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HOMECOMING 2006
 
In the annual Homecoming Day on February 11, the 2006 Homecoming Court was introduced and the 2006 Homecoming King and Queen were announced between the women’s and men’s basketball games.
 
Kimberly Gordon from Rabun Gap, GA, is crowned 2006 Homecoming Queen.

Ladies on the Homecoming Court included Brittni Adkison, a freshman from Warner Robins; Samantha Cash, a freshman from Cleveland; Zoie Cole, a sophomore from Smyrna; Katie Cooper, a senior from Murrayville; Erin Drake, a sophomore from Grayson; Kimberly Gordon, a junior from Rabun Gap; Kimberly Gould, a sophomore from Palmetto; Jana Parks, a junior from Gainesville; and Christina Wingo, a freshman from Augusta.
 
Men on the Homecoming Court included William Buchanan, a junior from Fayetteville; Tyler Cook, a freshman from Marietta; Chris Davidson, a sophomore from Gainesville; Stephen Fountain, a junior from Opp, AL; Jonathan Huff, a senior from Lilburn; Timothy
Billy Buchanan of Fayetteville, GA, was chosen 2006 Homecoming King at TMC.
Johnson
, a freshman from Lilburn; Zack Phillips, a freshman from Stockbridge; Doug Porter, a sophomore from Dillard; and Jimmy Simpson, a sophomore from Warner Robins.
 
The 2006 Homecoming King, William Buchanan, was recognized in absentia because it was necessary for him to be out of town. The 2006 Homecoming Queen, Kimberly Gordon, was crowned before the enthusiastic crowd of fans present for the Homecoming ceremony.
The 2006 Homecoming Court at TMC
Front row, L-R: Erin Drake, Jana Parks, Samantha Cash, Christina Wingo, Katie Cooper, Brittni Adkison, Kim Gordon, Kim Gould, Zoie Cole
Back row, L-R: Stephen Fountain, Tim Johnson, Jon Huff, Zack Phillips, Doug Porter, Chris Davidson, Tyler Cook, (not present for photo: Billy Buchanan).
CAMPAIGN KICKOFF FOR DORA SPIVA EDUCATION PROGRAM
 
The Choestoe community in Union County is home to one of the area’s “national treasures,” Mrs. Dora Hunter Allison Spiva. On February 10, 2006, “Aunt Dora,” as she is affectionately known to family and friends alike, celebrated her 101st birthday among the people of Choestoe, who love her dearly. 
 
Mrs. Dora Spiva (left) enjoys a light-hearted moment with one of her former students, Ethelene Dyer Jones, an alumna of Truett-McConnell in the class of 1949.

The following day Truett-McConnell College, Cleveland, GA, hosted a luncheon in her honor at Choestoe Baptist Church, to give her family and friends an opportunity to celebrate her birthday with her, to announce the naming of the newly-approved four-year education program at the college for her, and to kick off the campaign to endow the Dora Spiva Education Program.
 
In spite of a winter weather advisory in effect and snowplows hard at work clearing the Neels Gap Road, more than 100 people came to celebrate with Mrs. Spiva, all with stories about the influence she has had on their lives. Ladies of the Blairsville Garden Club, of which Mrs. Spiva is a member, donated their services to make about two dozen arrangements of fresh flowers for the tables. Members of Choestoe Baptist Church, led by the pastor, Rev. Dick Stilwell, were on hand to help with setup and cleanup. 
 
The Dora Spiva Education Program at Truett-McConnell College was officially launched at the luncheon by Dr. Jerry W. Pounds, Sr., president of the college. In speaking about the program, Dr. Susan Gannaway, education department head, commented that the Bachelor of Science in Education degree program at TMC will begin in the fall of 2006 with teacher training in early childhood education and later expand into other grade levels as well. She ended her remarks by saying: “Truett-McConnell will train teachers that the area schools will be proud to employ. We trust that Dora Spiva will be proud that they are trained in an education program that bears her name.”
 
Truett-McConnell College was chartered in 1946 as a two-year college and this year is celebrating its 60th year of operation. In 2003 the college began its first bachelor’s degree programs in music and in December 2005 received approval to start two more four-year degrees, one of which is the Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in early childhood education. In considering an influential educator in north Georgia for whom the education program could be named, college officials settled quickly on Mrs. Spiva, whose long career in public education and her outstanding Christian example helped shape the lives of hundreds of young people.
 
Local residents who spoke to Mrs. Spiva’s influence on their own lives at the birthday luncheon included Ethelene Dyer Jones, Austine Hunter Wallis, Superintendent of Schools Tommy Stephens, and former Superintendent of Schools Clyde Collins, all current or retired educators themselves. State Representative Charles Jenkins presented to Mrs. Spiva a resolution passed by the Georgia General Assembly, commending her on her illustrious career in education and on her long and fruitful life.
 
