WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Denny Fields, a scoring machine for the UNCW basketball men’s basketball team in the late 70s, died earlier this week of a heart attack at Community Hospital in Anderson, Ind. He was 57.

Fields, a 6-8, 220-pound center, played two seasons for the Seahawks in 1976-77 and 1977-78 and was the top point producer for former coach Mel Gibson’s club both years. A transfer from Charleston Southern (then Baptist College), Fields poured in 969 points in two seasons with the Seahawks, compiling a lofty career average of 22.0 points per game.

”I am deeply saddened with Denny's passing, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to know him as a person and coach him as an athlete,” said Gibson, who headed up the Seahawk program from 1972-86.

“Denny was extremely gifted as a player. Simply put, Denny Fields was a scorer. Not only was he the best shooting center I ever coached - he had the uncanny ability to just score when he got the ball. The amazing thing about his scoring ability is that he did it even though he was not fast and he did not jump well. He just put the ball in the basket.”

Fields graduated from Lapel (Ind.) High School in 1974, spent time briefly at Baptist and then appeared in 44 games at UNCW. He made 320-of-547 field goal attempts for a 64.9 percent clip with the Seahawks, ranking him first in the annals. His 563 points during the 1977-78 campaign represents the sixth highest single season point total in school history.

The talented Fields was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1978 and worked for General Motors.

Fields is survived by his daughter, Jamie Fields of San Diego, Calif.; son, Drew and Dionne Fields of Anderson; son, Trey Fields of Anderson; siblings, Esther Drennon, Billy Fields, Tim Fields and Marty Fields; and his dogs, Digger, Molly and Champ. He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Beulah Fields.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 10 a.m.-Noon Saturday at Daybreak Community Church, 1239 Main St., Lapel, Ind. Arrangements are being handled by Robert D. Loose Funeral Homes & Crematory, Anderson, Ind. On-line condolences may be posted at www.loosecares.com or www.theheraldbulletin.com.

Reflections on Denny Fields

”I am deeply saddened with Denny's passing, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to know him as a person and coach him as an athlete,” said Gibson, who headed up the Seahawk program from 1972-86. Denny was extremely gifted as a player. Simply put, Denny Fields was a scorer. Not only was he the best shooting center I ever coached - he had the uncanny ability to just score when he got the ball. The amazing thing about his scoring ability is that he did it even though he was not fast and he did not jump well. He just put the ball in the basket.”
- Coach Mel Gibson

“Denny was a guy that had a great passion for competing and was a guy that hated losing at anything. He had his own way of having fun, but was a true friend. Denny, thanks for all the memories and may you rest in peace my friend.”
-Billy Martin, Class of ‘78

“I was shocked to hear of Denny's passing. He told me he was looking forward to coming back to UNCW for a game. I was in school and on the athletic floor with Denny and most of the basketball players and have seen every player that has played for UNCW since 1976. NO ONE, and I mean NO player I have ever seen, could shoot the ball like Denny could. If there had been a three-point shot in those times, Denny would have averaged 30 ppg. EASY!”
-Ashley Dixon, Class of ‘80

“I didn’t play basketball at UNCW, but the players were like my brothers, Denny included. He was a terror on the court, but I enjoyed hanging around him in the dorms. He had a rough exterior but he was a good guy. Gone too soon.”

-Debora Simmons, Class of ‘82