Testimonial banquet to honor legendary Coach McPhee set for Sept. 13

Ballroom two at the Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama, will come alive on the evening of Friday, September 13, with tributes, satire and generally good wishes, when the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association (GBSPA) showcases one of the truly great Bahamians, the venerable sports mentor Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee.

A resident of Grand Bahama for over four decades, McPhee became entrenched in sports development from a very early age in New Providence, his birth island, mentoring fellow junior players in baseball, softball and basketball. Coaching, seemingly, was his life destiny because his primary interest was always to ensure that the skill process was followed as best as was possible.

Over time, this product of Centreville in New Providence, the Valley Community to be precise, made a huge difference for hundreds of families by coordinating programs that afforded scholarships or prepared young boys and girls for educational and sports advancement. Many families saved lots of money because of benefiting from scholarships McPhee arranged. Their children were able to move comfortably through significant development phases of their lives without funding having to come from the respective households.

McPhee contributed to sports development also through administration. He has headed the national basketball program, he restructured the basketball culture in Grand Bahama and he remains active in sports administration as the founder/coordinator of the HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) initiative.

As has been mentioned in this space on a number of occasions, two native daughters and a native son are collectively the prime example of how valuable McPhee has been to the country with his God-given gift of a unique coaching talent.

There is his daughter, Yolett McPhee-McCuin. She is one of the more noted sports mentoring figures in the entire United States. As the head coach of the women’s basketball program at the University of Mississippi, McPhee-McCuin is at the highest level of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) coaching.

Then, let me point to Jonquel Jones. The 6’ 6” center/forward is one of the finest female basketball players in the world, at present. She has dominated play in Asia, winning championships in South Korea and China. Jones is also one of the prime Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) stars. A two-time all-star selection, Jones has captured the Most Improved Award and the Best Sixth Woman Award in the WNBA. She established a season rebound record in the WNBA and is on her way to a second title in that department. Jones also leads the WNBA this season in blocks and is a top-10 scorer. She got her start with Coach “Moon” McPhee.

Last of his three foremost basketball students, but not the least, is Chavano “Buddy” Hield. He plays with the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He had a breakthrough season during his third year, and is considered one of the up-and-coming stars of the NBA. Indeed, McPhee’s legacy is so associated.

The GBSPA in a statement called Coach “Moon” McPhee an “underappreciated” contributor of the highest order.

Following is the GBSPA statement in part: “It is with great pleasure and a strong sense of pride that the executives of the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association decide to honor Coach Gladstone ‘Moon’ McPhee in a very special way. He has done much for this country and received very little in return. He has long been underappreciated. Others who have been dwarfed by him in terms of contributions to nation-building, have received national honors. Coach ‘Moon’ McPhee has been overlooked, for sure. Well, with the testimonial banquet, we intend to sensitize a nation to the incredible job he has done in providing a pathway to quality adulthood for so many boys and girls.”

The GBSPA can be reached at telephone number (242) 439-4277 for further information. In New Providence, former Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Permanent Secretary Calvin Balfour (823-3079) is coordinating the tables for those who wish to join in and honor the legendary coach.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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