Looking Back And Catching Up With Catherine Rader Wood ’91


Catherine Rader Wood, will be inducted into the Macon Sports Hall of Fame on May 10th for her athletic achievements at FPD and Wofford. While it has been almost three decades since she last competed on the basketball court for the Lady Vikings Basketball team her name is still at the top of the record book.

As a senior she led the Vikings to the first of their three GISA Class 3A Championships in 1991, scoring 34 of her team’s 41 points in a win over Windsor. That 34-point output is the second-highest single-game scoring game in program history. She is FPD’s all-time career scoring leader with 1,455 points between 1987-1991 and is also the single-season scoring leader during the 1990-91 season when she scored 567 points.

Rader (Wood) was an all-state performer in 1990 and 1991, all-region performer in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and was the team MVP those three seasons, as well. She was the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s GISA Player of the Year in 1991 and also that club’s GISA State Tournament MVP in 1991.

Her No. 41 jersey has been retired by FPD, and she is one of only two female athletes to ever receive that honor and just one of seven overall at the school.

The presentation begins at 6:00pm in the lobby of the Macon Centreplex.  The induction ceremony and dinner will be held immediately following downstairs in the Monument Room beginning at 6:30pm.

1. When you look back on your time at FPD what teachers, and coaches come to mind?


Teachers Ms. Morgan, Ms. Bass, and Coach Ed Middlebrooks were always special to me with their math instruction approach. Lyn Wiggins was an excellent English teacher I especially loved her creative writing class. All of these teachers were focused on students learning and making a difference.

Henry Middlebrooks was an excellent Headmaster.  Mr. Middlebrooks had the ability to instill the right culture at our school.  He really practiced what he preached, attempting to instill the right values in the children coming through FPD.

Coach Bobby Brown instilled in me a “never quit attitude”.

Coach Jimmy Turner was also special to me and helped many athletes with their batting averages!  Coach Turner even coached my husband when he was growing up in the Bibb County Recreation Department Summer program in the ’70s.

Coach Phillip McLeroy, Coach Pat Rabun and of course, Coach Ed will always have a special place in my heart.  Coach Ed’s weekly summer challenge of 1,200 free throws and layups that he started in the 9th grade I can honestly say put me on the path to succeed.

All the coaches I mention helped me obtain a college scholarship and answer my Father’s prayers of “where was the money going to come from?” Yes, prayer works!

These coaches were able to bring 12 individual girls together to play as a team and pull off an upset to beat our rival, Windsor Academy and win the State Basketball Tournament in 1991, Go Vikings!

2. Did FPD prepare you academically for college?

Yes, I particularly loved my AP Biology class with Dale Taylor! We learned to think outside of the box and do investigative studies in Biology which prepared me for the labs and critical thinking required in college.

FPD definitely prepared me.  I will say that I struggled initially in my freshman year, leaving the safety net of my parent’s home, but after visits from Mary Jane Bateman and Janie Mae( Edna Bateman’s Mom and Family friend)  bringing home cooked goodies and making us feel at home I was able to focus and obtain a degree.

3. What course of study did you pursue while at Wofford?

Psychology I have my 4 year BS in Psychology, then pursued Pharmaceutical sales

4. Do you have any favorite memories as a student or as an athlete?

I would say there are too many memories to mention but… I loved Bible classes, Spirit Week and all the Activity period programs, we had some unique speakers like “Okefenokee Joe” and Elvis Presley’s step brother Rick Stanley and other Christian speakers, pep rallies were fun!

I loved the support we had on our basketball team from the parents and coaches. I loved some of the practical jokes we would play on Coach Ed he was a playful coach and a good sport so he was the target of a “Forking” of his yard, and maybe a rolling or two. Another thing about Ed Middlebrooks was his sarcasm! He told Edna to get number 25 on Southland’s team and she said who is 25? He said in a sarcastic tone the player with number 2 and 5 on their jersey! We laughed a lot.

Before we went to our state playoffs the team told Coach Ed if we go to the state championship you have to wear a coat and tie, and he finally did!

I will never forget Mary Jane Bateman, Wendy Johnson, and Linda Cloaninger cooking Breakfasts for us almost weekly!

Our Team was truly a family we loved each other and still do!

5. Do you still keep in touch with any of your old teammates and friends?

Yes, many of my girlfriends get together every year around Thanksgiving. Jill Faircloth Gillespie, Edna Bateman, Gail McLeroy Stewart, Kelly Richardson Hester, AllisonWard Hefner are some of the great friends I still see each year. I even had the pleasure to babysit Kelly’s daughter Bebe when she was in town for a visit and still communicate with my buddy, Edna, almost weekly.

Edna Bateman Galloway went on basketball scholarship to Wofford also and was one of my college suite mates.  Go Terriers!

Meg Johnson Southerland recently took care of me when I had foot surgery at Ortho Georgia our whole team had a special bond and I immediately felt a peace come over me when I saw her pretty face in the operating room!

We took care of each other and always had each other’s backs!

6. What do you currently do for a living and did your time at FPD help you pursue this? If yes how?


I’m a pharmaceutical representative for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, a 19 year veteran of the industry.  It’s an extremely competitive industry and I know my experiences in FPD both academically and with sports helped me to become both determined and resilient, giving me the work ethic needed in this industry.

I’m grateful for my job and really do love what I do. The drugs I sell help people and families in so many ways.  We really do save lives!

7. What is your lasting impression of FPD?

Henry Middlebrooks truly cared about all of the students and you knew that he wanted everyone to succeed.  Leadership starts at the top.

There are many members of my immediate family who are FPD alumni.  My brother Hugh Jr. (Class of ’93), my step-sons Drew Wood (’08), Alex Wood (’12) and my niece Shelley Moore McGraw (’96) and several cousins, Shay Sellers ’84,  Crockett Sellers ’88, and Rader Sellers ‘87. When I think about our niece Shelley, a tear comes to my eye. Please pray for her and her family. She suffered several strokes last year and is struggling with residual effects from the stroke which requires therapy daily.  One moment, she’s handing out an award to her friend, country music star Vince Gill, for his volunteer efforts at her children’s advocacy initiative in Chattanooga TN and then a few months later, she’s fighting for her life at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.  One thing I have learned from my Family at FPD it would be, how fragile life is, and how we must put our faith in the Lord.

When I think about a compliment Shelley once gave me, she said, “I always looked up to you at FPD and wanted to be like you!” I realized then and now the magnitude that upper classman have on the younger students. I had such an impact on other students when I was at FPD.  I could have made better choices at times and set better examples.  Thankfully, I could see the positive effect I could have on kids.  I found time to coach Upward Basketball for 3 years in my 20’s and also helped coach my husband’s youth team at North Macon Theron Ussery Park a few years back.

I try to instill lessons I was taught at FPD with my 4 children. My soon to be 15 year old daughter, Madeleine, and my 13 year old son, Neal, my step-sons Drew and Alex when I get to visit with them.  Drew and Alex live in fun places, NYC and Atlanta, so that makes for a fun vacation time.

My mission is Faith and family first, changing the world for the better in God’s glory.  Life is so precious and we only have a short time here to make a difference. I love my husband, Tyler, so much.  My parents are still living and we get to live next to them and spend time together each day.   I’m so grateful and thankful!  Praise the Lord!


*Some of the information used in this write-up is from the Macon Sports Hall of Fame