Mark Massey traveled from Texas to Lipscomb University to play baseball from 1968-71. He didn't realize at the time he would stay in Tennessee after graduating with a bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education. Like a lot of students at Lipscomb throughout the years he met his future spouse and eventually settled in her home county. Retired as an educator, Massey still works part-time for the Hardin County School System. He also serves as a city commissioner for Adamsville and closely follows the careers of his sons who are both high school coaches. He spent some time with Lipscombsports.com for this week's "Where Are They Now?" feature.
What sport did you play at Lipscomb? What years? Who were your coaches?
"I played baseball from 1968-71. I was an outfielder and relief pitcher. Ken Dugan was the head coach. Gary Davis was the assistant coach and Roy Pardue was the pitching coach."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"Obviously, it would have to be going to the NAIA World Series in 1971. We were the first Lipscomb team to do that and we were within an eye lash of winning the national championship.
"We beat State College of Arkansas 2-1 in the Region 5 Tournament. That was the game when Butch Stinson struck out 17.
"I told the team on the bus as we were going to Bill Meyer Stadium (Knoxville, Tenn.) that if we won I would throw my shoes over the right field wall. We won and I did throw my shoes over the wall. They were just about worn out anyway. I got a new pair for the World Series.
"Coming back to Lipscomb after we won the Area Tournament to put us in the World Series was a big thing. We were runner-up in the World Series and we were nicknamed the `Miracle Bisons' at that time. We were 44-18 that year. We had a good team. Going to the World Series (and earning a spot in the championship game out of the loser's bracket) kind of put Lipscomb on the national level in sports at that point."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"There is no doubt that coach Dugan had the biggest influence on my athletic career. He was so disciplined and so tough. It was almost like being in the military. You had to have your hair cut. You couldn't have any kind of facial hair.
"He didn't give me many compliments. He just expected you to get the job done. If you didn't, you didn't play very long. He was very demanding. He told me one time I could pack my bags and go back to Texas.
"He always said, `buy good stuff, take good care of it and you can build a program'. That stuck with me more than anything else. He had a tremendous influence on me. I had more respect for him when I got out of school than I did when I played for him. When they dedicated the field to him he asked me to come back and speak on behalf of the players. That was a big moment for me."
"I didn't have a place to live after I graduated. He turned his house over to me when he and Diane went to West Virginia to see her parents. He was just a great guy. He was such a competitor. Outside of my parents and the Lord, he was probably the most significant person to influence me."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"Finding my wife, Rosalind, at Lipscomb is the most significant thing for me at Lipscomb. We met in a physical education class. She had graduated from Freed-Hardeman when it was a two-year college and came to Lipscomb.
"There were a lot of people that cared about the students. There were a lot of people that cared about me and helped me along like Dr. Robert Hooper, Dr. Rodney Cloud, Dr. Duane Slaughter, and "Fessor' Boyce. They were really good people.
"Graduation was a significant event, especially for me. If it had not been for sports I wouldn't have been in college. My Daddy had an eighth grade education. He had to work hard of his life, Sports allowed me to go to college."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"Coach Dugan taught me how to work, how to be committed and how to do the job. The first guy I worked for was a very demanding principal and I always say I couldn't have worked for him had it not been for playing baseball for coach Dugan.
"I couldn't have made it in the world as easily had I not had someone as demanding as coach Dugan. He put me on the right path.
"I enjoyed Lipscomb. It was just a great experience."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"Dr. Cloud was one of my favorites. He was an excellent teacher in the Bible Department. He really loved baseball. He has as much to do with me spiritually as anybody.
"I had him for Ezekiel and Jeremiah. I could hardly spell those two names in college. I remember going over to his house to play ping pong. We talked about baseball. I made an A in both of those classes simply because he connected to me in such a way that I wanted to learn.
"In my major field Dr. Slaughter, Tom Hanvey, coach Dugan and 'Fessor' Boyce were all great guys and good teachers. Willard Collins was a significant person for me though I didn't have him as a teacher. I always appreciated him. I also enjoyed Dr. Hooper as a teacher."
Where do you live now?
"I have lived in Adamsville, Tenn., since 1974. My wife is from the lower part of McNairy County."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"Coach Dugan had brought me back to be an assistant basketball coach at Lipscomb and I spent a year there. I spent two years as a P.E. teacher at the elementary school. I started working on my Master's degree at Peabody and finished that degree at Memphis State (now University of Memphis) and what they call my plus-30 at Memphis State.
"I applied for the Adamsville basketball job and I got it in 1974. I coached there for five years. I became the principal for the next 18 years. In 1987 Adamsville was recognized as one of the top 10 schools in the state of Tennessee by Lamar Alexander and his Department of Education.
"I became assistant director of schools for McNairy County and served there for 12 years. I retired after 35 years in McNairy County in education.
"The last four years I have been working as a personnel director/supervisor part-time in the Hardin County School System. I am also a city commissioner in Adamsville."
Tell us about your family?
"We have two boys - Seth and John. Seth coaches basketball at Station Camp High School. Our youngest son, John, coaches basketball at Hardin County High School."
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.