Title: Director of Athletics, Men's Head Basketball Coach
College: State University of New York College at Brockport
Georgia Highlands College welcomed Phil Gaffney in August 2011 as the college's new athletics director and men's basketball coach. Gaffney comes to GHC from Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina, where he held the position of athletics director since 2005. He also coached men's basketball at GTCC, as well as Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York, Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, New York and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland.
Gaffney has enjoyed success coaching at the Junior College level setting the record for most wins in a season at three different schools, Guilford Tech (28), Mohawk Valley (27), and Columbia-Greene (22). All three colleges achieved top 5 National rankings under his direction. Gaffney has been named Region Coach of the Year six times. He has coached six All-Americans, and eight Region Players of the Year. His teams have amassed over 350 wins in his 17 years as a head coach. Five former players went on to play professionally.
He started the athletic program from scratch, building it into a nationally known program. During Gaffney's tenure as Director of Athletics at Guilford Tech, three of his four athletic teams earned national rankings. Three teams won Region X Championships, two athletes were named Division I All-Americans. Three different coaches received Coach of the Year honors.
Gaffney holds a Bachelor of Science in physical education from the State University of New York College at Brockport.
Title: Assistant Director of Athletics, PHED Program Manager
College: Georgia Highlands College
David Mathis enters his 20th year at Georgia Highlands College as Assistant Director of Athletics and PHED Program Manager. In addition to his duties as Assistant Director of Athletics, Mathis coordinates all labs for the PHED Department on multiple GHC locations, as well as supervising all PHED community programs held on the GHC Floyd campus.
Mathis is the Tournament Director for the Georgia High School Association invitational, regional and state basketball tournaments held at GHC each year. Under Mathis' leadership as Tournament Director, over $150,000 has been raised for non-traditional student scholarships.
Mathis is also the Camp Administrator for the Foundation Camp, a program for at-risk males ages 10-14. The program offers academic and athletic opportunities each summer at the GHC Floyd Campus. There is no cost to the participants for the camp.
Mathis was named GHC Alumni of the Year in 2012, Organization Advisor of the Year and GHC Staff Community Involvement Award in 2011 and the Vivian Benton Staff Person of the Year in 2002. He was also named Floyd County School's Business Partner of the Year in 2005 and the 2012 Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority Horace Anthony Volunteer of the Year Award. David serves as Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Authority.
Mathis is married and has two grown children.
Title: Administrative Assistant, Athletics
College: Georgia Highlands College
Lorrie Rainey is graduate of Georgia Highlands College with an Associates degree in Psychology. She has been working with the Athletic department at Georgia Highlands since July of 2012.
Title: Women's Head Basketball Coach
College: Georgia Southwestern State University, Nova Southeastern University
Georgia Highlands College welcomes Brandan Harrell as the head women's basketball Coach. Harrell comes to Georgia Highlands College from South Georgia Technical College in Americus, where he served as the head coach since the inception of that institution's women's basketball program in 2004.
During his tenure, SGTC's Lady Jets compiled an overall record of 152 - 108 and a Georgia College Athletic Association record of 70 - 32. During the past five seasons, the team compiled an overall record of 118 - 48 and a GCAA record of 56 - 10. The team also earned two GCAA championships, three National Junior College Athletic Association Region XVII tournament runners-up, one NJCAA Region XVII championship, and one trip to the NJCAA Division 1 national tournament. In addition, Lady Jet's players earned eleven GCAA All Conference awards, ten NJCAA Region XVII All Tournament awards, four GCAA Player of the Year awards, four NJCAA All-American awards and one Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-American award. Harrell was honored as the GCAA Coach of the Year in 2008, 2010 and 2012, and has served as the GCAA women's basketball committee chairman for five years. His women's basketball program has enjoyed graduation and transfer rates of nearly 80 percent.
Harrell earned his Bachelor of Science in education from the Health and Physical Education program at Georgia Southwestern State University. He holds a Master of Science in athletic administration from Nova Southeastern University. He and his wife Cara have four children.
