Alumni Hall of Fame
Congratulations to Our Mason Recreation Hall of Fame Inductees!
We want to recognize those individuals and groups who, through participation, support, or lifetime achievements have made outstanding contributions to Mason Recreation. These individuals and groups have helped bring recognition, honor, distinction and excellence to George Mason University and Mason Recreation.
Inductees are listed in alphabetical order.
|Nominee: Hussein Abou El Noor
Years with Mason Rec: 2016-2020
Position Held: Squash Club Head Coach and Head Instructor
Impact on Mason Rec: Hussein “Coach” Elnour served as the Squash Club Head Coach and Head Squash Instructor for Mason Recreation from 2016 to 2020 . In fact, Mason Rec’s squash program, and use of the squash courts themselves, were virtually nonexistent until the arrival of Hussein.
His passion for the sport and love of the game drew him to our team, but it was his infectious personality and desire to change lives with the sport that drew people to him. Hussein really was “Squash” at Mason. He was a champion for the game, and he encouraged anyone and everyone to join him on the court and try their hand at the sport he loved. His dedication not only created a culture and community around Squash at Mason, but also made a huge positive impact on the department as well. With him on our team we grew to offer lessons in Squash, hosted Squash tournaments, took students and staff to Squash tournaments around the U.S., and also boosted memberships sales for our faculty and staff members.
We were lucky to have Hussein share his talents and passion for Squash with us and the Mason community. Not many people knew the full scope of his past achievements, but he was a world-class Squash professional with a record of national and international achievements and recognition, both as a player and as a coach. As a player, he was the 1985 Seiko Open Champion, the 1982 Jeddah Open Champion, and competed in the 1982/1983 Air France Open Championship. His coaching achievements included coaching the 2012/2013 Saudi Arabia National Team, and the 2011/2012 Egypt National Team.
NIRSA: 2013, 2015, 2017
Western Kentucky Flag Football Regional: Official (All Tournament-2014), All Tournament Committee (2015, 2016)
UNC-Wilmington Flag Football Regional: Official’s Committee (2015, 2016)
Campbell University State Flag Football Tournament: Official’s Committee (2015, 2016)
IRSA: 2014 (Attendee), 2015 (Presenter-Programming through the Lens of the Participant)
Illinois Basketball Regional: Official (All Tournament 2014)
NoCRSA: 2015, 2016 (Presenter-Employee Retention Through Competition)
NoCRSA State Basketball Tournament: (Wake Forest-2016-Official’s Committee)
VRPA: 2017, 2018
NoCRSA: Chair-Extramural Sports 2016-2017
Certified Parks & Recreation Professional: 2019-2021
Impact on Mason Rec: Chris began working for Mason Recreation in the fall of 2009 in his first year at George Mason. He began as a flag football official and eventually worked as an intern for the department through the sport management internship program. His senior year he worked as a Program Assistant under the tutelage of Paul Bazzano and Colby Grant. Chris assisted in all parts of the Intramural Program including training officials, facilitating alumni golf tournaments, scheduling teams, running captain’s meetings, etc. He also created an Intramural All-Sports point system for Greek life and residence life. Chris used his on-campus connections to recruit staff members and teams into the program. He also assisted in the mentorship of several supervisors who later became interns and program assistants for the Intramural Program.
In his senior year, the Department afforded Chris the opportunity to attend the Annual NIRSA Conference in Las Vegas. He was able to network with other students and professionals and eventually obtained a Graduate Assistantship at Indiana University. After completing his Master’s degree and graduate assistantship, Chris continued his collegiate recreation career at Appalachian State University where he served as the Coordinator for Competitive Sports; managing the intramural, club sport, and youth camp programs. Today, Chris serves as the Athletics Director for the City of Charlottesville’s Parks & Recreation Department, facilitating the delivery of youth and adult sport to the Charlottesville community. Chris credits many of his professional successes in the field of sport administration to the guidance he received at George Mason with Paul Bazzano and the Mason Recreation community.
