The athletics department at Mount Paran Christian School announces several new additions to the school’s coaching staff in the areas of boys basketball, cheer, and football. MPCS Head of School Dr. Tim Wiens shared, “I am excited about our department of athletics as we move into this next chapter in the life of our school. Many blessings to our coaches and to the entire MPCS community as we make this transition.”
Varsity Boys Basketball - Chuck Frierson
For the past six years, Chuck Frierson has coached the MPC junior varsity and varsity MPC boys basketball teams, under the helm of Head Coach Greg Phillips. Coach Phillips is moving to Christian Heritage School in Dalton, Ga., to serve as the new head coach of the girls varsity basketball program.
Coach Frierson, who is originally from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, played varsity basketball throughout high school and graduated in 2001 from The MacDuffie School in Springfield, Mass. He closed out his high school career with a NEPSAC championship before proceeding to play Division II collegiate basketball at Slippery Rock University. He later transferred to Dominican College in Orangeburg, N.Y., on a full athletic scholarship, where he graduated with a degree in business finance.
Coach Frierson played professional basketball overseas for eleven years in nearly 25 countries. His career took him to Europe, South America, and the Middle East. He has since earned a master’s degree and specialist degree in physical education. He and his wife, Michelle, have a three-year old daughter.
Varsity Cheerleading - Shelley Ray
Shelley Ray brings to MPCS her 11 years of experience as a teacher and varsity competition cheerleading head coach at South Forsyth High School and Lambert High School. Coach Ray spent the first eight years of her coaching and teaching career at South Forsyth, followed by a three-year tenure at Lambert, where she started the competitive cheerleading program during the school’s inaugural year. She led her programs to nine top-four finishes in the state, including two State runner-up awards and two State championship titles.
Coach Ray replaces former MPC Cheer Head Coach Paige Johnson, who is retiring from coaching at the school after achieving an unprecedented ten years of consecutive State championship titles. In similar fashion, Coach Ray was named the Georgia Athletic Coaching Association Region Coach of the Year while at South Forsyth and was inducted into the South Forsyth Athletic Hall of Fame, along with her back-to-back State championship teams. Coach Ray coached cheerleaders that went on to cheer for the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State University, Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and Georgia Southern University.
Coach Ray graduated from North Georgia College & State University with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in education. She is married to Vince Ray, with whom she has two children who attend Mount Paran Christian School.
Varsity Cheerleading - McKenzie Rutan
Joining Coach Shelley Ray for MPC cheer is McKenzie Rutan, who received both a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a master’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Georgia.
While in graduate school, Coach Rutan worked as a graduate assistant for the UGA Athletic Association in the sports communications department. Her experience working with collegiate athletes, combined with her desire to teach and interact with students on a daily basis, encouraged Coach Rutan to pursue an alternative route to certification in Forsyth County Schools, where she was hired as a special education teacher at Lambert High School.
During her two years at Lambert, Coach Rutan became involved with the cheerleading program and was named varsity head coach in her second year at the school. Upon completion of her first season as head coach, the team acquired a Region championship and posted the highest 7A score of the season.
An experienced athlete herself, cheerleading defined most of Coach Rutan’s collegiate career, as she was a member of the UGA cheerleading team from 2014-2018. She was named to the 2018 E. Lynn Harris All-SEC Spirit Team her senior year of college. In high school, Rutan won the Cheerleading World Championship five times as a member of Stingray Allstars Orange and received the “One of a Kind” award as a senior, given to one senior athlete each year.
Coach Rutan replaces former Head Coach Paige Johnson.
Varsity Cheerleading - Dr. Nikki Hamilton
Veteran educator Dr. Nikki Hamilton has been a member of the MPCS faculty since 2018. As a former competitive cheerleader in both GHSA and NCAA, she has first-hand experience with what is necessary to develop a stellar cheer program: hard work, dedication, and, most importantly, integrity. With her experience as a former cheer captain, All-Region, and All-State cheerleader, Dr. Hamilton understands what it takes to lead from a place of service, with a heart to put the needs of a team before personal ambitions. She previously served as a varsity cheer head coach in what was formerly Region 3-AAAA (now Region 4-AAA).
Dr. Hamilton is a Georgia native and an alumna of Spelman College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in english/pre-medicine. She earned a master’s degree in education from Kennesaw State University and both a post-graduate certificate in college teaching and a doctor of philosophy degree in education from Capella University. She is the proud mother of one daughter, Alayna, who is a student at MPCS.
Dr. Hamilton replaces Catina Taliaferro, who was the MPC assistant varsity cheer coach.
Varsity Football - Matt Ely
Matt Ely begins his new role as the head football coach for MPC. He has been a part of the MPCS family for the past six years, including as director of sports performance, working extensively with every athlete at MPCS, and as assistant director of athletics. He also previously served as defensive coordinator of the MPC varsity football team. Coach Ely’s work in sports performance has resulted in MPCS winning GHSA State championships in girls volleyball, girls competition cheer, girls softball, boys baseball, and, most recently, girls basketball.
Prior to joining MPCS, Coach Ely served as defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coordinator at Cherokee High School from 2012-2016 and offensive and defensive line coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at Chapel Hill High School in Douglasville, Ga., from 2008-2012.
He is taking over the head coach position from Mitch Jordan, who developed the MPC football program from the ground up. Coach Jordan remains the athletic director for the school.
Coach Ely and his wife, Kathryn, have three children.