Title: Women's Asst. Basketball Coach
College: South Georgia Tech
Demetrius Colson has been named as the assistant coach for the women's basketball program at Georgia Highlands College. Demetrius is a native of Donalsonville, GA and a 1999 graduate of Seminole County High School. Demetrius played college basketball at South Georgia Tech from 2001 - 2003 where he earned All Conference honors in 2003. Upon Graduation from South Georgia Tech with an Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems, Colson joined the Georgia Southwestern State University Hurricane's team. Demetrius returned to South Georgia Tech in 2009 as an assistant coach for the men's basketball team. In 2010, Demetrius became an assistant coach for the women's basketball program at South Georgia Tech where he help guide the team to a 29-4 record in 2010-2011 and a 26-7 record in 2011-2012. Demetrius' duties will include post development, recruiting, strength and conditioning, scouting and game planning.
Title: Head Softball Coach/Director of Intramurals
Georgia Highlands College has appointed native Georgian Melissa Wood as the women's head softball coach. Wood comes to GHC from North Idaho College, where she served as assistant softball coach and physical education instructor. While there, she helped the team break the home run record with 79 in one season. She also coached four National Junior College Athletic Association all-conference team members and a NJCAA all-region team member.
Before going to Idaho, Wood coached and assisted with intramural experiences at Berry College while she was earning her Master's Degree in Education. Despite her challenging schedule, she graduated with honors. Wood also helped start the viking program which began it's first season in 2009. By the second year, Berry's team had its first winning season, improving in a number of statistical categories including: batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, fielding percentage, walks and stolen bases.
Wood began her college career in 2004 playing for the Florida State Seminoles, where she was a two-year starting catcher for the Top 25-ranked softball team. She was ranked in the top-seven, of seven different offensive categories in the ACC during league games. She tallied five game-winning hits and threw out 11 attempted base stealers in route to a Super Regional runner-up finish against Arizona State, and assisted the team to a No. 15, NCAA Division I final ranking by the end of her sophomore season.
In 2006, Wood transferred to the University of Georgia where she played for two seasons with the Bulldogs as a catcher and first baseman. In her first year with the program, Wood became a member of the SEC Honor Roll and led the team in RBIs (46). In 2008, she led the team in HR's (11), was awarded the UGA Defensive Player of the Year, was nominated for the UGA Leadership Award, and was named to the SEC All-Community Service team. Also in 2008, the bulldogs ranked 12th nationally after they were defeated by No. 6 UCLA in the WCWS Super-Regional. In May of 2009, Wood earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the institution.
In 2008, Wood was drafted to play professional softball in Austria for the Dornbirn Sharx. In 2008 the Sharx won the Gold Medal in the Austrian League and the Silver Medal at the European Championships in Prague. Wood was named Most Valuable Player at the European Cup after starting in all 10 games and ranking in the top-three in most offensive categories. In 2009, she returned to defend the Gold Medal in Austria and helped the Sharx improve a spot on the podium as they were awarded the Gold Medal at the European Cup in Legnano, Italy. This was the first European Cup Gold Medal for an Austrian Team.
Both years in Europe, Wood assisted the Austrian National and Junior National softball teams. Duties included instruction, scouting, and strategic implementation. Wood also helped coach/teach physical education classes in local Austrian schools.
"I am very fortunate, and excited to have been given the opportunity to start the new softball program here at Georgia Highlands". Wood continues, "I look to start a premier NJCAA-Division I program that strives to send all of our student-athletes to four-year institutions where they will complete their degrees while playing softball for various top-notch programs."
Wood lives in Cartersville, Georgia. Along with starting the softball program, she will also coordinate the institution's intramural sports.
Title: Head Baseball Coach
College: State University of New York at Brockport
Marra comes to GHC from New York State, where he taught physical education for 22 years and coached for 12 in a high-school environment. Most recently, he coached baseball at Sullivan County Community College in New York, where he resurrected the college's baseball program, which had not fielded a team since 1986.
In creating that program he outlined a three-year plan for success. In the program's second year the college's team reached the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XV Final Four, then won the NJCAA Region XV championship the following year. Marra also served as assistant director of athletics and as an adjunct instructor in the physical education department at Sullivan County Community College.
While coaching high-school teams, Marra was named the 2004 American Baseball Coaches Association Region I High-School Baseball Coach of the Year. He was named coach of the year three times by the Kingston Daily Freeman and once by the Times Herald Middletown Record. He was also recognized by his peers as the as the American Baseball Coaches Association NJCAA Region XV Baseball Coach of the Year in 2008.
Marra holds a Master of Education from the State University of New York at Cortland and a Bachelor of Science in physical education from SUNY Brockport. He and his wife Ann now reside in Cartersville, Georgia.