|Jeff Mason, CGCC Athletic Dept Founder|
“We could not think of a more appropriate individual to make our inaugural inductee into the ACCAC Hall of Fame,” shared Ed Yeager CGCC current Athletic Director. “Beyond Jeff being the most deserving of this recognition, this created an opportunity for us to honor all that he has done and everything that he means to CGCC athletics. Our fine athletic facilities including our fields, gymnasium and most recently the Coyote Center are due in large part to Jeff’s leadership and commitment over the years.”
In 1998, Mason was named founding Athletic Director at CGCC and brought with him a rich background in athletics that set his standards of excellence at the highest levels. After competing as a pro ball player for the Yankees, Cardinals and Giants from 1967 – 1974, Mason poured the same passion and performance into the world of high school athletics as a coach, teacher and eventually athletic director. Between the years 1975 and 1997 Mason led Apache Junction varsity baseball team to back to back state championships and was named the Arizona Republic Baseball Coach of the Year both years. From 1983-1993, he was the varsity baseball coach at Chandler High School. In 2007, Jeff was named to the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Russ Luce, current Head Baseball Coach at CGCC and long-time associate and friend of Mason, is another beneficiary of his efforts at CGCC and in the community. “We are all so fortunate that Jeff chose to bring his wealth of experience, knowledge and personality to CGCC. He was handed a tremendous task in building this department and he attacked it with both determination and grace,” reflected Luce. “It is rare that we have the opportunity to express our gratitude to the people on whose shoulders we stand today, and that is why it is with such enthusiasm that we nominate Jeff for the ACCAC Hall of Fame.”
As the founding CGCC Athletic Director Mason was charged with bricks, mortar and everything else that goes into building a collegiate-level program. Specifically, Mason had to work with the community to determine which sports to offer and find and negotiate facility agreements for off-campus competition. Later, he oversaw the design and construction of facilities on campus, he brought CGCC into the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association. He hired coaches and staff, assisted with recruiting, assured that student athletes and coaches conformed to standards, and led fundraising efforts.
When asked his inspiration to get up and go to work every day, Mason’s response is fitting of our first hall of famer. “The best part of my job was by far the student athletes, getting to know each one, watching them compete as Coyotes and creating memories to last a lifetime.”
The CGCC athletic department will recognize Mr. Jeff Mason on his induction into the ACCAC Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Wednesday January 27th at 7pm at the Coyote Center. The ceremony will take place between the women’s basketball game and the men's game. Our opponent will be Cochise College.