Betty Jean (White) Flieger- 1977

Betty Jean (White) Flieger, a Kings County native who starred in interscholastic athletics at Wolfville High School, graduated from Acadia in ’77, receiving a B.A. in Recreation and Physical Education. Betty Jean, or B.J. as she became more familiarly known, enjoyed four excellent seasons as both a field hockey and basketball Axette.

In varsity field hockey she was an aggressive, skilful performer who had a natural instinct for field awareness. Her leadership ability and “never say die” attitude made her a respected member of varsity squads that battled fiercely against such strong squads as U.N.B. and Dalhousie.

It was, however, as a basketball Axette that she truly shone. During her initial year on the Acadia campus, B.J. earned a berth on the Elizabeth Vermeulen directed court team helping the squad to win Provincial Intercollegiate Intermediate honors. Playing thirteen games in the Intermediate League, B.J. and teammates won eleven contests. She was the team’s leading scorer in ten of those games, averaging 17.5 points per game. In sectional playoff action, the Acadia club defeated N.S.A.C., Kings College, Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s as White collected a total of 106 points. In three contests played in the A WIAA playoff tournament against the U .N .B. Junior Varsity., University of Moncton and Nova Scotia Teachers College, the team again won each game and Betty Jean scored a total of 87 points. In the semi-final contest against the University of Moncton, she scored seventeen field goals and eight out of nine free throws for 42 points. This mark possibly still stands as an all-time Acadia record.

During B.J.’s sophomore season of ’74-’75, Gib Chapman, a former Axemen mentor and newly-appointed Dean of the School of Recreation and Physical Education, became coach of the women’s basketball squad. Competing in varsity conference play, the team enjoyed a measure of success and the quick moving and ever-elusive B.J. finished third in conference scoring and was named to an all-star berth. During the ’75-’76 season, at a time when U.N.B. and Saint Mary’s were recognized as powerhouses in women’s intercollegiate action, the Chapman directed Acadia squad played some outstanding basketball throughout the season. On that team, Betty Jean joined returnees Nancy Price, Liz Raaymakers, Debbie Keams, and Jane Henderson, and sure promising newcomers as Betty Campbell, Martha Mayer, Pamela Pauley, and Leslie Sutcliffe.

In the Acadia Invitational Tournament, the Axettes defeated the University of Moncton, 74-26, as Campbell starred with 20 points, but lost to Dalhousie in the final, 44-39. At the Mt. Allison University Invitational, Acadia defeated the host squad in the consolation round, 51-45, as B.J. White shared accolades with Eleanor Riley.

In the playoffs that season against U.N.B., the Axettes came up short despite outstanding efforts by Riley, Mayer, and White. In the consolation contest, the Valley-based hoopsters dropped a disappointing 53-52 decision to St.F.X. B.J. was named to the All- Conference’s second all-star team. For the record, U.N.B. emerged as intercollegiate champs.
During her graduating year of ’76-’77, Betty Jean White and her young teammates surprised many of the Conference’s experts by winning nineteen games while losing only seven. They won both the Acadia and the Moncton Invitational Tournaments, while placing second in the Conference’s standings.

Despite the fact that there were only three returnees, the six newcomers provided the team with many inspired performances. With such excellent athletes as B.J., Joyce Stewart, Patti Langille, Martha Mayer, and Pam Pauley in prominent roles, the Axettes persevered, bowing to Saint Mary’s, 56-51, in the finals. In action against U.P.E.I., White’s 21 points were helpful in an 88-40 victory.

It was poetic justice, indeed, that B.J. White in concluding four excellent seasons as a basketball Axette was chosen the team’s most valuable player and recognized by the Conference itself in being selected as a first-team all-star .

What a pleasure it is to welcome back to Acadia for induction to its Hall of Fame, Betty Jean (White) Flieger certainly an outstanding performer in both field hockey and basketball.