The Lees-McRae College athletic department, and Director of Athletics Craig McPhail, are pleased to announce the 2012 class of inductees into the Fred I. Dickerson Hall of Fame. The College will induct three new members into its hall of
fame on Friday, October 5 as part of its homecoming festivities, welcoming new inductees Manuel Jessup (’76), Mike Eades (’83), and Rita Smith.
“This event has become one of the highlights to the homecoming weekend at Lees-McRae,” said McPhail. “It gives us a great chance to honor those who did great things while representing the Green and Gold, but also their accomplishments since leaving Banner Elk.”
Jessup stared for two seasons in the Green and Gold, averaging nearly 16 points per game while shooting at a 48.8 percent clip from the floor. Jessup enjoyed perhaps his best season with the Bobcats during the 1975-76 campaign, averaging 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while posting a field goal percentage of 51.7 percent.
A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Jessup went on to star at Coastal Carolina University, scoring 1,124 points in during the 1976-77 and 1977-78 campaigns, ranking fourth all-time at Coastal in career scoring average (19.1). Jessup posted the fifth- and sixth-highest point single-season point totals in that program’s history, while ranking ninth all-time in steals (147).
Jessup has gone on to a successful career in the business world, holding several top management positions with Chico’s women’s clothing, Sara Lee Corporation, and Levi Strauss & Co., including a stint as both the Corporate and Global Vice President of Human Resources at Sara Lee. The Winston-Salem, N.C. native holds a Master’s of Business from Wake Forest University, and is a member of the Advisory Board for Nations Association Charities Inc.
Eades established himself as one of the best floor generals in program history during the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons, dishing out 283 assists in 54 career games for the Bobcats. During his career in the Green and Gold, Eades set a school record with an average of 5.2 assists per game while ranking second all-time in program history in career helpers. Eades went on to start at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for one season, averaging 7.3 points in 26 games.
He has gone on to a successful career as a leading basketball official in the NCAA, regularly officiating games in the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference. He has officiated countless NCAA March Madness games, including this spring’s Elite Eight matchup between Cincinnati and Ohio State in Boston, Mass.
Smith has been a cornerstone of the Lees-McRae athletic department for the last 28 years, serving the College in various capacities as the Chair for the Division of Sport and Wellness Studies, Director of Athletic Training Education, Assistant Professor of Athletic Training Education, and Senior Woman Administrator for Athletics. Smith was instrumental in the development of the athletic training program at Lees-McRae, building the program from the ground up and serving as the College’s first full-time athletic trainer.
She has served the athletic training community for over 30 years, working countless camps and holding various positions both as an athletic trainer and an instructor for sports medicine/athletic training. She has been a licensed and certified athletic trainer for over 25 years, serving at Lees-McRae for all but one year.
“I could not think of three more deserving people than Mike, Manuel and Rita for this honor,” praised McPhail. “They have represented Bobcat Athletics in such a manner their achievements must be recognized. As we speak about role-model student-athletes becoming successful leaders, here are three great symbols for what we talk about daily with our young people.”
This year’s inductees will be honored at a Hall of Fame dinner on Friday, October 5, 2012 in MacDonald Dining Hall, which is located on the main College campus. Tickets are priced at $25 for adults, and $12 for children aged 11 and under. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Michelle Scott, Director of the Lees-McRae Fund, by email at
or by phone at (828) 898-2489.