Elizabethton River Riders General Manager Maya Mathis excited to welcome the community back for another baseball season

Published 1:10 pm Monday, April 18, 2022

The River Riders are starting the season with a fresh team, new logo and a new general manager at the helm.

Maya Mathis replaces Brice Ballentine, who left for Iowa after last year’s season.

Mathis brings experience as a collegiate athlete and an excitement to the helm of the Appalachian League team.

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“Elizabethton is such a tight knit community, something that I personally love because it gives me an opportunity to get to know our fans and become involved within the community,” said Mathis, a graduate of ETSU. “You get to know all of the local businesses and become close with the community as a whole.”

Mathis began working for the River Riders last season as the assistant general manager. “I am from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and had played softball my whole life. I attended the University of Tennessee where I played collegiate softball, and then transferred to ETSU where I continued to play the sport and complete my college education,” she said.

Her initial goal was to attend physical therapy school and pursue a career in that field, but she switched things up when working on her master’s degree, graduating with a master’s in sports management.

“Before becoming a part of this organization, I worked at Bristol Motor Speedway doing ticket sales, then at an elementary school, and then became a part of the River Riders as the assistant general manager,” Mathis said. “After Brice left, I was promoted to general manager and here we are.”

Mathis said that while working at an elementary school, she was still attending ETSU as a graduate student, and after graduating the River Riders became a chance for her to be heavily involved in sports.

“The River Riders became my opportunity to work in sports, and having played a similar sport in softball my whole life, working with a baseball organization was such a great opportunity that I was so excited for. The assistant GM position was heavy in ticket sales, so I was able to use my past experience at Bristol to help with that,” Mathis said.

Mathis said the opportunity with the River Riders was one that she just couldn’t pass up. Although when the former general manager stepped down, Mathis said that she was not entirely sure that she would be the one to step into the then vacant role.

“At that point, I had not even been with the organization for a year, so I did not know what the decision was going to be in terms of the new general manager,” Mathis said. “With that being said, it was a position I was wanting very badly, but I had told myself that if I did not get it I could not get mad about it because I had not been here very long.”

Mathis said that Ballentine helped prepare her for the role. “He showed me a lot of things, just to make sure that I was not being thrown to the wolves.”

While the River Riders are a smaller scale organization, she loves every minute of her work. “As far as the workload goes, because we have a smaller staff, you do a bit of everything. In a bigger organization, everyone has their departments to focus on, but here you do your job and other jobs as well. While it doesn’t seem appealing, it is great in terms of learning, because you get to know how to do everything in the ballpark,” Mathis said.

Mathis said she is excited about many improvements that will be made with the organization this year.

“We have already begun on all of our renovations outside with our new group picnic area and foul line seating that will put you right on top of the action,” Mathis said. “I am just so excited for all of our fans to come back this season and see the renovations and what we have done to improve their experience at the ballpark.”

Mathis concluded by saying that she loves the fans in Elizabethton. “I believe we have the greatest fans in the Appalachian League and I am so excited to welcome them back for another season of River Rider baseball.”