At the conclusion of the celebration, just before the two large birthday cakes were cut, Dr. DeWitt Cox, consultant with Truett-McConnell, and Dr. Sam Cash, TMC Vice President for Advancement Services, challenged those in attendance to lead the way in raising funds to provide endowment for the Dora Spiva Education Program at Truett-McConnell. 

TMC DEDICATES WOOD BOARD ROOM

             On October 6, 2005, Truett-McConnell College dedicated the meeting room of its Board of Trustees in honor of Joe T. Wood, Sr., and the Wood family of Gainesville.  The Wood Board Room is located on the second floor of the Nix Student Center on the TMC campus in Cleveland and is the site of all meetings of the Board of Trustees of the college.  Joe T. Wood, Sr., co-founder of Turner, Wood and Smith Insurance Center in Gainesville, is a friend and supporter of the college, having served four terms as a trustee and having been named a Trustee Emeritus of the college in 2004.  His son, Joe T. Wood, Jr., is currently serving as a trustee. 

 

Left to right:  Joe T. Wood, Jr., Joe T. Wood, Sr., and Dr. Jerry W. Pounds, Sr., president of Truett-McConnell College.

 

 

The Mascot Changes
 
     In the very first years of its existence, Truett-McConnell College did not have any sports teams, but during the 1951-52 year, a men’s basketball team and a baseball team were organized by Jack Holcomb, using the facilities of the Cleveland High School.
     The teams were called the Mountaineers, as a reflection of the beautiful area in which the school is located and a reflection as well of the fact that virtually all of the players were young men from the local area in the mountains. The teams were known as the Mountaineers until 1965. 
     At that time, the name of the college was changed from Truett-McConnell Junior College to Truett-McConnell College, dropping the “junior” designation and paving the way for the college to carry its new name into a four-year status at some time in the future. In keeping with the change in the college’s name, the process was begun of changing the mascot and the name of the sports teams
     In 1966 the basketball team (the baseball team had been discontinued by that time) became known by a new name, the Great Danes (or its shortened form, the Danes). The name was chosen because it implied power, authority, majesty. The college had a live mascot, a black Great Dane, whose name was Mr. Great. The school built a special doghouse for him behind the Sewell-Plunkett Chapel, constructed of brick with white columns, resembling the President’s Home on the campus. Eventually the Great Dane died and was not replaced with another live mascot.
     In 1974 the college started a women’s basketball team and called it the Danettes, a feminine version of the name Danes. The team was known by this name during the years of its championship teams in the 1970s and 1980s until the early 1990s, when the name was changed to Lady Danes to make the team’s name consistent with the designations of the women’s teams from other colleges.
     When the baseball program at Truett-McConnell was revived in the mid-1980s, the baseball team became known as the Diamond Danes, and, when the soccer teams were started, they were called the Kickin’ Danes.
In the same way that a change of mascot and team names marked the transition of the college from Truett-McConnell Junior College to simply Truett-McConnell College in the mid-1960s, now as the institution is making the transition from a two-year to a four-year college, it was felt that a change of mascot and team names would be appropriate. 
     Beginning in 2004, the college actively solicited ideas from faculty, staff, students, the community, and alumni. Several suggested that the new team names should be reflective of the area of northeast Georgia where the school is located. Finally the selection process narrowed the options until the bear was chosen as the mascot. 
     The bear is native to the northeast Georgia mountains and even lends its name to the name of White County’s most significant natural landmark, Mt.Yonah. In fact, Yonah is the Cherokee Indian word meaning “bear.”
     So as the Truett-McConnell Bears and Lady Bears take to the courts and playing fields this fall, they represent a past that is rich with tradition and replete with accomplishment, but they represent as well an institution that is maturing and changing into a four-year college and which will build years of success upon the solid foundation laid by the memorable teams of former years.

TMC CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

On Saturday, July 30, 2005, Truett-McConnell College honored the women who have played on its basketball teams through the 30 years since women’s basketball became a permanent intercollegiate sport at the college.  The event was sponsored by the Office of Institutional Advancement as a  kick-off for fundraising to establish a women’s basketball scholarship fund.  Many of those attending had not seen each other in 25 or more years, and the entire day took on the atmosphere of a family reunion.

 

1980 National Championship Team 

The luncheon and program celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 1980 TMC Women’s Basketball National Championship.  The team of national champions was introduced, and each team player, manager, and trainer was presented a signed and numbered print of a watercolor of the Truett-McConnell campus by renowned North Georgia artist John Kollock.

