Former Roane State basketball star honored for Hall of Fame induction

Bernadette Mattox

Bernadette Mattox

Bernadette Mattox, a star basketball player at Roane State Community College in the 1970s who has had a ground-breaking and successful coaching career, will be honored at the college’s Jan. 26 basketball games for her induction into the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Roane State’s women play Dyersburg State at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, and the men follow at 4 p.m. Games are held in the gym at the college’s Roane County campus in Harriman. Mattox will be honored at halftime of the men’s game.

Mattox was inducted into the TCCAA Hall of Fame in 2012. A native of Philadelphia, Tenn., Mattox graduated from Loudon High School in 1977. She began her college basketball career at Roane State, graduated in 1979, and followed her coach, Andy Landers, to the University of Georgia.

Mattox (formerly Bernadette Locke) became Georgia’s first female athlete to earn All-American and Academic All-American honors. Mattox stayed at Georgia, serving as an assistant coach under Landers beginning in 1985.

She made NCAA history when she became the first female to serve as a Division I assistant for a men’s team, beginning a four-year stint under coach Rick Pitino at Kentucky in 1990.

Mattox was named an assistant athletic director at Kentucky in 1994, and in 1995, she became the first African-American to coach Kentucky women’s basketball. She led the program for eight seasons, including a 1998-99 campaign when the team recorded its first 20-win season and NCAA Tournament appearance in nearly a decade. In 2003, Mattox became an assistant coach with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.

Mattox received the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Achievement Award in 2007, and she was named Roane State’s outstanding alumna in 2007.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kbsquare Karen Eckel Bridgeman

    Ron had the pleasure of covering Bernadette and her twin sister, Juliette, when they were in high school and then when they were RSCC starters. He was the publisher of the Loudon County News Herald at the time (and yes, small-town newspaper publishers covered high school and community college basketball games back then). Bernadette and Andy Landers moved on to Georgia long before we did, but Andy’s still here! Congrats to Bernadette on this honor — RSCC has produced some remarkable grown-ups, and she certainly is one of them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/johnhuotari John Huotari

      Thanks for the additional info, Karen. I didn’t know Ron used to work at the Loudon County News Herald.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kbsquare Karen Eckel Bridgeman

        He was publisher when the then Tom Hill-owned Lenoir City News bought the Loudon County Herald — he oversaw the creation of the LCNH. Went from there to Roane County News, then to The Oak Ridger … etc., etc., etc. It’s been an interesting business over the years! Cops, courts, county government — with some excellent girls’/womens’ basketball thrown in on the side.

        • http://www.facebook.com/johnhuotari John Huotari

          I also didn’t know Tom Hill’s history with the Lenoir City/Loudon County paper. Thanks again for sharing.

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