Emmitsburg, Md. (December 18, 2018) – Mount St. Mary's University is set to retire the number of former women's basketball star player and coach Vanessa Blair (C' 92) on Saturday, January 26. Blair's number 24 will be retired at halftime of the Mount St. Mary's men's game against St. Francis Brooklyn.
Blair will be the second member of the Mount St. Mary's women's basketball program to have her number retired, joining Susie Rowlyk (C' 95), whose number 35 was hung at a ceremony in February of 2017.
"We are very pleased to retire Vanessa's number and proudly display #24 in Knott Arena," said Director of Athletics Lynne Robinson. "Vanessa has earned many accolades during and since her distinguished playing career at the Mount. She will long be remembered not just for her legacy as an incredible basketball player, but for being a wonderful coach, colleague, and friend. We congratulate Vanessa on this tremendous honor and much-deserved recognition."
One of the all-time greats at the Mount and in the Northeast Conference (NEC), Blair was inducted into the Mount St. Mary's Hall of Fame in 2003 and earned a spot in the league's Hall of Fame in 2012. Blair was named the NEC Player of the Decade and was selected to the NEC 20th and 25th Anniversary All-Time Teams. In 2005, she was named to the Mount women's basketball 30th Anniversary Team.
Blair, who earned NEC Player of the Year honors as both a junior and senior, wrapped her career as a three-time All-NEC performer and a three-time All-Tournament Team selection.
Blair was a member of the Mount's first Division I class, helping lead the Mountaineers to an 80-30 record and a pair of NEC Championship Game appearances. Her illustrious career at the Mount put Blair as the program's all-time leader in blocks (242) and double-doubles (39). She also ranks third at the Mount in career rebounds (849), fourth in free throws (370), seventh in steals (241), eighth in points (1,488) and field goal percentage (.496), and ninth in games started (95) and field goals (559). In addition, Blair holds the program record for most blocks in a season (77) and a single game (8).
Following her graduation, Blair played two years in Sweden before returning to Mount St. Mary's to coach. She served as an assistant from 1996-98 before taking over as head coach in 1998. She was named NEC Coach of the Year in her inaugural season at the helm, and remains the only person in league history to be named both NEC Player and Coach of the Year. Blair collected her 100th head coaching win at the Mount in 2005, as she became just the second coach in program history at the time to reach the 100-win milestone. Blair, who rounded out her coaching career at Mount St. Mary's following the 2006-07 campaign, still owns the second-most wins by a head coach in program history with 120.
Blair is currently in her 11th season as the head coach at Bethune-Cookman, where she's compiled 158 wins and led the team to three straight MEAC Regular Season Championships.