Prominent figures in Grand Bahama expressed appreciation for legendary Bahamian Sports Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, during his Testimonial Banquet at the Grand Lucaya Pavilion Saturday (December 7) evening.
McPhee was honoured by the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association (GBSPA), for his 60-year long career of mentoring the youth through sports and education.
To this end, several persons who were touched by McPhee’s influence over the years, shared positive words about their experiences with him.
One of those individuals was Free National Movement representative (FNM) David Thompson, who stated that the McPhee family adopted him when he first came to Grand Bahama.
“We have a long history together,” he shared, revealing that McPhee supported him through political campaigns, attending events and even creating campaign paraphernalia, including buttons.
“Those buttons really helped me a great deal,” Thompson said.
Thompson added that despite the many differences they may have had, he and the McPhees have maintained their friendship.
He took the opportunity to commend the McPhee family for all their contributions to Grand Bahama community and by extension The Bahamas. “You all work hard for Bahamians.”
Ministry of Education District Superintendent Ivan Butler also told attendees that McPhee was his good friend and mentor.
“Much of my success in basketball has been as a result of knowing Coach ‘Moon’ McPhee,” he said.
He added that many of his former players went to McPhee for additional training.
Butler furthered that as an educator, McPhee was more than just a coach.
According to Butler, he advised him on many occasions.
“He insisted that as an educator I knew my players, I knew where they lived, I knew their situation at home and that was his contribution,” he said.
Butler added that McPhee was committed to his pupils and spared no expense when it came to assisting them in various ways.
He told attendees that McPhee thought nothing of giving his students a ride home, buying them shoes and giving them the last dollar in his pocket.
Butler noted that McPhee was just as dedicated and generous as a friend.
“Moon will give you the last dollar in his pocket,” he said.
Former Grand Bahama Catholic High School (CHS) Principal Joseph Darville, longtime friend of McPhee said, he has known the coach for decades.
Darville noted that he learned many things about McPhee over the years of their friendship, including his fears. “Moon hates flying and he hates sailing.”
He added that McPhee often said, the only airline he trusted was Bahamasair because it is “God’s airline.”
Darville disclosed that McPhee hated the ocean and being on boats if they were moving.
He furthered that his friendship with McPhee consisted of helping many young men on the island through their conjoined work in education.
“I’ve enjoyed so much working with ‘Moon’ McPhee,” he said.
He expressed that McPhee’s heart was overwhelming and gracious and that he was one of the most hardworking people he had every met.
McPhee’s banquet was also not short of family support; his wife of many years, educator Daisy McPhee, one of his daughters, Monalisa McPhee, and his twin brother Sidney McPhee were in attendance, along with other members of the family.
His sister, Sue Demeritte also shared kind words about McPhee during the banquet. She stated that her presence reflected a specific purpose, “To pay homage to a man I am proud to call my big brother.”
Demeritte noted that she could speak endlessly about McPhee but took the opportunity to commend Mrs. McPhee for her support.
She expressed that McPhee had a major, lasting impact on the country.
“Our brother has undeniably touched the country in a profound way,” she said.
McPhee’s other daughter Yolett McPhee-McCuin, who is Head Coach of the University of Mississippi Lady Basketball Programme, could not attend the event.
However, she and her husband, Kelly McCuin, sent special messages of tribute to the father and father-in-law, respectively.
McCuin stated he learned so much from McPhee, including how to be a good husband and father, and was grateful for his presence in his life.
Sponsors for the event included FOCOL, the Grand Bahama Port Authority and several others.
President of Creative Works Public Relations, Peter Adderley served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
Adderley stated that McPhee has honoured over 200 other Bahamian sports icons, himself.
“All he ever wanted to do was help others and honour others,” said Adderley.