At the celebration Joe Campbell talked about the origins of the women’s basketball program in 1974, telling some humorous stories about its beginnings. A women’s basketball team had been organized at TMC in the early 1950s, soon after the college began.  However, it was disbanded after two or three years, and women’s basketball did not appear again as an intercollegiate sport for 20 years. 

 

Joe Campbell
Coach 1974 - 1976
 

In the fall of 1974, a women’s basketball team went to the courts, organized and coached by Joe Campbell, who was employed in the admissions office of Truett-McConnell.  Campbell was a former basketball, baseball and track star at South Hall High School in Gainesville and a standout on the Danes basketball team at Truett-McConnell in 1969-70.

The 1974-75 inaugural team of Danettes (as the ladies’ team was called then) played a 20-game schedule.  Four of the five starting players on the team had played on the 1974 State Class A champion team from Pickens County High School, making the TMC Danettes a strong force to be reckoned with, even in their very first season. 

The third year of their existence brought the Danettes a new head coach, Colby Tilley.  With his quiet manner, wry humor, and strong spiritual guidance, Coach Tilley was to lead the Danettes to many years of glory and to a reputation as a national powerhouse in women’s basketball among two-year colleges. 

 

Colby Tilley
Coach 1976 - 1985 

During the nine years (1976-1985) that Tilley coached, the Danettes won five state championships, four NJCAA Region 17 championships, and the national championship in 1980.  During his nine-year tenure at TMC, he steered the team to a 236-46 overall record (.837 winning percentage).  In the 1979-80 season, he led the team to a 36-win season and a national championship, followed the next year by a 31-win season.

Tilley left Truett-McConnell College in 1985 to start a women’s basketball program at Auburn University-Montgomery.  His stellar record during his nine years at AUM resulted in an overall record of 218-74 (.747), and his teams made seven appearances in the NAIA National Championship tournament.

In 1995 Tilley left AUM to become head women’s basketball coach at Kennesaw State University, where he remains today.  Now in his tenth season at KSU, he is the winningest coach in the history of Kennesaw State University.

At the celebration luncheon, Tilley introduced each former player who attended and shared some interesting information about each one.  He commented: “The years I spent coaching at Truett-McConnell College were the best years of my coaching career and of my life.”  The program ended with a challenge by Dr. Sam Cash, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at TMC, for the former players to support the college with their prayers, by recommending students, and by contributing to the newly-established women’s basketball scholarship fund.

Former players attending were Catherine Whiddon, Cordele; Daria Myers, Loganville; Deanna Stacks, Gainesville; Doris Metcalf Coleman, Atlanta; Elaine Higginbotham Kenyon, Cornelia; Glenda Long Folsom, Johnson City, TN; Jeanette Dorsey Fuller, Duluth; Jeanette Balsam Looney; Winterville; Kay Bramblett Brown, Dalton; Kristi Mullinax Helton, Buford; Lynn Underwood Mosely, St. Simons Island; Martha Moss Hufstetler, Shannon; Montey Walters Nix, Flowery Branch; Phillis Thomas, Buford; Rhonda Coker Sillesky, Dawsonville; Robin Hendrix, Kokomo, IN; Robin Rainwater Hardy, Kennesaw; Sandra Turner Renfroe, Stone Mountain; Stephanie Grogan, Marietta; Tammy Allen, Ellijay; and Teresa Dunbar Landers, Rome. 

In addition to players, those attending also included four former team managers, Gina Elrod Brissy, Talmo; Penny Sosebee Cain, Jefferson; Susan Thompson Chapman, Peachtree City; and Dan Alexander, Seneca, SC, as well as former trainer, Joe Gailey, Toccoa.  Claude Smith, former Dean of Students at TMC, now retired, returned for the event, as did Rodney Fitzgerald, former Director of Admissions, now retired, and his wife, Alice. 

A handful of loyal fans of the women’s teams also attended: Terry Thomas, Douglasville; Kent Tench, Gainesville; Miriam Tilley, Marietta; Connie Campbell, Cleveland; and Steve Hood, Cleveland, as well as a number of family members of the honorees.

According to Dr. Sam Cash: “This event was one of the best alumni events I have ever attended—at Truett-McConnell or any other college.  Bringing these players together again after all these years and honoring the 1980 National Championship team on the silver anniversary of its championship can only strengthen their ties to the institution that gave them their start in higher education.”

Edna Holcomb, 30-year employee of the college who had known all of those attending when they were TMC students, ended the program by saying to the gathering:  “Welcome back.  We’re glad to have you home.”

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