Stockton University named the basketball court in its Sports Center “Gerry Matthews Court” in honor of New Jersey’s winningest coach in a halftime ceremony held during Stockton’s Jan. 21 game against Ramapo College. Matthews retired as Stockton’s head men’s basketball coach before the 2016-17 season.
The University is grateful for Matthews’ 30 years of dedication and service to Stockton’s men’s basketball program. He has made a difference in countless lives and I was honored to present Matthews with a crystal basketball trophy.
Cheers and whistles erupted from the crowd as I announced: “Congratulations, Gerry Matthews – this is for you. This court is now officially named the Gerry Matthews Court.”
“This is a great honor,” said Matthews in front of family, friends, former colleagues and players.
“We did some great things, and we have a lot of memories here; we cut the nets down here,” he said, referring to his teams’ multiple NJAC championships. “I can’t think of a better place to have spent 30 years coaching than at Stockton.”
Matthews thanked the Stockton Athletics program, the Stockton community and his former players, including alumni spanning the 1980s through today.
Then, Matthews thanked his wife, JoAnne, for her supporting role in Stockton’s men’s basketball.
“Before Stockton, I was a high school coach on the varsity level for 13 years. When we reached Christmas this year, we actually went away… this was the first time in 48 years I didn’t have basketball,” he said. “I can honestly say, she never complained about basketball during those 48 years. She may have rolled her eyes at me, but she never complained. We never would have been able to do any of this without her.
“All I can say to everybody is: thank you,” said Matthews, in closing.
Nearly 40 alumni members of the men’s basketball team attended the event to honor their former coach, who has continued to be a mentor and friend to many.
The former Stockton players towered around Matthews, sharing stories of seasons past.
“We had a lot of laughs,” Matthews repeated as he moved from group to group, exchanging bear hugs with players and their families. “We had a lot of laughs.”