January 25 2017
The Elmira College community was saddened to learn of Ellen Gibbs Matson's passing on Friday morning. Matson was a nine-year veteran of the Elmira College Department of Athletics from 1979 to 1988 serving as coach, Director of Intramurals and a Physical Education instructor.
During her nine-year tenure as head coach of the women's volleyball team (1979-87) she amassed 136 wins, the second-most victories in program history. Elmira recorded four winning seasons during that time, including a pair of 20-win seasons and three consecutive ECAC Playoff appearances from 1983-85.
She spent five years at the helm of the women's basketball program (1979-84) and guided the Soaring Eagles to back-to-back winning seasons during the 1981-82 and 1982-83 campaigns. Matson coached one of the most prolific basketball players in Elmira's history, Mary Kay Babcock '82, from her sophomore season in 1979-80 through her graduation in 1982. Under Matson's tutelage, Babcock went on to set several program records, many of which still stand to this day. Babcock remains as the college's all-time leader in career rebounds (1,128), made field goals (632), points per game (17.6), rebounds per game (13.6), and is one of just two players all-time to average a career double-double.
Even though Matson moved on to teach in the Elmira School District and assume the role as Interim Director of Athletics for the District, her commitment to EC sports continued as a member of the Booster Club Board of Directors and later serving as President.
"Ellen played a key role in moving our women's athletics program forward during the College's developmental years in athletics," said Vice President of Athletics Pat Thompson. "She was loved and respected by all that had the opportunity to work with her. She touched so many lives in a memorable way and will be remembered for her contagious smile, zest for life, love of family and her extended network of friends and her passion for sports as both a participant and fan."