Downes Hall of Fame Inductee Spotlight: Donna Blackburn ‚??86

Downes Hall of Fame Inductee Spotlight: Donna Blackburn ‚??86
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--Donna Blackburn '86 is one of six former Golden Bear standouts who will be inducted to the Western New England University Downes Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend as part of Homecoming activities. The 15th class will be formally enshrined in a ceremony at Rivers Memorial Hall later today at 7:30 p.m., preceded by a social mixer and dinner beginning at 6 p.m.

Originally from Port Chester, N.Y., Blackburn starred on the Western New England women's basketball team from 1983 to 1985. She was a prolific scorer while playing the guard position who made an immediate impact, leaving as the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,586 points--a figure that 27 years later still rates third on the career chart. She averaged 20.1 points over 79 games during her three seasons here.

Western New England compiled a 45-32 record for a .584 winning percentage with the two-time All-New England and three-time All-NAIA District performer dominating the backcourt.

In her rookie season in 1982-83, Blackburn led the Golden Bears in scoring with a 22.8 average, which ranked second in NCAA Division III, and assists (104), was second in steals (72), and third in rebounding (8.5 per game). For her efforts, she was named to the American Women's Sports Foundation (AWSF) Freshman All-America and the Kodak All-America District 1 teams.

The following season, Blackburn led the squad in assists (103), was second in scoring (17.2 ppg), and fourth in rebounding (6.1 rpg) while making the AWSF All-Region Team.

As a junior in 1984-85, Blackburn was instrumental in helping WNE finish with a then-school-best 20-8 mark in only its ninth season of varsity competition. She was first on the team in both scoring (20.1 ppg) and assists (93), second in steals (83), and fourth in rebounding (5.6 rpg). For the third time in her career, she was selected both All-New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) and an NAIA District 5 All-Star.

Her best memory as a WNE student-athlete was learning these two axioms: "All the talent in the world won't take you anywhere without your teammates, and Behind every fearless player is a fearless coach who refused to let them be anything but the best they can be."

Blackburn received her bachelor's degree in mathematics and a master's degree in computer science from Polytechnic University of New York.

Currently, she serves as a math teacher at Walker Middle School in Orlando, Fla.

Blackburn will be introduced by her former collegiate coach Barbara Hanofee--who helmed the Golden Bears for seven seasons from 1982-89--prior to her induction.