Mindy Ballou Fitzpatrick is the daughter of the late Ward and Betty Ballou. She grew up in a very active and athletic household in Morehead City with her three older brothers: Chuck, David, and Ricky Sledge. Mindy excelled in several sports, most notably basketball and surfing. She is the only athlete to be a high school and college All-America in basketball and a national surfing champion. She was celebrated as a Carteret County Athlete of the Century in 2000.
At West Carteret High School (1978-1982), Mindy lettered in volleyball, track and basketball. She was a four-time all-conference player in volleyball. In basketball, she was an All-America, named all-conference all four years, all-state, all-East, and Carteret News Times Player of the Year three times. Mindy still holds the all-time single-game, season and career scoring records. She was in the inaugural class of the West Carteret High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the only athlete to have her jersey retired.
Mindy went on to star in basketball at South Carolina (1982-86), where she was a three-time All-America, scoring more than 1,000 points in her career. She still holds the school record for assists in a season, average assists in a season, most assists by a sophomore and a senior, and is second all-time in career assists. When the Gamecocks ranked their top women’s players of all time, she was No. 6.
After graduating with a degree in exercise science, Mindy moved back to the beach and began a successful surfing career, highlighted by here winning the 1994 Women’s Amateur National Championship in Sebastian Inlet, Fla. She was the first North Carolinian to win the Junior Division of the Eastern Surfing Association in 1994, a title she captured again in 1995. She went on to win five ESA surfing titles and numerous district and regional championships. Although no longer active in competition, she still surfs regularly.
Forever grateful for her opportunities and humbled by years of support, in 1998 Mindy started a nonprofit girls’ basketball camp, Mindy’s Hoop Clinic, to share her love of the game and instill leadership principles in young athletes. For 13 years, Mindy’s Hoop Clinic drew an average of 100 girls every summer, and provided more than $50,000 in college scholarships to camp participants.
Mindy continued her community service as a volunteer North Carolina Seafood Festival Board member for four years and was elected chair in 2015. She was recognized with the inaugural class of the Carteret County Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 and inducted into the prestigious George Whitfield Hall of Fame in 2016.
Mindy and her husband, Matt Fitzpatrick, have two children, Matt Jr. and Annie. In 2008, Mindy and Matt pursued another passion and launched The Friendly Market in her hometown of Morehead City. There, they showcase fresh, local, seasonal products and support an extensive co-op of area farmers and growers with a core mission of embracing community and enriching lives. This family owned and operated business has become Mindy’s third and highest-level “sport.”
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