Motlow State Athletic History
Athletics has been an important part of the college experience at Motlow State since the school opened in 1969. The Bucks and Lady Bucks have consistently competed on a championship level in baseball, softball, men's basketball, and women's basketball. The nickname was chosen by the Motlow student body during the fall of 1970.
Motlow competes as a member of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association
(TCCAA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association
The College athletic program began a new era on Feb. 1, 2016, with C. Scott Shasteen being named athletic director. Motlow continues to produce the best student athletes both in the classroom and in competition.
Motlow began its athletic program at the inception of the college in 1969 with only two sports - men's basketball and baseball. In 1973, women's basketball joined the ranks of collegiate athletics. Softball became a reality in 1993 in an effort to enhance the Bucks and Lady Bucks program.
Men's golf and men's and women's tennis each had a very successful but short-lived time as sports at Motlow in the 1980s and 90s, but both were discontinued for various reasons.
It is impossible to reflect on the past, or project the future of Motlow's athletic program, without recalling the people who made it happen. Reflection begins with coach Joe Daves
, the initial coach at the helm of men's basketball. Coach Daves' nine-year stint established the Bucks as a competitive team throughout the TCCAA as well as the NJCAA. His team won back-to-back TCCAA Eastern Division titles in 1971-72 and 1972-73, and the 72-73 team was Motlow's first championship team as it won both the regular season and the tournament crown. He compiled a record of 135-117.
Motlow's first athletic team completed an 11-12 record during the 1969-70 season and was led in scoring by Franklin County native Jerry Altgilbers, who scored 484 points for a 21 points per game average. Paul Williams scored the first basket for the Bucks, and led the team with 21 points as Motlow beat Covenant College 74-69 in their first game, played at what was then called the Motlow Fieldhouse.
Daves recruited a number of players who are still considered among the greatest in Motlow history, including All-Americans Jack Battle, Bob Martin and Billy Holt. The three, along with assist and steals leader Larry Mackin, still hold many of the school's all time single season and career records. Battle, Martin and Holt were each named an All-Amercian for the Bucks during Daves' time as the Bucks' head coach.
Coach Charlie Codgill
followed Daves as head men's basketball coach during the 1978-79 season and his team finished with a 14-11 record in his lone season at the helm.
took over the reigns in 1979 and led the Bucks for six seasons, winning 65% of his games and compiling an outstanding 107-58 record. He returned Motlow to championship status, leading the program to two TCCAA Region VII championships during the 1981-82 and the 1983-84 seasons. McCalla, who became Motlow's athletic director from 1986-94, recruited All-American Mike Dailey and coached point guard Joe Gaskins, who followed him as head coach of the Bucks.
, who played for McCalla and is second all-time in career assists at Motlow, became one of the youngest head coaches in the nation when he was named head coach before the 1985-86 season. He rallied the Bucks to finish as co-division champions during his first season. Coach Gaskins led the Bucks from 1985-90 and compiled a 96-48 record. His 1987-88 team won 25 games, setting a new school record that lasted until 2008, and won 16 straight games which remains the all-time high. He recruited all-time leading scorer Tim Fant, who averaged 26.7 points per game and was named an All-American his second season.
took the helm of the Bucks from 1990 until 1998, compiling a record of 128 victories against 98 defeats during his eight seasons. His first team averaged a school record 94.9 points per game, and he recruited All-American John Gales, who remains the third leading career scorer in Motlow history.
took the reigns of the Bucks in 1998 and led the team to three consecutive Eastern Division titles before exiting in 2002. His 2001-02 team tied the school record with 25 wins. Coach Thompson left Motlow to become head coach at Cumberland University. Jeff Johnson
led the Bucks program from 2002-06.
, who served one year as an assistant to Thompson, took over the reigns before the 2006-2007 season, staying two seasons and compiling a 40-20 overall record while leading the 2007-2008 team to a 28-5 record, the most wins in school history. Steinburg recruited some of the greatest players in Bucks' history, including Tyree Evans, Demarco Steptor, Frank Henry-Ala and Cliff Dixon. Coach Steinburg left Motlow to become and assistant coach at Kent State University.
coached one season at Motlow and led the Bucks to a 22-8 record in 2008-2009 and the regular season TCCAA championship. Brown was rewarded by being named the TCCAA Coach of the Year, and his top recruit Tim Williams was named an All-American following the season and co-MVP of the conference. Coach Brown left Motlow to become an assistant coach at South Alabama.