Impact on Mason Rec: Leah Ching began working at the Aquatic and Fitness Center as a lifeguard at the end of her freshman year. With her pool operator’s license, she was able to move up to head guard shortly after. Leah spent a few days per week opening the pool for the swim teams, other days closing the facility, and leading swim meets on the weekends. She was also a Water Safety Instructor, and with that certification she also taught group and private lessons. Leah became the point person for improving stroke technique for members of Special Olympics. Through her continued hard work and vast knowledge of the AFC, Leah was promoted to Manager on Duty, while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Nursing. Leah continued to work at the AFC after graduation. After leaving Mason, Leah began her nursing career at the University of California Los Angeles, where she has been for the last 15 years working in the operating rooms at the level 1 trauma hospital/transplant center.
Leah is incredibly grateful for the work/school/life balance her five years with Mason Recreation gave her. Her time with Mason Recreation instilled helped instill the importance of a great work ethic and teamwork, which has followed her through her professional career.
|Nominee: David Gaskins
Years with Mason Rec: 2017-2022
Position(s) held: Executive Director
David Gaskins was Mason Recreation’s Executive Director for nearly 5 years, from November 2017 to August 2022. Under David’s leadership there were numerous accomplishments in the department. Here are just a few of the highlights.
Under David’s leadership the department was reorganized and these 6 new positions were added in Mason Recreation.
- Associate Director of Programs, Well-Being, and Assessment
- Assistant Director of Facilities and Risk Management
- Graduate Assistant of Aquatics
- Graduate Assistant of Outdoor Adventures
- Graduate Assistant of Outreach
- Graduate Assistant of Well-Being
David stressed the importance of a strong culture, especially in the search process. Most Mason Rec employees agree there were dramatic improvements made over his 5 years.
David’s greatest strength was his belief, support, and mentoring of his staff members. He has mentored numerous employees, continuing to do so long after they had left Mason Rec. David was always willing to make time for discussions with Pro staff and student wage and wage employees.
David worked with the Associate Director of Business Services in implementing a Budget Proposal process which has been integral in the success of the department and the professional development of our employees.
David led the department through COVID-19 pandemic. Established our return to play/reopening plan, which was shared widely throughout the NIRSA community, serving as a guide to many of our peer institutions.
Led the department in developing a 5-year strategic plan.
Valued input from all stakeholders. Under David’s leadership the Mason Recreation Advisory Board saw a significant increase in their participation and recommendations.
After his departure he has continued to support Mason Rec employees and will contribute financially to the department.
Impact on Mason Rec: Ebonie Gibbs was primarily a fixture within the Facilities/Operations team during her tenure with Mason Recreation. She worked with us for three years and during this time was part of an influential student group that began laying the foundational brick for our department. She quickly soared to leadership positions as her commitment to not only her own development but to those of her peers was recognized within the first semester of her employment. She was a part of the powerhouse three (Ebonie Gibbs, Trent Houston and Donovan Tyson) that quickly became fixtures at conferences (both Nationally and Regionally) as presenters on leadership topics and the impact employment in University Recreation has on building leaders. In addition to her dedication and passion for the department as a student, Ebonie has been an active alum. She has given her time back to current students by attending staff meetings to network with current employees, she participates in alumni panels and most recently has served as a mentor to fellow alums in assisting with career advice and interview readiness. Ebonie received her Master’s Degree from Georgetown University in 2015 in Sports Industry Management. Ebonie is currently the Senior Director of Events at Axios.
|Nominee: Colby Grant
Years with Mason Rec: 2004-2016
Position(s) held: Operations Manager at the AFC and Skyline
Colby was extremely influential in helping to grow the Intramural program from its infancy to the largest number of participants that we have ever had. He also was a driving force in creating the Mason Recreation Golf Outing. When Colby was the Operations Manager at the AFC/Skyline he was someone who student staff could get behind. His fun attitude and wonderful personality made coming into work always fun and exciting. He gave his employees so much advice, about work and also life as well! He personified Mason Recreation while he was there and the Mason Rec Hall of Fame would not be complete without him in it.
