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Young Harris College Athletics Hall of Fame Inducts New Members

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – On Nov. 18, Young Harris College hosted a special induction ceremony and dinner in the Rollins Campus Center to honor the 2016 YHC Athletics Hall of Fame inductees. 

“We are thrilled to honor each of these outstanding individuals for their athletic achievement and dedication to the College and their local communities over the years,” said YHC President Cathy Cox.

Inductees included Rev. Dr. John Ed Mathison, ’58, basketball and tennis, Kat Peck Gresham, ‘03, softball, Ronnie Moore, ’64, basketball, Ron Bell, ’64, basketball, Murphy McManus, ’53, basketball, and Rev. Dr. George Mathison, ’63, tennis.

The YHC Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 2013 by the College’s Board of Trustees to recognize individuals for their outstanding athletic achievements and distinguished service to YHC and the greater community. The inductees are comprised of individuals nominated by alumni and friends for being an integral part of a celebrated history of athletics at the College.

The group was also recognized in between the women’s and men’s basketball games as part of the College’s Homecoming festivities on Nov. 19.

Rev. Dr. John Ed Mathison, ’58
Prior to attending YHC, Mathison was an all-state basketball player for three years at Opelika High School in Opelika, Ala. In his two years at the College, Mathison played on a state championship basketball team and won the Georgia State Junior College Singles event in tennis his teammates to the state championship.

He went on to study at Huntingdon College, where he remained undefeated in collegiate tennis for four years, and was consistently ranked No. 1 in his age division in Alabama and No. 3 in the South. Mathison’s basketball career also flourished at Huntingdon where he was the team captain and leading scorer for the school. He also won seven state racquetball championships.

After his time at Huntington, Mathison received a bachelor of divinity degree and doctor of ministry degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, a master’s degree from Princeton University, and three honorary doctorates. He ministered at three churches before serving as senior minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala., for 36 years. Under his leadership, Frazer grew from 400 members to more than 8,800 and had the largest Sunday school attendance for United Methodist churches in the country.

Today, he leads the John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries nonprofit, formed to train clergy and laity for meaningful ministry. Through this role, he has trained around 9,000 pastors during the past eight years. Mathison’s free time is devoted to his wife, Lynn, four children and 10 grandchildren.

Kathryn Peck Gresham, ’03
Before coming to YHC, Gresham already had an impressive number of softball accolades next to her name. Captain, Team MVP, District Champion, 1st Team All District all four years, 1st Team All State, and Washington Post Player of the Week two years in a row are just a handful of her awards and honors from high school.

Gresham was recruited to YHC on a full athletic scholarship to play softball during her senior year of high school. In her two years at the College, Gresham was named the Georgia Junior College Player of the Year for softball, helped the team break the school record of softball team season wins, and surpassed the record career strikeouts in only one year. She was named to the NCAA Region 17 All Region Team, Region All-Tournament Team, the Rush Meridian Classic All-Tournament Team, and was nominated as an All-American player in 2002. She finished third in the nation for strikeouts in a season and first in the nation for the number of strikeouts in a game, averaging 7.49 strikeouts per game. She led the region in all pitching categories and placed among the top 15 hitters regionally, finishing the season with a .330 batting average. She even holds the 4th lowest ERA record in the NJAA DI Softball Championship History with an ERA of .50 in 14 innings pitched.

After graduating from YHC with an associate’s degree in education, Gresham went on to play softball at Radford University where she was the designated player for the 2004 Big South First Team All-Conference. She earned a bachelor of science degree in foods and nutrition, then furthered her education to become a Family and Consumer Science teacher—a profession she still enjoys today.

Softball continues to be part of Gresham’s life. Together with her husband, Adam, she has coached high school softball at three different schools. The couple lives in Virginia with their two children, Greyson and Harper.

Ronnie Moore, ’64
Before attending YHC, Moore played high school basketball at New Brockton High School in New Brockton, Ala., averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds per game during his senior year. He made the All-Tournament Team and was named the Most Valuable Player for Class A-District 2 in Alabama. He was also named to the State Tournament All-State First Team, Alabama South All-Star Team and the Birmingham Post-Herald First Team All-State.

His list of impressive accolades continued to grow throughout his athletic career at YHC. During his sophomore year, he averaged 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. He was voted the Most Valuable Player by his teammates and named to the Georgia Junior College All-Conference First Team, Georgia-Florida Region All-Star First Team and the Atlanta Tip-Off Club Georgia Junior College Player of the Year for 1964.

Following his time at the College, Moore attended Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., where he continued to play basketball and was again voted the Most Valuable Player his senior year. He was also named to the Florida Inter-Collegiate Conference Second Team All-Conference.

