MACON, Ga.- Mercer University Director of Athletics Bobby Pope was inducted into the Macon Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday night during the annual ceremony at the Macon Coliseum.
"I'm humbled and very honored," said Pope. "I'm not sure I actually deserve it. To be inducted along with the quality of athletes and the other people associated with athletics in Middle Georgia is very flattering."
Pope had his plaque join those of 12 other honorees on the Wall of Fame in the Coliseum's foyer prior to the induction banquet in the Coliseum.
The dean of athletic directors in the Atlantic Sun Conference, Pope is in his 17th year at the helm of Mercer athletics.
During his tenure at Mercer, he has seen the growth of the program to 14 sports, as well as the addition of the first full-time coaches for men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis and cross country.
Facility upgrades have been a priority since he became athletics director, as evidenced by the state-of-the-art University Center, home to the men's and women's basketball and volleyball. The building houses all coaches' offices as well as locker rooms for all teams. Claude Smith Field, the home field for baseball, received a facelift in the fall of 2003. A new softball facility is on the drawing board and is scheduled to be complete in the very near future.
Pope is also very active in the A-Sun, having served two years as president in the late 1990's. He has served on numerous committees and currently is a member of the sports policy committee.
For nearly two decades, he was a sports reporter, director and sports anchor at WMAZ-TV. Pope called high school football and basketball games from the mid-60's through 1972 on WMAC-AM radio and began his involvement with Mercer athletics in 1970 when he was the "Voice of the Bears." He served as Mercer's sports information director from 1980-1992.
He remains very involved in the community, serving as treasurer of the Macon Touchdown Club as well as serving on the Mayor's Recreation Master Plan Committee and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Authority.
"Bobby Pope has been the voice of athletics for Macon and the Middle Georgia area for many years," said Mercer President R. Kirby Godsey. "As the athletic director at Mercer, he has successfully guided the University's 14 athletic programs for 17 years as the only charter member remaining in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Our athletic program is among the most highly regarded in the Conference. One of the attributes that sets Bobby apart as a successful athletic director is his desire for Mercer's student-athletes to succeed in the classroom as much as they succeed in the various athletic venues. This past fall semester, the cumulative grade point average for all of the Institution's student-athletes was 3.018. On behalf of my colleagues at Mercer, I want to express congratulations to Bobby for this very appropriate recognition."
A native of Thomaston, Ga., Pope graduated from Georgia College. He and his wife Carol have two children: Andy, a 1998 graduate of the University of Georgia, and Krissy, a 2001 Mercer graduate.