Impact on Mason Rec: Trent Houston was one of those rare students that walked through our doors as a freshman and work for us for the duration of their Collegiate career. Trent started with intramurals as an official and was quickly identified as an employee with developing leadership skills. He moved on to work for both intramurals and facilities in leadership positions for both areas. Alongside two of his peers (Ebonie Gibbs and Donovan Tyson), he was an instrumental part of laying out the student development foundational bricks for our department. He attended and presented at multiple conferences to include NIRSA and VRSA. Presentation topics always focused on the impact that working within recreation can have on building leaders. Trent saw the impact that he made on his peers when he was recognized as the departments first Employee of the Year recipient in the Spring, 2015. In addition to his commitment to the department as a student, Trent has been an active alum. He has attended operational staff meetings to connect with current students and has assisted in planning Homecoming activities. Trent is currently an Assistant Manager with Cambridge Associates.
|Nominee: Patty Jarrett
Years with Mason Rec: 2003-2017
Position(s) held: Group Fitness Coordinator, Fitness Instructor
Established the group exercise program as we know it now. Mentored over 100 departmental instructors during her employment. Involved in planning and execution of health fitness expos, facilitating fitness classes to garner attraction to the fitness program at George Mason University. Facilitating fitness challenges was a particular success for maintaining interest in fitness for current fitness students and gaining new entrants to fitness as a way of life. She worked with the coaches and athletic trainers for multiple George Mason University team sports to create targeted sport specific functional athletic improvement classes and techniques to boost GM athletic team performance. Her extensive network of fitness instructors and best practices throughout the NOVA area allowed George Mason University to always have top instructors teaching the latest fitness techniques, types of classes, and fitness management practices for business. She personally coached and mentored students to become fitness instructors, always giving high priority to student instructor training and mentoring.
Men’s Rugby Club
The Men’s Rugby Club was the first organized sports club and athletic team to represent George Mason University. The club was started in September 1965 by Rick Stafford and George Wiltshire, GMC Freshmen, with sponsor support and encouragement from Dean of Students Meb Turner. Whilst looking at the bulletin board in the Ordinary (Student Lounge) one day, they spotted an invitation from GMC student Bob Aitcheson, who was recruiting players for the Washington Rugby Club. They called Bob, received information on practice times and days, and subsequently joined in their first WRC practice session which was held on the Ellipse in Washington, DC.
They were so excited about the game, they encouraged others to join us learning from the WRFC. Jody Taylor, Ron Swanson, and Nick Scholl (now deceased) were in the first group to join them. Later in the fall season, others fell in beside them and the nucleus of the GMRFC was formed. Despite the fact that they did not have enough players for a full 15 player side, they were able to get some game experience by playing for the WRFC third side during the fall 1965 season.
In spring of 1966 they were fortunate to get coaching from Jerry Taylor, whom had played in New England. This provided the impetus to recruit enough players to form a full side, then schedule and play their first games as GMRFC. The team picture on page 97 of the 1966 Advocate (GMC yearbook) shows the initial side as 14 players, although Nick Scholl and 1 or 2 others were missing that day. Players included Rick Stafford, George Wiltshire, Ron Swanson, Jody Taylor, John Simon, Bob Wilkins, Tom Kreutzer, Steve Furimsky, Isaac Unciano, Dave Dugan, Mike Ludwig (now deceased), Marty Goldrick, Fitz Fitzpatrick, George Lollar.
Major: Sport Management Minor: N/A
Years at Mason: 20011 – 2015
Years with Mason Rec: 2013-2015
Position(s) held: Intramural Official, Program Assistant, Intern
Committee(s) served: Hiring Committee
University of Georgia NIRSA Regional Basketball Tournament – 2014
University of Maryland NIRSA Regional Basketball Tournament – 2015
Rated: All Tournament Official
University of Central Florida NIRSA Regional Basketball Tournament – 2015
Rated: All Tournament Official
NIRSA National Conference – 2015
NIRSA National Basketball Tournament – 2015
Impact on Mason Rec: Brian began working for Mason Recreation in the spring semester of 2013 during the start of the intramural basketball season. Brian was a member of Cardinal Basketball Official’s Association beginning in 2006 and brought a desire to help educate his peers on the available opportunities through athletics.
Brian was encouraged by Mason alumni, Chris Carr, to apply to be a program assistant and pursue opportunities through NIRSA. With the help and guidance of Paul Bazzano, Jeremy Hans, Willie Ehling, and the entire Mason Recreation staff Brian experienced a great deal of success through the NIRSA professional development opportunities available to student members. Brian attended 3 NIRSA Regional Basketball tournaments and was rated as a top official at two of them. In 2015 Brian was the first student official to earn a spot on the official’s roster at the NIRSA National Basketball tournament.