guided the Bucks from 2009-2013 and produced four of the most successful consecutive seasons in school history. Nichols achieved an 80-31 record, including TCCAA regular season championships in 2011 and 2013 and a TCCAA/Region VII Tournament championship and trip to the NJCAA National Tournament in 2013. Nichols was named TCCAA coach of the year both seasons. Nichols was named Athletic Director of the college in the summer of 2011 and remained in that role until his departure in 2013. Freddie Goldstein, a member of Nichol's first two teams, became the first Motlow player to be named All-American in both of his seasons. Coach Nichols left Motlow to become head coach at Southwest Tennessee Community College.
became the 11th head coach in Bucks' basketball history in July 2013. He came to Motlow after three successful seasons as the top assistant coach at William Jewell College in Missouri. His first recruit, Dequon Miller, was named an All-Amercian in 2014 and freshman Jaylen Barford received the same honor in 2015. Sligh stayed two seasons at Motlow, compiling a 37-20 overall record, before departing in April 2015 to become an assistant coach at Missouri State University in Springfield.
was named the 12th head coach in Motlow men's basketball history on June 4, 2015. Burton spent the previous season as the Director of Player Development at Tennessee under former Volunteer head coach Donnie Tyndall. Burton had the most successful first season among Motlow's 12 men's basketball head coaches, leading his team to a 25-7 record. Jaylen Barford was named a 1st Team All-American and the Player of the Year in the TCCAA. Burton's second season resulted in the best year in school history. The 2016-17 Bucks won 30 games and advanced to the elite eight in the NJCAA tournament. Rashawn Fredericks was named Freshman of the Year and Burton Coach of the Year, while Javion Hamlet received second team All-American honors. Burton resigned on April 10 to become an assistant coach at Morehead State University.
Eleven former coaches have set the tone for women's basketball in Lady Bucks country during the previous 40 years. The women's program began in 1974 under the leadership of Coach Pat Sarver
, who built the program from scratch and coached the first two seasons of play, compiling a 23-19 record. The original Motlow women's team was known as the Buckettes.
Coach Sarver established a standard of excellence for the program from the beginning, recruiting outstanding players who still hold high positions in the Motlow record book. Karen Carter played from 1974-76 and had an outstanding career, averaging 17.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. She was named as the Lady Bucks' first All-American following her sophomore season. Carla Tart led Motlow with 27 points in their first game, a 52-51 loss to Columbia State.
then led the Lady Bucks for eight years from 1976 to 1984. Koss took the young program to new heights, including a combined record of 42-9 from 1977-79. Her Lady Bucks teams went 111-57 during her time at the helm, and included Motlow's second All-American. Aljeanette Bramlett is one of only two Lady Bucks in history to average over 20 points per game during her career.
Coaches Daves (1984-85), Jackie Reavis
(1985-86), and Johnny Hill
(1986-88) served one and two-year terms, respectively, followed by Gary Vanatta's
single season which ended in 1989.
, who played for Motlow from 1975-77, then led the program from 1989 through the 1996-97 season and assembled a 118-87 overall record. Holt coached the greatest team in Lady Bucks history during the 1989-90 season, a team that set the school record for wins with 27, including 18 in a row. All American Roschelle Vaughn had the greatest single season of any player in school history, averaging 25.2 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.
took the reigns of the women's basketball program in 1997 after a successful stint at Portland, TN high school. Serra spent 14 seasons at the helm of the Lady Bucks, developing a consistent, competitive program and completing her tenure with a 226-231 overall record. Serra's 2004-05 team won 25 games and included All-Americans Leanne Pelham and T'Qwanda Pendergrast.
served as the interim women's coach during the 2011-2012 season, compiling an 11-13 record.
In July 2012 Motlow announced the hiring of Aaron Holland
as its tenth women's basketball coach. Holland came to Lynchburg from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark., where he worked for head coach John Brady for five years. Holland compiled a 7-43 record in his two seasons at Motlow.
In July 2014, the College announced that former player and assistant coach Dominic Tharpe
had been hired as the eleventh head coach in Motlow women's basketball history. Tharpe played for Lonnie Thompson at Motlow from 1998-2000, was an assistant under Bobby Steinburg from 2006-2007, and spent 18 months as head coach of the Lady Bucks before resigning in January, 2016. He compiled a 14-26 record.
became the 12th head coach of Motlow's women's basketball program on April 13, 2016. Walker brings a dozen years of head coaching experience, including TCCAA/Region VII championships at both Hiwassee College and Chattanooga State.
Baseball got underway in 1970 under Coach Joe Johnson
, who won only three games in his single season. The first game was played Mar. 25, 1970 at Dyersburg State. Home games were played at Tullahoma's Municipal Stadium until 1972, when the field that would become the Driver Complex was completed on the Moore County campus.
The spring sport continued the next three years under the leadership of Coach John Stanford
, who established the program as a consistent conference contender by winning the conference and being named Coach of the Year in 1972. Catcher Eddie Daves became Motlow's first baseball All-American that same season. Stanford went 58-31 in his three years as head coach.
