If you’ve never met him, you’re missing out. Mark French is one of Lipscomb Athletics’ best supporters, a former Bison Basketball junior varsity player who claims “I was so good I compressed my entire college athletic career into one year.” Meet him just once and you’ll note his laugh, his quick wit, and his unmistakable self-deprecating humor. He’s a brand-new member of the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame, and he spent a few minutes this week with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you compete for Lipscomb?
My entire collegiate athletic career was one year (1959-60) when I played junior varsity basketball for Coach Charles “Tiger” Morris.
Why did you attend Lipscomb?
To be honest, I’m not really sure. My aunt graduated from Lipscomb in 1950, and she encouraged me to check it out. I contacted Coach Morris and arranged to make a visit/basketball tryout. At the tryout I played better than ever before, and unfortunately, better than I would ever play again. “Tiger” said he had a half scholarship remaining and I could have it. I replied, “Sign me up.”
I graduated from Lipscomb in August, 1963 with a B.S. degree. My major was Accounting, and my minor was Economics.
What is your favorite athletic memory at Lipscomb?
My favorite “non-participant” memory took place in December 1962, my senior year. The Bisons played the first college game in Nashville’s new Municipal Auditorium and upset the heavily favored Western Kentucky. That was a huge victory at the time.
My favorite “participant” memory occurred the only year I played, in 1959-60. We had a great time on the junior varsity team. Our coach, “Tiger,” also coached the varsity, and there were several times when we were handed off to substitute coaches: ‘Fessor Boyce, who was well known in the Athletics Department, and believe it or not – Dr. Choate, who taught Bible at Lipscomb. In comparison to Coach Morris, their coaching styles were unique, to say the least, and I will save those stories for another time.
Who influenced your athletic career at Lipscomb?
Obviously, Coach Morris had the most influence. He was a really good guy and coach. ‘Fessor Boyce was my hero, and we remained good friends for many, many years until his death on Christmas Day in 1996.
What’s your favorite non-athletic memory from your time here?
My best memory, without question, is meeting Mary Owen from Sparta, Tennessee. She was two years behind me in school, and we dated my senior year. I graduated one Saturday night in August, 1963, and we were married the next day!
What is (are) the most valuable lesson(s) you learned in your time at Lipscomb?
I learned several lessons in my years on campus:
- Hang out with the right folks.
- Try to be as unselfish as possible.
- As you climb the ladder of success, be kind to those you pass by because the chances are good you’ll meet them again on your way back down.
- Don’t seek recognition for good deeds or accomplishments.
- Lipscomb’s motto, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” is needed more today than ever before.
Who were your favorite professors?
I had a long list of really good instructors, but to keep it simple: Archie Crenshaw (freshman History), Ira North (freshman Bible) and Axel Swang (numerous Accounting courses.)
What do you do now?
I’m a retired CPA after 36 years working for KPMG and Corroon and Black/Willis Group. Today I attend as many Lipscomb athletics events as possible, and I play a little golf. Mary and I have travelled quite a bit over the years, utilizing our children’s inheritance – thank you, boys!
Tell us about your family:
I’ve been married 54 years to Mary, and we have two sons: Mark and Paul. Mark is a partner in KPMG CPAs in northern California. He and his wife, Kenna, have twin 16-year-olds, Olivia and Walker, who are very involved in water polo. Paul is manager of account management with Aetna Insurance in Nashville. He and his wife, Renee, have one son, Jason (3), and they are hopeful of adding Jason’s younger brother, Eli, to their fold.
FAST FIVE FINISH:
- Favorite TV show or movie: Shawshank Redemption
- Favorite sports team: Other than Lipscomb – Mississippi State
- Pet peeve: People who have pet peeves
- Dream vacation spot: Switzerland
- Best car I’ve owned: They’ve all been clunkers.
If you wish to contact Mark, you may email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org