As an intern with the Recreation department Brian helped to advance the alumni golf tournament to be a revenue driver for the student development fund under the direction and guidance of Paul Bazzano.
Since leaving Mason Brian has worked in the financial services industry as well as maintaining a connection to the sports industry through a part-time opportunity with the Washington Nationals. Brian was a member of the 2019 World Series Washington National’s staff. Brian currently works for Carson Group, a financial planning and wealth management company, as their Associate Vice President of Strategic Partnerships while also pursuing his Certified Financial Planner certification.
Majors: N/A Minor: N/A
Years at Mason: 1987-Present
Years with Mason Rec: 2000-2015
Position(s) held: Crew Club Head Coach (1987-Present), Coordinator of Club Sports (2000-2015)
Impact on Mason Rec: Bob has served as the Head Coach for the Mason Crew Club since 1987 and has helped grow the club into one of the best clubs at Mason. He has started an endowment for the club and is helping build a foundation for years to come. His alumni love giving back to the organization because of how much he contributed to their experience as a student. Bob also helps organize several major fundraising regattas for the club each year. Bob embodies the Club Sport coaching ideal as someone who promotes the growth and development of officers and members through mentorship and supportive guidance. Beyond his involvement with Mason, Bob is a pillar of the rowing community in the region. Bob also served as the Coordinator of Club Sports with Mason Recreation from 2000-2015. The achievement he is most proud of from his time in this position is having overseen the expansion of the Club Sports program from a modest 6 teams to 26 teams. Bob’s work set much of the foundation that has allowed for the 34 teams and more than 900 participants the program has today.
Impact on Mason Rec: In her time working with Mason Recreation Rachel assisted in creating policies and procedures regarding Intramural games (rules etc.). She scheduled trainings for all employees as well as scheduled officials to work their shifts. She participated in various on campus clubs, many intramural teams, and was a member of both the club soccer & club basketball teams.
Rachel served on the Facilities Hiring Committee, Mason Recreation Advisory Board, Student Leadership Team, and Intramural Sports Hiring Committee. Rachel presented at the April 2014 Ask the Students, then Hang On! conference in Nashville, TN. She attended the NIRSA annual conference in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, as well as the NIRSA Region 2 conference in 2015 and IM institute in 2014.
Her favorite memory of Mason Recreation was realizing that she was part of a system bigger than herself. A system that affected so many people (one-time gym users, the returning IM participant, Athletic teams, etc.), Mason Recreation served as something different for everyone. She had an impact on such a wide spectrum of people on campus, it gave her a sense of purpose and is where she found her passion. Mason Recreation opened up so many more doors for her which is how she found the events world and the work she currently does. The networks that Mason Rec provided her beginning as an eager freshman created lifetime relationships, and she is forever grateful for her time and the people at Mason Rec that shaped her future.
Impact on Mason Rec: Donovan Tyson started his career with Mason Recreation as an intramural official his freshman year and immediately started making an impact within the department. Donovan quickly moved into leadership roles within Intramurals as a supervisor before transiting to the Facilities team and working in multiple positions. He could be seen daily in the facilities either working a shift, training a new employee or speaking with departmental leaders on upcoming conferences or the next Advisory Board meeting. He was a “go to” for most of his peers whenever they had questions and was often referred to as “Mr. Recreation.” There weren’t many questions or situations he couldn’t resolve. Donovan took the lead on multiple presentation proposals to present at NIRSA and VRSA conferences. Topics focused on the impact that working in recreation has in building leaders. Donovan’s name along with two of his peers (Ebonie Gibbs and Donovan Tyson), is commonly referenced whenever discussing the growth and development of Mason Recreation and its commitment to student development. He is still active with the department as he has attended staff meetings to meet and connect with current students and has served on the Homecoming Planning committee. Donovan is currently a Real Estate Advisor for Compass.
Impact on Mason Rec: Merrissa did it all during her time at Mason. She was our first Graduate Assistant for the department and was able to make a seamless transition to a full-time member of the professional staff. She also led the Mason Recreation Advisory Board, presented at multiple NIRSA state, regional, and national events. Merrissa also served on various sports committees and worked in the National Club Soccer Championships Tournament. She brought a very contagious and positive attitude to Mason Recreation. Students loved working for and with her.