Coach Jackie Reavis
then took the reigns from 1974 to 1982, winning 71 percent of his games and compiling a sparkling 261-107 record. His 1975 team still holds the school record with a .818 winning percentage (27-6), and his Bucks teams won Eastern Division titles in 1974, 78, 79 and 81. In a pitcher's era, Reavis recruited some of the best in Motlow history. Among them was Mark Shuler, who set a school record with 11 wins that was not broken until 2000. Shuler became Motlow's first 1st-Team All-American in 1978. John Stefero played at Motlow in 1979 and became the first Motlow alumnus to play in the major leagues. Reavis was elected to the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002.
Bucks baseball then experienced turbulence for the next four years, when the baseball program was non-existent.
, who played for Motlow in 1973-75 and was an assistant coach in 1981, revitalized the program in 1987 and led the team for two seasons. Hill was 53-46 during those two seasons and recruited Moltow's most famous baseball player. David Weathers played for the Bucks in 1988-89 and went on to enjoy an 18-year major league career that included one World Series title with the Yankees. Weathers' jersey was retired by Motlow in 2011 and he was elected to the TCCAA Hall of Fame in 2016.
took over in 1989 and won 664 games, including multiple state titles and a 2000 trip to the World Series, before retiring following the 2006 season. Although Rhoton's accomplishments are too many to mention, his teams won seven consecutive Eastern Division titles from 1994-2000. The 2000 team set a school record for wins with 57, including 17 in a row, and lost to San Jacinto, TX in the national championship final.
Rhoton recruited multiple players who earned All-American honors, including Jason Evans in 1995, Arteaga in 2000, Rocky Evans in 2001, Nathan Marty in 2003 and Bryan Morris in 2006. Arteaga, Motlow's greatest offensive player, holds multiple career and single season batting records including home runs, runs batted in, hits and runs scored. Rocky Evans set both the single season and career records for pitching wins, and Morris has gone on to become Motlow's third former player to reach the major leagues, where he currently pitches for the Miami Marlins.
took over the program to begin the 2007 season. He has compiled a 229-280-1 overall record in 10 seasons, including a 40-24 overall mark in 2014 when the Bucks finished runner-up in the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament and advanced to the East Central District tournament for the first time since 2000. Sophomore Tyler Murphy set the all-time single season batting average record of .459 and was named a 1st Team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association in 2012. Coach McShea was named Motlow's interim athletic director in July 2015, where he served until Nov., 2016.
Women's softball is the most recent sport in the athletic lineup at Motlow College. Softball began in 1993 with coaches Jackie Reavis
and Mike Holt
leading the new venture. Current Lady Bucks Head Coach Janice Morey played for Reavis and Holt.
guided the program for two highly successful seasons in 1996 and 97, compiling a 58-25 record. Her 1997 team was the first Motlow softball squad to finish runner-up in the TCCAA tournament and starred former Lady Bucks head coach Tori Raby.
Motlow alumnus Gary Barfield
began his tenure as softball coach prior to the 1998 season and compiled a sparkling 526-233 record in 14 seasons, including winning the TCCAA tournament championship in 2009 and advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament. Barfield also served as Motlow's Athletic Director prior to Nichols' appointment.
Barfield's 2001 team set a school record with 58 wins, and his former players hold almost every spot in the school record book. Barfield recruited all five of Motlow's All-American softball players, including Jo Sharp in 2000, Amanda Potuk in 2001, Tabitha Phelps in 2002 and 2004, Whitney Darlington in 2006 and Kayla Cole in 2009.
In June, 2011, former Lady Bucks star Tori Raby
was named head softball coach. Coach Raby came home to Motlow following a successful seven-year run as head coach at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, compiling a 202-154 record. The Lady Bucks compiled an 84-107-2 record during Raby's four seasons.
Former Lady Bucks player Janice Morey
was named the school's sixth softball head coach on Nov. 1, 2015. Despite inheriting a full roster and being unable to recruit any additional players, Morey's first squad overcame a sluggish start and finished the season with a 28-24 overall record. Third baseman Aubrey Crowell was named 1st Team All-Conference.
We attribute much of our success to the long-time supporters of Motlow athletics. We tip our hats to these supporters because the Motlow program could not be what it is without them.
The Bucks and Lady Bucks basketball teams play at Copperweld Arena inside Nisbett Center. The Nisbett family has supported Motlow athletics since the college opened, and continues that support today. The Bucks baseball team's home field is the Driver Baseball Complex.
Motlow's student-athletes represent themselves and the college well in the classroom, in the community, and in competition. Several of our student-athletes have gone on to promising careers as professional athletes, coaches, and leaders. We believe their experiences at Motlow contributed to their success.