 Tournament. Her next victory will be her 500th at Iowa, where she is 499-238-3 in 12 seasons.
Prior to coming to Iowa, Blevins posted a 301-156-2 record in eight seasons at Indiana. Her teams have posted a winning percentage of at least .600 in each ofher 20 years of coaching. In Blevins' first season as a college coach, she guided Indiana to a second-place national finish in the AIAW championship. Indiana went on to win two Big 10 titles and advance to the Women's College World Series on two occasions, finishing third in 1986. Iowa reached the WCWS in three consecutive years (1995-97) under Blevins, tying for third in 1995 and 1996. Iowa has won 40 or more games in seven of her 12 seasons and surpassed the 50-win mark in 1991 (53-11) and 1997 (52 9). In 1997, the Hawkeyes became the first Big 10 team to complete its conference schedule without a loss, going 22-0 in conference play.
Blevins is the only Division I coach in history to be named NFCA National Coach of the Year at two different schools, winning the award at Indiana in 1986 and at Iowa five years later. She is also a six-time Mideast Region Coach of the Year, winning in 1986, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1997. Off the field, Blevins spent six years as a member of the NCAA Women's Softball Committee. She also served as first vice-president for the NFCA. Blevins has also been featured in an NFCA instructional audio tape entitled, "Practice Organization."
In addition, Blevins worked with the Dutch Federation National Team in 1989 as a coaching consultant. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Blevins is a 1973 graduate of the University of Dayton, earning her bachelor's degree in health and physical education. She received her master's degree from Indiana in 1979.