After graduating from Stetson with a bachelor of business administration degree, Bell worked in finance for nearly 40 years, serving as a certified public accountant, vice president and controller, and director of finance for several notable companies across the state of Florida.

Today, he and his wife Lynn consider themselves blissfully retired. They have two children and eight grandchildren.

Ron Bell, ’64
While at Ringgold High School, Bell played football, baseball and basketball. He was the first basketball player at the school to make the North-South All-Star Team and go on to play for the All-State basketball team until being recruited to play basketball at YHC 1962.

Following his time at the College, Bell went on to attend the University of Montevallo for its physical education program to become a teacher. He played left forward and was team captain for their basketball program that was still in its infancy.

After graduating from Montevallo, Bell returned to his roots and took a teaching job at Ringgold High School and played basketball for the Southern Professional Basketball League. He eventually joined the Air Force for three years, coaching and playing the sport along the way. Following his Air Force career, Bell returned to Ringgold High School to coach women’s basketball. The team went 20-5, and the following year, he was offered the men’s basketball coaching position.

After accepting a graduate assistantship at Montevallo, he was offered a job as the full-time assistant basketball coach at Montevallo. With his dream of coaching at the college level realized, Bell returned to coaching high school basketball and golf at Marist School in Atlanta, where he coached for more than three decades. Under his leadership, the team was the state AAA champion for three years and earned nine regional titles. Bell won 76 percent of the games during of his 31-year career.

In 1995, he was named the National High School Basketball Coach of the year, State Coach of the Year in 1989, 1994 and 2000, and is a Georgia Coaches Hall of Fame inductee. Earlier this year, the basketball court at Marist was named for Bell with his name and signature inscribed on the floor.

Today, Bell lives in Big Canoe, Ga., with his wife, Pegi.

Rev. Dr. George Mathison, ’63
Mathison attended Opelika High School in Opelika, Ala., and following graduation, he accepted a full athletic scholarship for tennis at Young Harris College in 1961. His older brother and fellow inductee, John Ed, previously attended YHC and played basketball and tennis for the College.

During his time at YHC, Mathison won the Georgia State Junior College Tennis Championship at the No. 1 position. In his entire career with the team, he never lost a tennis match. This tennis standout also served as president of his freshman class.

Following his days at YHC, Mathison stayed involved in athletics. He continued his education at Huntingdon College on yet another full athletic scholarship for tennis. He won the U.S. Tennis Association Hard Court Championships and State Clay Court Championships, and was ranked by the Alabama Tennis Association as the number one player in his age division among amateurs and professionals. The Alabama Tennis Association also named him their Sportsman of the Year.

He went on to attend Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and earned a degree in theology. He eventually began a joint doctoral program through Vanderbilt University and the University of the South, and completed post-doctoral research at Yale University. 

In June 2015, Mathison retired from his position at Auburn University Methodist Church after 26 years of service. Even in his time as senior pastor, Mathison did not forget his roots in athletics. For 10 years, he served as the chaplain for the Auburn University football team, conducting weekly Bible studies for the coaches and the players and sitting on the sidelines with the team during games.

Today, Mathison resides in Auburn, Ala., with his wife, Monteigne. The couple has one daughter and two twin grandsons.

Murphy McManus, ’53
Murphy McManus spent the majority of his formative years in Alabama, but transferred to Rosemont High School in LaGrange, Ga., for his junior year of high school. After seeing him play, Young Harris College’s men’s basketball coach Luke Rushton recruited him to play for the Mountain Lions.

While at YHC, McManus received the Little All-American Title. His success at the College led him to be recruited by the University of Georgia to play guard for their men’s basketball team. McManus averaged 20.1 points per game and held the school’s best average, 16.8, for a two-year career. He received the All-American title and was named one of the best ten players of the 1950s by The Atlanta Journal.

After graduating from the University of Georgia, McManus’ love of basketball led him to begin coaching men’s and women’s basketball at Harris County High School. McManus took the men’s team to the state championship on several occasions. He eventually became the headmaster of Southland Academy, then principal of Central High School in Carroll County.

He went on to serve as superintendent of Breman City Schools, where he was instrumental in building a new Board of Education building. In 1990, McManus retired from his work as superintendent and began traveling in his motorhome with his wife, Eva, and working to restore antique furniture. He also served as a dedicated official of basketball for two years in the SEC and 30 years in the NAIA. He and Eva have three children—Duane, Dean and Kevin.

For more information about Young Harris College Athletics Hall of Fame, visit

2016 HOF

YHC Athletics Director Randy Dunn (left), Ron Bell, Kat Peck Gresham, Rev. Dr. John Ed Mathison, Ronnie Moore and President Cathy Cox posed for a picture during a special induction celebration on the YHC campus.

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,100 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., has completed major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. The College is an active member of NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2016-2017 list of Colleges of Distinction and is listed as a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit