Written by Brad Kirtley
Austin Peay Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Ron Shumate, the former Chattanooga and Southeast Missouri basketball coach, had a favorite saying about fans: “They are with you win or win.”
That certainly is not the case with this year’s newest Red Coat Society inductees, Hal Mathews and Terry Griffin. Through thick and thin, great and not-so-good seasons in APSU athletics, both became Austin Peay fans early in their respective lives and remain so as adults.
The Red Coat Society, now in its 12th year, serves as a Hall of Fame of service for the Governors Club, APSU’s Athletics booster club.
Mathews and Griffin will be honored at halftime of the Governors-Murray State men’s game, Saturday. A reception for them will be held at 3:30pm, Saturday prior to the Lady Govs-Racers contest.Mathews grew up an Austin Peay fan, with his dad owning the local Harold Mathews Nissan auto dealership. The younger Mathews worked at the dealership beginning in 1973, taking over as parts manager while he was still in high school. His passion for APSU athletics was such that his second date with his wife, the former Mary Beth Griggs, was a road game at Murray State.
Mathews worked his way up from parts manager to general manager until Harold Mathews Nissan was sold in 1998. During that time the dealership provided courtesy vehicles to APSU coaches; Hal provided Roy Gregory a car during his tenure as coach and later as development director.
Mathews has been a Govs Club member since 1988 and member of the executive board member since 1998. Over the years he has been heavily involved in all aspects of Govs Club fundraising from well behind the scenes whether it has been the annual Governors Golf Classic (committee member and player), Govs Club membership drive, the Governors Bass tournament or selling raffle tickets—helping raise countless dollars He attends almost all Govs Club functions. Now as a realtor (since 1999) in Clarksville, Mathews/Crye-Leike Realtors serving as a Governor Sports Network radio sponsor.
His sons, Jeff and Chris, served as ball boys at APSU basketball game and both attended baseball and basketball campus on campus. You can routinely find the Mathews traveling to home and away basketball and baseball games and home football and volleyball contests.
Griffin transferred to Austin Peay from Volunteer State in 1978 and literally has been involved with APSU athletics and the Charles Hand family since. In fact, he worked for Ideal Distributing while attending APSU and became a full time employee upon graduation in 1981—currently he serves as sales director in the Clarksville and Hopkinsville markets.
As a result, Griffin has been working with Austin Peay either directly or indirectly since in a variety of capacities. Often times he has served as the conduit between the Hand Family and APSU athletics, especially regarding the usage of the Bud Barn at the Hand Farm for the Governors Golf Classic dinner, Basketball Fundraisers along with football reunions as well as Ideal Distributing’s annual corporate sponsorship with APSU athletics. Griffin also has aided with the annual Governors Bass tournament.
This year the Hand Family also purchased a suit in new Governors Stadium.
He has been a Governors Club executive board member stretching almost two decades and served as President-elect in 2005-06 before assuming the Govs Club President role the following year.
APSU literally has been ingrained into the Griffin family. His wife, Debbie, who works for the state, continues to take classes at APSU. Their daughter, Amanda and husband, Justin, both are APSU graduates, while son Allen is a second-semester freshman.
To be eligible for the Red Coat Society, an individual must be a member in good standing of the Governors Club for at least five years, must have supported the athletic programs at Austin Peay through financial contributions or participation in Governors Club fundraisers and other events, must have supported more than one sport both at home and away whenever possible and must be recognized within the APSU community for his association with Austin Peay athletics.