2018 Fannin County Sports Inductee Mandy Anderson scored more than 1,000 points during her basketball career at Fannin County High School between 1999 and her graduation in the spring of 2003. She then continued her basketball career at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia where she scored 1,138 points in a four year career with the Lady Eagles making her the only basketball player in the history of Fannin County to score more than 1,000 points at both the high school and college level.
When Mandy began her basketball career at Fannin High in the autumn of 1999, the Lady Rebels were coming off a State Championship season. The 1998-99 State Champs were a senior-dominated team so Mandy entered the program at the beginning of a ‘rebuilding’ process. Mandy made the varsity squad as a freshman and went on to start for the Lady Rebels for her final three years at Blue Ridge. On a team level, her high school career crested in 2002 when her team reached the semi-finals of the Class AAA State Tournament.
At Fannin High, Mandy played softball and participated in track and field, in addition to her primary sport of basketball. She played third base and shortstop for the Lady Rebels softball team while starting all four years. Her teams won Region Softball Championships in 2002 and 2003. In track and field she found that she had a natural ability to throw the discus. With very little coaching, she learned the techniques for that event and won two Region Championships and was the runner up the other two years. She had a third and a fourth place finish in the discus in the state meet during her high school career.
Basketball, however was Mandy’s first love and primary sport. She was very, very good at the sport and decided fairly early on that basketball would likely be her ticket to earning a college degree. She worked hard and was rewarded by being named to the Atlanta Tip-Off Club Class AAA All-State second team as a junior and again as a senior. She was named as her team’s MVP as a senior. She never missed a day of school in 12 years and graduated with honors in the top 10% of the 2003 Fannin County High School graduating class.
Mandy was an undersized post player (inside player) in high school and the college recruiters did not beat a path to her door. Coach Johnny Farmer helped arrange a try-out at Reinhardt University and Mandy was offered a partial scholarship. Rookie Coach TJ Rosene brought in nine freshmen in the recruiting class of 2003 and dangled the carrot of a possible full scholarship to a select few ladies who could make the grade. He took the group along with a few other possible recruits to Hilton Head in the summer of 2003. The girls lived and practiced together for a week. Mandy knew that her college future depended upon her performance in this mini ‘boot camp’ and that she put forth the very best effort that she could manage during that week. She was rewarded when, at the end of the camp, Coach Rosene rewarded her with a full basketball scholarship.
Mandy played in 124 games at Reinhardt during her four year career. She saw a lot of playing time as a freshman and started her last three years. Her best season was in 2005-06 when she averaged 14.5 points per game for the Lady Eagles.
Mandy Anderson is an exceptionally bright young woman who has built a career from learning from every situation that has come her way in athletics. In high school, she says that she learned the meaning of intensity and will to win from mentor Johnny Farmer. She learned a great deal about the Xs and Os of the game from assistant Eddie Payne. She also credits Coach Payne for helping to instill much of her love for coaching. During her first two seasons at Reinhardt, she learned a great deal about advanced theories of the game including a working knowledge of the ‘Read and React’ Offense. After her second season at Reinhardt, however, she also learned that, basketball is a business. It was at that point that TJ Rosene, her coach, mentor and, in many respects, role model, moved from the women’s program to accept the position as head coach of the men’s team. For Resene, it was a sound move career-wise and he has gone on to great success as the head coach at NCAA Division 2 powerhouse Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia. Losing her head coach was difficult for Mandy, but she understood his reasons and learned from the experience.
Upon graduation from Reinhardt, armed with a Magna Cum Laude degree in Health and Physical Education, she began her career in teaching and coaching. She was soon offered an assistant coach position at Reinhardt and remained there for three years. She moved on to River Ridge High School for two seasons and then to Sequoyah High in Cherokee County where she was an assistant girls basketball coach for five seasons.
Mandy found that she preferred coaching at the high school level because there a coach was required to work with the material provided through the natural progression through the school system — or as Mandy phrases it “you play the hand that you are dealt”. At the college level, a coach was required to recruit players that hopefully would fit into his/her philosophy of the game. At the high school level, a coach worked with the players that came up through the school system and adapted a style of play to the talents of the players on hand. She remembers that Eddie Payne had voiced this philosophy during her days at Fannin County but did not fully grasp its meaning until she faced the same situation as a coach.
After five years at Sequoyah, in the spring of 2017, Mandy Anderson found herself at a crossroads in her career. She was becoming increasingly involved in the sport of CrossFit, both as a participant and as an instructor, and found that the time requirements of that endeavor coupled with the time required to fulfill her coaching duties were almost too much to fit into a 24-hour day. Fortuitously, a contact from her Reinhardt days approached her with the opportunity to become a basketball official with the GHSA. She decided to pursue that course, resigned at Sequoyah and is presently working toward becoming a basketball official at the middle and high school level for the upcoming 2017-18 hoops season. It is a male-dominated profession, but Mandy has the knowledge, confidence and general aura of ‘don’t mess with me, I know what I’m doing’ to be a success at this new opportunity in her young life.
Mandy lives in Woodstock, Georgia but visits her parents and two younger sisters in Fannin County often. Her mother was her first coach when Mandy was 7 years old and her sisters, Tasha and Stephanie, followed in her footsteps as outstanding basketball players at Fannin County High School. In fact the two younger ‘Anderson sisters’ both were good enough to play college basketball, Tasha at Brenau in Gainesville and Stephanie at Cleveland State. Tasha is currently the girls basketball coach at Fannin County Middle School.
Barely past 30 years of age, Mandy Anderson has already experienced quite a journey in athletics. In many ways, however, her journey has just begun.