Robert Kennedy said that “tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live”. Suzianne Green Pass, a 2017 Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame electee, met tragedy face to face while she was in the second grade at McCaysville Elementary School. That year her dad battled cancer and she stayed with her grandparents, some weeks with her mother’s parents and others with her father’s parents. Her maternal grandparents, Jack and June Simonds, still had four daughters at home and all played basketball at Hiwassee Dam High School in neighboring North Carolina. When her younger sister, Glenda and she were with the Simonds family, they went to Hiwassee Dam basketball games. It was there that young Suzianne really started watching and loving the game of basketball. Out of the tragedy of losing her father, Suzianne was placed in a situation to become exposed to the sport that became and continues to be a huge part of her life.
Suzianne began playing for a team at McCaysville Elementary in the second grade while her father was sick. He was never able to see her play so she used that fact as motivation to be the best that she could be for him. She played at McCaysville through the sixth grade. Her mother supported her participation in basketball and made sure that she attended every practice and every game. Suzianne says that her mother “made sure that she had everything she needed and that the honor of being elected to the FCSHOF is a representation of everything she has taught me — hard work and not giving up no matter how hard it gets”.
The high point of her early career came when she was chosen as a member of the sixth grade All-Star team. That team became the first team from Fannin County to win a State Championship of any type. She is quick to point out that Bernie Hodskins, Fannin County Recreation Department Director, provided for all of her team’s needs during that season.
After two years of junior high basketball at West Fannin, under the tutelage of Tammie Shinpaugh and Steve Phillips, Suzianne moved on to Fannin County High in the fall of 1990. She split time with the junior and varsity squads during her freshman year of 1990-91. She was named to the Gilmer County Junior Varsity Tournament all-tournament team that season.
Suzianne won a starting position for the Fannin County Lady Rebels as a sophomore and wasa standout performer for Johnny Farmer’s teams for the next three seasons. Her career at Fannin County was full of individual and team accomplishments. The top team accomplishment undoubtedly came during her junior season of 1992-93 when the Lady Rebels won the Class AA State Championship, the first high school state title in any sort in the history of Fannin County.
Suzianne was named as the Most Valuable Offensive player of that great team. As a senior in 1993-94she was the team’s leading scorer with a 19.5 points per game average and top rebounder averaging 11.3 rebounds per game. She scored 35 points in games against Murphy and Union County. She was selected as the Lady Rebel Most Valuable Player and received the ‘Chairman of the Boards’ award as the team leading rebounder.
Suzianne scored more than 1000 points during her high school career and was named to the Atlanta Tip-Off Club Class AA second team all-state squad as a senior. Her accomplishments were rewarded when she received a basketball scholarship play at Reinhardt Junior College in Waleska, Georgia. She earned two letters at Reinhardt, one in 1994-95 and another in 1995-96. She was team captain in 1995-96.After graduation from Reinhardt, Suzianne received another basketball scholarship from Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. She earned two more letters there. She was named as the team Best Offensive Player as a junior and was team captain as a senior.
After graduation from Piedmont, Suzianne returned to Fannin County as a teacher and also coached middle school cross country, high school softball, middle school basketball and JV basketball. She became the head coach of the Fannin County High School Lady Rebels basketball team in 2007, a position that she continues to hold at this time.
Suzianne is married to Blake Pass and the couple has a 6-year old daughter, Taber. Taber is named for Taber Spani, who was a standout basketball player for legendary coach Pat Summitt with the Tennessee Lady Vols. Suzianne Pass considers Coach Summitt and Johnny Farmer to be her primary coaching role models as she continues her career.