Monday, August 24, 2015
NEVADA TODAY (UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO) -- Mathis — whose hits include “Chances Are” and “It’s Not For Me To Say” — enrolled at San Francisco State College, which today is San Francisco State University, on an athletics scholarship in 1954. A San Francisco Chronicle article that same year featured he and future NBA star Bill Russell, noting them as the top two high jumpers in the city of San Francisco at the time. Mathis and Russell, who attended the University of San Francisco, would become close friends, and often traveled to college track and field meets together. At the University of Nevada track and field meet, Mathis’ website recalls him besting what was Russell’s highest jump attempt at that time, and it notes Mathis’ record high jump of 6’ 5 1/2” was only two inches short of the Olympic record.