Rhonda Stewart is an IT project manager and much of her work day hours are spent in meetings. She also is a devoted aunt to her eight nieces and nephews. Stewart is a 1998 inductee into the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame. She became the first-ever All-Conference and All-District player in Lady Bison history and was selected as VSAC Most Valuable Player in 1984. She also became the first Lady Bisons player to score more than 1,000 points. She spent some time this week talking with Lipcombsports.com.
What years did you play basketball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played from 1980 to 1984. I was one of the first athletes to play for Frank Bennett and graduate after four years. Trish Duty was an assistant coach for three years. Trish was an incredible person. I really loved her. She was a jewel for sure."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"That would be playing all four years with Nina Pedigo Carroll. It is a good memory. Nina and I played very well together.
"I was an Inside player. She played on the outside. We had a good rhythm on the court. It was a great experience."
Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb?
"When I walked on campus with my Mom I knew immediately that was where God wanted me to be. I was from Murfreesboro, but I didn't know that much about the school at the time, but I knew that was where I was going to go. God led me there.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Coach Bennett and Trish Duty. They were great in teaching us basketball and the skills we needed. They also instilled good values in us as people. They are people with great values.
"You would think he would be low key but Coach Bennett could get fired up. We knew who was in charge. A funny story with him is on Halloween one year he came out with a mask on and wore it the whole time while running us in practice the whole time. He was having fun, but at the same time he was really getting after us.
"He always had our backs. He taught us what we needed to know. He was even-keeled. He didn't get as flustered as a lot of coaches can get. He gave us a steady confidence to do what we needed to do.
"He expected a lot of us. We wanted to give him that because of the way he was with us. He knew each of our personalities. He knew what each of us needed to be motivated. If I was in slump yelling at me would make me worse. He was there to support and encourage me. He really got to know us and who we were as people.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I would say the time spent with my teammates and friends from the things we did in the dorm to going to the state fair every year. We would go down to night court. The people and the things that we did are what I remember the most."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"It would be the foundation of relationships being the most important thing in life from my relationship with God to my relationship with other people like my family and friends. Those relationships are what get you through the ups and downs of life.
"I think it is the culture there…being grounded in faith. The Bible classes really start to mold your faith and your world view of things. When I talk about the ups and downs of like if I didn't have my relationship with God and with my family members and friends those things would be difficult to navigate."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"One of my real favorites was Rubel Shelly and his Bible classes. I learned how to back up with truth the things I knew about the Bible and my faith. In that sense I could stand on those truths the rest of my life versus what your parents instilled in you and taught you.
"I remember watching a video of him when he had a debate with an atheist. That spoke volumes about why you believe what you believe."
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I was a business management major at Lipscomb with a systems minor. That is exactly what I do today. I am an IT project manager for LifeWay Christian Resources. I am a senior IT project manager. I manage large systems implementations. I am the one that manages the work from the business and technology areas.”
Tell us about your family.
"I am single. My mother, Peggy, and two sisters, Myra and Pam, live in Murfreesboro. I have a brother, Brad lives in Atlanta. I have eight nieces and nephews."
My email address is email@example.com.