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UNC Asheville to Retire Sheila Ford Duncan’s Jersey

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UNC Asheville athletics announced last week it will retire jersey No. 54 in honor of former Clarkton High School standout Sheila Ford Duncan during the Bulldogs homecoming basketball doubleheader on February 22.

UNC Asheville also will recognize the 35th anniversary of the 1983-84 team that won the NAIA women’s basketball national championship.

Ford Duncan was a member of the Bulldog basketball team from 1980-1984, with the highlight of her career being named the NAIA national player of the year while leading the Bulldogs to the 1984 title. She played for coach Raymond Marlowe at Clarkton High School in the late ’70s and her father is former Clarkton High basketball coach Harold Ford.

Duncan averaged 23.1 points and 18.7 rebounds per game during the 1983-84 season and was named NAIA first team all-American and NAIA all-Region player of the year in the South Atlantic Region along with national player of the year honors.

“I am deeply honored and elated about having my jersey retired,” Ford Duncan said. “It has been 35 years since I played basketball at UNC Asheville in the Justice Center. I am truly blessed. Thank you for remembering me after all these years. I look forward to seeing Kimmel Arena and some of my former teammates again.”

Duncan became the first female in the NCAA and NAIA to surpass both career marks of 2,000 points and 2,000 rebounds. To this day, she is one of only a handful of people in the NCAA and the NAIA to accomplish that feat on the women’s or men’s side.

Duncan is UNC Asheville’s all-time leader in scoring (2,443) and rebounds (2,200). She also holds 18 other individual records at UNC Asheville.

During her junior season, Duncan led the nation with 20 rebounds and 19.6 points per game.

“Sheila Ford was a strong steady leader throughout her years on the UNC Asheville team,” former UNC Asheville women’s basketball head coach Helen Carroll said. “Her work ethic was inspiring to all team members and her teammates joined her level of commitment toward excellence. This is what national championship teams are made of. What an honor to coach such an athlete and remain steadfast friends to this day.”

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