Where are they now? Deborah Spencer Garner
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
By Mark McGee
Where are they now? Deborah Spencer Garner

Deborah Spencer Garner was a shooting guard for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons from 1988-92. She played on the first Lady Bisons team to win a conference championship in 1988-89 and also was a member of the first Lady Bisons team to play in the NAIA National Tournament in the 1989-90 season. She left a legacy both on the court and in the classroom. In 1991 she was an All-Conference performer. She was also a three-time Conference Scholar Athlete in 1990, ’91 and ’92. She is the eighth all-time scorer in Lipscomb's NAIA era with 1,494 points. She was 13th all-time in assists with 393. Saturday she was honored as a `Lipscomb Legend’ prior to the Lady Bisons basketball game with Stetson. She spent some time after the game talking with Lipscombsports.com.

What years did you play basketball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?

"I played basketball at Lipscomb from 1988 through 1992. My coach was Frank Bennett. April Ezell was an assistant coach."


What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?

"My sophomore season we beat teams every game on the road to make it to the NAIA National Tournament. They started calling us the 'Killer Bs' because we were beating people on the road. That was just unheard of in our conference, that we could go somewhere else and win so many games. We got to travel to all these different places to play. It was a fun experience. My teammates were such quality people. That made the experience fun.

"We just felt that sense of pride and accomplishment. It wasn't so much getting there but how we got there. We went on the road to win and flew to New Orleans at the last minute to win a game to get to the National Tournament. It put in our heads that we could do this year-in and year-out. We still had great seasons my junior and senior years. The players and teams to follow knew mentally they could come into the program and be successful. I am so glad those girls carried on from where we left off."


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

"Coach Bennett and April really had their hands into everything involving the basketball team.

"Don Meyer was a big influence on me. During the summer after my seventh grade year I went to Huntsville, Ala., which was not far from where I lived. Coach Meyer was the guest speaker and special coach. From that point forward my basketball mentality changed.

"As a soon to be eighth grader I knew who Coach Meyer was, how he motivated and how he taught. He talked to my Dad after the camp was over and told him I needed to come to Nashville for Lipscomb's camps. He thought I would benefit from that. 

"The next summer I was at Lipscomb's camps and came back every year through my junior year. Coach Meyer was a huge influence. He was the head men's basketball coach while I was here at Lipscomb, but he had a huge influence on me. Even though you didn't play for him, you could hear what he was saying and what he was instilling in his players. We all listened to what he said and how he did things."


What impressed you the most about Coach Meyer?

"His attention to detail. The aspect of goal setting and being so mentally prepared for whatever might happen. The things he taught were all things that carried over off the court as well as into the classroom and how you treat people.

"Years later I can still remember things he said when I was a camper that I wrote in my notebook."


What are some of your memories of basketball camps at Lipscomb?

"Celeste Peacock, Kim Satterfield and Rhonda Stewart from the women's basketball team were counselors. They were quality women and they were athletes molded together. I thought that is the kind of person I wanted to be. They would push you and motivate you, but they would hug you and love you at the same time.

"We always wrote letters to our campers after camp was over. We would send each of them a personal note.

"Philip Hutcheson (Lipscomb athletic director) sent me notes. He was one of my counselors and my coach. The counselors wrote notes to follow up with the players they had worked with. We were pen pals for the longest, about a year-and-a-half. So he had a big influence on me also. I saw his character and his work ethic.

"Being an eighth or ninth grader, and having a college player taking time out of his day to write me a note specifically answering questions I had written him, had a huge impact on me. It was always encouraging. He probably doesn't realize how many times he wrote to me, but that made a huge difference."


What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?

"In the quad on Tuesday nights we would have singing. Everybody would come around, get in a big circle and sing and praise. It was wonderful. 

"It was a good outlet. I could get away from studying. I wasn't practicing. It was a neat thing to come to with teammates or with friends that weren't on the team. It was a nice, relaxing time."


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

"Probably just showing kindness and love to people. I had been away from home some before coming here, but that freshman year everybody is away from home.

"I was the only one on the team from Alabama. But I just immediately felt at home. People genuinely cared about you and showed love to you. That had the biggest impact."


Who was your favorite professor? Why?

"Charles Frasier. I was an accounting major. He was a former basketball player at Lipscomb. He would take notice of how we did in a basketball game. That gave us common ground.

"He brought the real life aspect of accounting into the classroom. He was also my adviser so he had a huge impact on me. I just loved the way he taught and the way he interacted with us as a class.

"The next favorite would have been swimming with April Ezell. I took that as an elective my senior year. That was fun"


Where do you live now?

Scottsboro, Ala.


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

"I work at Lanier Ford, a law firm. I am over their accounting and billing department. I have been there 14 years. "


Tell us about your family.

"I am married to Alan Garner. He ran track at Lipscomb. He is in education with our city school system. He is over federal programs and curriculum.

"We have two children. Spencer is a junior in high school. Emily is in the seventh grade."


My email is dgarner@lanierford.com.