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Where are they now: Ray Dickerson

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ray Dickerson played both basketball and baseball while at Lipscomb University, with a little track on the side. He lives with his wife, Sandy, just down the street from his alma mater, and spends his time taking care of his 6-year-old grandson. He took a moment to talk with lipscombsports.com about his time at Lipscomb.

What sport(s) did you play at Lipscomb? What years? Who were your coaches?

“I came to Lipscomb on a basketball scholarship in 1956, played my freshman and sophomore years and part of my junior year until a foot injury caused me to miss a month. Upon return to the team I lost my starting position and not too eager to sit on the bench I ended my mediocre basketball days and concentrated on baseball, playing all four years through 1960. Charlie “Tiger” Morris coached basketball, assisted by Gary “Turk” Colson, and two years of baseball. Archie Crenshaw succeeded Coach Morris my junior year in baseball and Ken Dugan’s first year as baseball coach in 1960 was my senior year. I also ran track on a limited basis in 1958 as a sprinter under Coach Colson.”

What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?

“There are many of course. We had two outstanding baseball teams. A local sportswriter stated that our 1957 team was the best college team in Tennessee. We won the Western Division title beating MTSU in a playoff for the western division title of the Volunteer State Athletic Conference, but lost the overall championship to Lincoln Memorial, the Eastern Division champ.

"Our 1960 team again won the eastern division title; we played a best two out of three game series against Carson Newman for the conference championship. We won the first game easily but lost the second game 2-1. John “Iron Man” McCord pitched both games on the same day. Carson Newman won the deciding game. On a personal note, I had high professional baseball ambitions in 1958 and was thrilled to learn that New York Yankee Hall-of-Famer Bill Dickey (according to The Tennessean newspaper) had come to Nashville’s Onion Dell, home of the Bisons, to scout three Bisons, Bob Sayle (pitcher), “Tubby” Gardner (shortstop) and myself (outfielder). My professional aspirations ended with a torn ACL. In 1985 however I was honored and gratified to be selected by Coach Ken Dugan as an outfielder on his “All-Time Bison Team” in his 25th Silver Anniversary year.

"The most memorable basketball trip occurred in December 1958, one of the coldest and snowiest ever, to Texas on a run-down Greyhound bus that had no heat. We were all issued a blanket and good luck on departure from Nashville. To cap it off we lost all three games to Abilene Christian, Harding-Simmons and on the way back to Ole Miss.”

Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?

“In basketball, it was assistant “Turk” Colson who was an up-and-coming coach who everybody knew one day would succeed in a big way as he proved in later years when his teams won 563 games at four NCAA schools. In baseball it was Ken Dugan whose record speaks for itself.”

What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?

“A few things I learned outside of the classroom are that athletics and academics are a tough combination to contend with, don’t lay down for a snooze after basketball practice because you’ll wake up the next morning in your street clothes, don’t miss too many chapel sessions as they will take away some of your quality points, don’t take an ill-advised trip to the Mardi Gras if you value your scholarship, and never drop an accounting course when you are making a D because the next time you take it you might make an F.”

Who was your favorite professor? Why?

“No contest. Eugene “Fessor” Boyce, a friend of every student and one of the finest Christian men I ever knew, or hope to know. Lipscomb University owes a great deal to this man, as do I.”

Where do you live now?

“My wife and I live about four miles from the Lipscomb campus south off Granny White Pike. My email is Raydickerson05@comcast.net and I check it at least once every 3 weeks.”

Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?

”I have been retired for six years, make that semi-retired, as I keep my 6-year-old grandson when he is not in school and have done so since he was a year old. I retired as director of the Research and Planning Division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development after thirty-two years. Our department recruited industry for the state of Tennessee which included Nissan and Saturn among hundreds of other businesses. In my division we provided whatever data a business prospect needed concerning the state and/or local communities and we also conducted studies to determine what types of businesses we wanted to attract that would thrive in Tennessee.”

Tell us about your family.

“I have been married to Sandy Frost Dickerson for 40 years. She is director of marketing for Earl Swensson Associates and has not stopped my allowance just yet. We have two children, Scott, age 37 who works in pharmaceutical research, graduated from Furman University and is a single parent of Vaughn, our only grandchild. Vaughn is in kindergarten at Franklin Rd. Academy. Our daughter, Melanie age 34, is a graphics artist, a graduate of Miami University, the only one of six universities that did not offer her an art scholarship-go figure-and is married to Mike Oliva, an Indiana University grad and currently a real estate tycoon. They live in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area.”