MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - In the days leading to the 2012 Georgia College Athletic Auction, Saturday, April 14 at 6 p.m. in the Centennial Center, Bobcat Nation will sit down with a few current and former Georgia College student-athletes for a few personality profiles.
The Athletic Auction helps to support student-athlete scholarships and other capital projects for the athletic department. Individual tickets, which admit two people, can be purchased for $125 and include free food and drinks along with entry to the $10,000 reverse raffle.
The next student-athlete is former golfer Matthew Yonz (2007-11). Yonz was an academic standout for the Bobcats, winning Academic All-America honors and the Senior Scholar Award from the State System of Georgia. He also put up a team-low score at the 2010 NCAA Regional.
Being on a collegiate team helped me learn to prioritize my time. Athletics and academics were very important to me, but I didn't want to spend all my time studying and playing golf. I had to learn not to procrastinate on my schoolwork or my practice so I would still have time to enjoy the college experience.
What are your plans for the future and how will this scholarship help you reach these goals?
Currently, I am an actuary working at Cavanaugh Macdonald Consulting in Kennesaw, Ga. Because I was receiving an athletic scholarship, my parents didn't want or need me to work during the school year. So being able to receive an athletic scholarship allowed me the extra time during the year to focus on my schoolwork.
What does the GC Athletic Department mean to you and how has it helped you thus far?
The Georgia College Athletic Department allowed me the opportunity to pursue a dream of mine--to be a collegiate golfer. I was and still am grateful for that opportunity. The GC athletic department enabled me to build many relationships when I was at GC. I became friends with many of the other athletes at GC. Also, the golf coach--Jimmy Wilson--has a very good relationship with many professors at GC. Having him as a mutual friend with the professors made approaching and befriending the professors much easier.
What are some of the learning experiences you’ve taken away from your time as a student athlete at GC?
Now that I have graduated, my biggest takeaway is not to take the opportunity to be an athlete at GC for granted. I went to GC with the intention of transferring to UGA. And after I struggled at golf my first two years, I nearly did so. Now I am thankful I didn't leave because the memories I have made as a collegiate golfer at GC are more satisfying and unique than anything I could have done at another school as a non student-athlete.
How have you personally seen the Athletic Department grown since you have been here?
The athletic department has tried to increase the support from the student population at GC. When I was at GC, nearly every sports team was very competitive, and many were ranked nationally. However, most students didn't know the sports teams at GC were any good. The athletic department has tried to involve the student population much more in the recent years by trying things like tailgating before games, having sororities decorated paw prints in the parking lot, and TV giveaways at half-time of basketball games.
I grew up in Waycross, Ga, which is a small town in south Georgia. I won the Region 1-AAAA golf tournament as a junior in high school. I graduated from Ware County High School in 2006 as the salutatorian. I was a member of the 2010 Peach Belt Champion golf team at GC. I then graduated from GC in the Spring of 2011 with a Chemistry and an Applied Mathematics degrees. I now live in Atlanta, Ga where I work as an actuary.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/BobcatSports and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.