Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame Inducts four new members

Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame Inducts four new members

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Former UNCW Women's basketball standout Gwen Austin, UNC head coach and former Eagles linebacker John Bunting, longtime UNCW coach and official Larry Honeycutt, and former New Hanover High School and Duke football standout Charlie "Barrel" Niven were inducted into the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame Sunday evening at the UNCW Burney Center.

Austin graduated in 1985, with 16 school records to her name, including points, rebounds, and blocks. "I remember being recruited by NC State, but coach Yow had told me I would probably sit the bench for a couple of years," said Austin. "I always wondered whether I was ACC material. My freshman year, we played NC State. I pretty much showed her what I can do."

"After the game, she came up to me and said great job, I made a big mistake. I said, 'Yes you did,'" Austin recalled.

Honeycutt spent decades as a coach at UNCW, guiding the baseball, soccer, and men's tennis programs. He also spent 47 years as a noted official, calling basketball, football, and soccer games.

"I got into officiating because I wanted to give something back to the game that was so good to me, and that's why I got into football, basketball, and soccer," Honeycutt explained.

Bunting spent 11 seasons as a linebacker with the Eagles, turning around a team that was struggling at the time, alongside his coach, Dick Vermeil, who went on to win a Super Bowl with the Rams.

"There's nobody in my life besides my family that has had a bigger impact on my life than this man right here," said Bunting, speaking alongside Vermeil. "I love him, like a father. We've been through so many tough times together, and it's just great to be with him."

Vermeil, who flew into town Sunday morning, maintains a close relationship with Bunting to this day.

"One of the great parts about coaching, maybe the best for me, was the relationships," Vermeil explained. "You have to have a philosophy that allows you to develop those kinds of relationships with your players and your coaches. My highlight was the John Buntings."

Charlie Niven was a three sport athlete for New Hanover High School from 1949-1951. After New Hanover, Niven played a season of football at Duke, before accepting an offer to play in the Canadian Football League.

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