Coach Richard Mahone always knew he wanted to play basketball. He vividly remembers the day his Dad put up a basketball goal in their yard when he was a little boy. That one gesture was the beginning of a career that took him further in life than he could ever imagine.
“I loved playing basketball on the school playground with my friends, and my dad noticed that,” he said. “I was in the fifth grade when I became a part of my first team.”
Mahone went on to play in junior high school. By the time he made it to high school as a star student athlete, he began to realize the possibility of him having an opportunity to go to college on a basketball scholarship.
“Having a scholarship within my reach really motivated me, and I became the first college student in my family,” he said. “While in college, I had a desire to coach. I’ve often thought about the coaches I had over the years and how they inspired me and were great mentors. They had such a positive influence on me, and I wanted to have the same impact on my players.”
Mahone achieved that dream, having mentored numerous young men who are now coaches themselves, doctors, firemen, and so many other professions. He says coaching basketball was about so much more than the game.
“Basketball was the catalyst for me having an opportunity to touch people,” Mahone said with emotion. “Not only that, but the players really touched me. I’ve worked with some of the greatest players. I am very fortunate to have coached some student athletes who have gone on to be successful. It wasn’t me. It was the type of student athletes we brought in. It just made the job rewarding. It was really never a job for me. I enjoyed doing what I was doing.”
Mahone is one of three honorees being recognized at Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC) Foundation’s Hall of Fame event on March 12. The awards recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their professions, their communities, and CVCC. Coach Mahone is being recognized in the Distinguished Athlete category.
“It’s a blessing to be recognized, and I’m just overwhelmed that I was selected. That means that people really appreciate what you have done,” he said with a laugh.
Mahone retired in 2019, after 15 years as Head Coach of the men’s basketball team at CVCC. He graduated from Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia, where he earned a basketball scholarship to Fort Valley State University (FVSU). Mahone scored 47 points in a single game at FVSU, which remains the record for the most points scored. While playing basketball at FVSU, he earned a bachelor of science degree in Health and Physical Education. Mahone earned his master’s degree in Health and Physical Education at Georgia Southwestern State University. He started his coaching career on the high school level at Spencer, Columbus, and Carver High Schools and was named High School Coach of the Year 16 times. Mahone’s collegiate career included three years as an Assistant Coach at Columbus State University and 15 years at CVCC as Head Basketball Coach.
“As a coach, I always wanted to be firm, fair, and consistent with my athletes. My philosophy with coaching is that we’re a team. There’s no one big person in the program. We’re family. We work together, and we pray together,” he said. “I never dreamt of this happening to me, and I just give all the praise to my Heavenly Father for bringing me a long way and putting people in my life that made me successful.”
Mahone is a husband, father, and grandfather. Besides recognizing that his faith played the most important role in his success, he also credits the support of his family and his wife, Rita.
“She has been my rock,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many basketball trips she made and all the things she did to support me. She was right by my side.”
Mahone will be honored along with Russell County Commissioner and Auburn University Emergency Manager Chance Corbett, who will receive the Distinguished Alumnus award, and the Late Dr. Rickey Huffstutler, former Administrator at CVCC, who will be recognized for Distinguished Service. The Hall of Fame event includes a silent auction, dinner, and entertainment. This evening of food, fun, and fellowship is set for March 12, 2020, at the National Infantry Museum located at 1775 Legacy Way in Columbus, Georgia. Tickets are $75 and sponsorships for the event are available. For more information, contact David Fletcher at 334-291-4938.