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Austin Peay Red Coat Society to induct Three prominent Clarksville Auto Dealers

Austin Peay State UniversityClarksville, TN – Three prominent Clarksville automobile dealers, who have been strong supporters of Austin Peay State University athletics for decades, will be inducted into the Red Coat Society, Saturday.

Don Jenkins, owner of Jenkins and Wynne Ford Lincoln Honda ; Gary Mathews, owner of Gary Mathews Automotive Group, and James Corlew, owner of James Corlew Chevrolet Cadillac, will be recognized Saturday during halftime of the Governors’ Sears BracketBusters contest with Youngstown State. A reception also will take place 4:00pm, in the second level Governors Club Room. The trio will be honored with a red coat.

The Red Coat Society serves as a Hall of Fame of service for the Governors Club, APSU’s Athletics booster club. This is the ninth year for the Red Coat Society.

Jenkins has been a car dealer in Clarksville since 1971, going to work for his father, the late Vernon Jenkins. He has provided invaluable support to APSU and APSU athletics as well as the Clarksville community since. He is past President of the APSU Foundation and was co-chair of Austin Peay’s “Changing Minds, Changing Lives” Capitol Campaign, which raised $39.5 million for APSU. He is a member of the APSU Presidential Circle of Advisors.

In addition to providing vehicles to coaches, Jenkins has aided many Austin Peay athletics department projects, including the recent refurbishment of the men’s basketball locker room.

His dealership also provides van travel for Austin Peay’s golf teams. He also has been a longtime sponsor for the Governors Golf Classic and Governors Bass Tournament, the athletic department’s longest-standing annual fundraising events.

A 1958 Austin Peay graduate in business administration, Corlew played baseball for Leon Sandifer from 1955-58 and his continued love for the school and its athletic program has existed since.

After graduation from Austin Peay and serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to Clarksville and became an office manager for a local car dealer for almost four years. He then launched his own dealership in 1966, which eventually resulted in him being a franchised auto dealer in five different cities.

He became heavily involved in supporting APSU athletics during the early 1970s, in particular during the Lake Kelly basketball-coaching era, and has remained involved, helping with financial support in the annual fund-raising events, in particular, the musical concert series. He also is a sponsor for the Governors Sports Network and has provided transportation for coaches over the years.

Corlew sponsors two APSU memorial scholarships. He also is member of the APSU Foundation Board of Trustees and the APSU Tower Club.

Mathews began his professional career in finance before returning to Clarksville to follow his dream to become involved in the automobile industry. It began with a pre-owned automobile business and now today he is President and CEO of the Gary Matthews Automotive Group that includes the dealerships for Volkswagen/KIA, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep as well as Nissan and Suzuki in Clarksville.

His love for Austin Peay athletics was fostered during the James “Fly” Williams Era in the mid-1970s, when he attended most home and away games. That interest has continued through today.

He became an active Governors Club member and has supported Austin Peay Athletics and the University through contributions, fundraisers and transportation for the athletics staff. He also was a strong supporter financially of Austin Peay athletics concert series as well as the Governors Golf Classic. He also is an athletics corporate sponsor as well as the Governors Sports Network. His granddaughter, Lauren Yarbrough, is a member of the Lady Govs basketball team.

In addition, Mathews funded a scholarship for the Biology Department and served as a member of the APSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

To be eligible for the Red Coat Society, individuals must be: a member in good standing of the Governors Club for at least five years; have supported the athletic programs at Austin Peay through financial contributions or participation in Governors Club fundraisers and other events; have supported more than one sport both at home and away whenever possible and recognized within the APSU community for their association with Austin Peay athletics.


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