11/17/11 — MOC Hall of Fame inductees ready

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MOC Hall of Fame inductees ready

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 17, 2011 1:48 PM

The phone rang.

Chris McDonald answered.

"Mac, how are you doing?" asked the caller, who turned out be Bill Clingan, former men's basketball coach at Mount Olive College.

McDonald said he was doing fine.

"We're out here on vacation in California, and it's so beautiful," said Clingan. "Give me your address and I'll send you a postcard."

McDonald fell for the ploy -- hook, line and sinker.

Three days later, a letter arrived instead of a postcard. MacDonald opened the envelope and learned he was part of the sixth class of inductees slated for enshrinement in the Mount Olive College Athletics Hall of Fame.

McDonald grabbed his phone.

Clingan answered.

"You fooled me coach," laughed McDonald. "You got me big time on that one."

Joining McDonald for Saturday's induction will be Greg Grantham, Michelle Matthews, George Kornegay and Dawn Johnson. The ceremony begins at 3 p.m. in the Lois K. Murphy Regional Center and is part of the 46th annual Pickle Classic.

"We are very pleased to be able to induct this group of five individuals into the Mount Olive College Athletics Hall of Fame," said Jeff Eisen, director of athletics. "Each of them made outstanding contributions to the success of our athletics program and are extremely worthy of this honor."

A three-time all-Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference performer and a preseason All-American as a senior, McDonald still holds the school's career rebounding record (890) and is fourth all-time in career scoring (1,725 points).

McDonald is the current head coach at Central Cabarrus High School.

"Oh man, obviously I was happy and thrilled ... very surprised," said McDonald. "It's something that I was hoping was going to happen. It goes along with everything that I stand for and everything that I preach to my guys that if they work hard enough, they can go out and do anything they set their minds to doing."

Grantham seemed shocked by the news.

The athletics director at White Oak High School and a Wayne County native, Grantham couldn't fathom the idea of enshrinement at his alma mater.

"When Jeff called me, the first thing I asked him was I being punked by my former teammates at Mount Olive because they were good for it," said Grantham. "I was a slow white guy who couldn't jump and that's not the kind of guy you induct into a Hall of Fame. Honestly, I'm very honored, but wonder if they have empty spaces on the wall they need to fill up because I don't know if I'm very deserving."

Grantham earned all-conference honors during the school's NAIA era in 1982. He amassed a 3.4 grade-point average and carried that knowledge into the high school ranks.

He was named the Associated Press North Carolina boys' basketball coach of the year in 1996 and served as a head coach in the N.C./S.C. All-Star Boys' Basketball Classic.

"I played with some players who were more deserving than myself, but I guess it's also about what you did afterwards," said Grantham. "I've been blessed to coach some really good players and I've had some great assistant coaches. I'm very humbled."

Kornegay's presence is felt everywhere on campus.

He is chairman of the MOC Foundation Board -- a fund-raising arm of the college. Kornegay Arena is named after his parents -- George and Annie Dail -- and the facility plays host to several Trojans athletics teams along with numerous other events.

And there isn't a spring day that doesn't go by that Kornegay can't be seen walking around Scarborough Field -- home of the Trojans' baseball team.

"His favorite saying to me is 'stick with the gameplan today' which is always score one more run than your opponent, it doesn't matter how many you get," said MOC head baseball coach Carl Lancaster.

Kornegay was instrumental in getting Lancaster a fieldhouse and having lights installed at the facility, which has played host to two NCAA Division II regionals.

"He's very well-known, very influential and has always been more than willing to help the entire college as well as the athletic department, especially," said Lancaster. "He's very dear to me and I couldn't have a program reach the heights that we've reached without the support that he has given us over the years."

Johnson is getting immortalized into a second Hall in just little over a year. An avid softball player, Johnson was inducted into the N.C. USSSA Hall of Fame last fall. She was a two-time female athlete-of-the-year at MOC and emerged the Trojans' top hitter in 1986.

Matthews earned spots on four consecutive all-CVAC squads and received All-American recognition as a senior. She pitched the Trojans to their first-ever regular-season CVAC title as a freshman, and the CVAC tournament crown as a senior in 2000.

She still holds school records in batting average -- single-season (.456) and career (.47); career wins (72), career shutouts (19) and career strikeouts (560).