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Allison, Blevins Enter NFCA Hall Of Fame

Rayla Allison (left) and Gayle Blevins are the newest members of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Allison and Blevins were inducted at the Speedline Coaching Staff of the Year/NFCA Hall of Fame Banquet at the NFCA National Convention December 3 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The banquet was emceed by ESPN and Fox Sports commentator Tracy Warren, who will be supplying color analysis for NBCÕs 2000 Olympic softball telecasts.

Rayla Allison (Pioneer Category)

Allison's softball career has ranged from athlete to coach to administrator. She spent three years playing professional softball in the International WomenÕs Professional Softball League and was head softball coach at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of HawaiÕi.

While at Hawai'i, she 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., and expects to complete her degree in January, 2000.

She 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 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.

She was presented for induction by two head coaches who were 1998 Hall of Fame inductees, Dianne Baker (Texas Woman's University) and Kathy Veroni (Western Illinois University). Also presenting Allison were Marty Blowers, head coach at the University of Southern Colorado and Maureen Fritz, who is Blowers' assistant coach.

Gayle Blevins

Gayle Blevins has compiled a record of 800-394-5 in her 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 has a record of 499-238-3 in 12 seasons. Prior to coming to Iowa, Blevins posted a 301-156-2 record in eight seasons at Indiana.

In Blevins' first year of coaching, she guided Indiana to a second-place national finish at the AIAW championship. Indiana went on to win two Big 10 titles and advance to the Women's College World Series twice, finishing third in 1986. Iowa reached the WCWS in three consecutive years under Blevins, tying for third in 1995 and 1996. Iowa has reached the 40-win mark in seven of Blevins' 12 seasons and surpassed the 50-win mark in 1991 and 1997.

Blevins is the only Division I coach to be named NFCA National Coach of the Year at two different schools, winning the award at Indiana in 1986 and again at Iowa in 1991. She is a six-time Mideast Region Coach of the Year.

Blevins spent six years as a member of the NCAA Women's Softball Committee and has served as first vice-president for the NFCA. In 1989, she worked with the Dutch Federation National Team as a coaching consultant.

Blevins was presented for induction by Donna Sorensen, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, banking executive who is a member of the Iowa Plus Board, an organization that promotes University of Iowa men's and women's athletics.