College sports: CIAA Hall of Fame class includes Beverly Downing, a former Blue Bear

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 6, 2022

Staff report

Dr. Beverly Downing of Livingstone College is a member of  the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s 2022 John B. McLendon Hall of Fame class.

The CIAA recognizes inductees for their excellence in the conference, significant contributions in the community, leadership within CIAA athletics and commitment to the conference mission. This year’s class features six inductees: Downing (Livingstone College/Saint Augustine’s University), Andre’ Altice (Shaw University), Gregory Goings (Bowie State University), Greg Jackson (Saint Paul’s College/North Carolina Central University), Amba Kongolo (North Carolina Central University) and Jamie Waller (Virginia Union University).

The  class will be officially inducted at a ceremony on Friday, Feb. 25. The event will be a part of the week-long schedule of events encompassing the 2022 CIAA Basketball Tournament, being held Feb. 22-26 in Baltimore.

Since its inception in 1967, the CIAA Hall of Fame has enshrined 299 honorees. It was renamed after McLendon, a legendary coach and administrator, in 2000. A 1978 Hall of Fame inductee, McLendon is also credited as one of the founding fathers of the CIAA Basketball Tournament, which began in 1946.


Dr. Beverly Downing 

Dr. Downing being her journey in the CIAA as a student-athlete in women’s basketball and softball at Livingstone College from 1975-78. On the hardwood, she was a two-time All-CIAA performer as well as an AIAW All-American for two seasons. During her time as a student, Downing helped start the softball team at Livingstone College.

In 1982, Downing began coaching women’s basketball and softball at Saint Augustine’s College (now Saint Augustine’s University) where she won seven CIAA Coach of the Year awards throughout her career, including three in basketball (1986, 1990, 1992). As the head women’s basketball coach at SAU, Downing accumulated 260 wins over 16 seasons, most in program history, while winning four CIAA Southern Division titles, finishing with 12 winning seasons, and five seasons of 20 wins or more. Downing also won two CIAA titles (1989, 1991) and three division crowns (1990-1992) while leading the Lady Falcons softball program.

Downing was a member of the U.S. Olympic basketball coaching staff from 1986-2000, helping lead the 1994 team to a silver medal as an assistant at the U.S. Olympic Festival. She also spent time as assistant basketball coach and helped start the softball program at Hampton University. A 1978 graduate of Livingstone College, Downing was inducted into the inaugural Livingstone College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002, becoming the first woman to be inducted.