Bellwood graduate honored by Chowan

Bellwood-Antis High School product Dennis Helsel was recently enshrined in the Chowan (N.C.) University Sports Hall of Fame.

Helsel served Chowan University as vice president for athletics from 2006 through 2013, when he retired with 35 years of intercollegiate athletic experience, including tenures at Penn State, Old Dominion, Syracuse, Akron, Maryland and Conference USA.

The induction ceremony took place last month at Chowan.

Former Chowan president M. Christopher White said, “Dennis shepherded Chowan through the transition process from DIII to DII. His expertise to his colleagues in the league was valuable, and his focus on sportsmanship and integrity in sport is admirable.”

Helsel helped increase Chowan’s operational budgets, salaries and scholarships. He was also instrumental in the addition of women’s bowling (winter 2010), reestablishment of the women’s cross country team (fall of 2011), the addition of women’s lacrosse (spring 2012), and the addition of men’s cross country (fall 2012).

In addition, he oversaw numerous capital improvements at Chowan while continuing to serve on various NCAA committees, including chairing the NCAA DII men’s soccer committee. He also served as a member of the NCAA minority opportunities and interests task force.

Helsel was named Chowan’s director of athletics emeritus in 2013, the first such honor bestowed on an athletic director in the school’s history.

A 1969 graduate of the United States Military Academy and a Vietnam veteran, Helsel is currently an adjunct professor for Elizabethtown College.

He and his wife, Sue, reside in Harrisburg. The couple have three children and six grandchildren.