by Gene Marrano
More than 20 years ago a local group started a charity golf tournament to honor Don Holliday, a long time player. The proceeds go to an outstanding local high school student-athlete that also plays golf, to be used for college expenses. This year’s winner of the Don Holliday Memorial Scholarship is Macey Tyree from Lord Botetourt High School, who does not play golf for the Cavaliers – she plays varsity volleyball in the same season – while also sporting a 3.92 grade point average. Tyree does however play golf at Ashley Plantation, where she lives.
Tyree is a 4-year volleyball letterer and holds a number of state high school records. She’s been all-district and all-region in soccer, and also a 4-year basketball letterer for the Cavs. Ranked 25th in a class of 223, the graduating senior is also a VHSL Academic Excellence Award winner. Tyree was also a nominee for Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.
Tyree was the recent female winner of the B’Nai Brith award, given to outstanding student-athletes that also make contributions to the community. (Cave Spring’s Michael Cole won the male award.) “Community service means a lot,” said Tyree at the Holliday announcement. “I just like to give back to the community. You get to see how it impacts their life.” She especially enjoys working with young children. Tyree has volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, coaches a cystic fibrosis junior volleyball team and volunteers at her church.
“I’ve always liked kids,” said Tyree, who will not be playing golf at Virginia Tech – for one thing there is no women’s team for her to walk on to. Tyree credits her paternal grandfather (Ken Journell) for fostering her interest in golf. There’s another bonus as well: “you can play with people of all ages.”
When she saw her family gathered last week at Annie Moore’s Pub, Tyree realized she may have won the $20,000 Holliday scholarship that she had applied for. “It was overwhelming – I can’t really describe how it feels to have that much money towards college already paid.”
Tyree credits her parents with helping to keep her on track – she also works in addition to attending school and taking part in community service events. “I’m really glad I kept my grades up [as well]. It’s really paying off now.”
Holliday committee chairman Josh Mattox says the tournament, part of the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame organization, is the largest named scholarship event of the eight that take place annually. The RV Hall of Fame gave away $71,000 this year all told in scholarship money that was raised at various tournaments and on player’s circuits between the Roanoke Valley and Smith Mountain Lake. “It’s really incredible,” said Mattox. Some leave money for the scholarships in their will, he added.
In its 25th year now, Mattox said local high school golfers who are also good students look to the Holliday scholarship every year. “They know it’s out there.” Almost $300,000 in scholarship money has been given out over that time.
Mattox was part of the team that interviewed Tyree, who played on a junior tour in the Roanoke area while growing up. He says scholarship winners must have “the total package – she fits that to a tee. The best you can get.”
Formed in 1986, the Don Holliday Memorial Foundation honors the memory of the late district sales manager for Piedmont Airlines, who was also an avid golfer. The Memorial Tournament in his name will take place on June 25 this year.