Inducted in 2007
Men's Basketball - Guard
As a Cavalier
Jesse Gardner was born September 2, 1980 in Asheville, NC. He was the third of four children born to Mike and Susan Gardner. He has two older brothers, Matt and John and a younger sister Ann Marie. Jesse played basketball and ran track at Owen High School in Black Mountain and received multiple honors for both. In basketball, Gardner was named All-Conference three times and also earned All Western North Carolina honors. In track, he was a two-time state champion in the 4 X 800 relay team and was also named conference Male Runner of the Year. For his athletic achievements, Gardner was named Owen High School Male Athlete of the Year his junior and senior years.
Gardner entered Montreat College in the fall of 1998 and made an immediate impact earning All-freshman honors his first year. As a sophomore, Jesse led the Cavaliers to a 22-14 record and was named to the All-Conference team for the first of three consecutive years. The 1999-2000 Cavaliers also won the conference tournament championship and earned it's first ever trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
Gardner earned Honorable mention All-American honors as a sophomore and junior before being named as a Third Team All-American as a senior. On senior night, Gardner's #20 became the first men's basketball jersey to be retired.
Gardner's career stats at Montreat are nothing short of remarkable. At the time of his graduation in 2002, he was the Montreat College All-time leader in Points (2394), Assists (408), Rebounds (587), Steals (259) and was second in Blocks (63). He still holds records for: Most points in a season (681), Highest scoring average for career (17.7) and season (21.3), FG's made in Career (748) and single season (206), FG's attempted (1644), 3pt FG's made (349), 3PT% Career (42.9%), 3pt FG% Game (6/6) twice, FT's Attempted in a career (707), Most FT's made career ( 549) and in a season (195). He is currently second all-time in Assists and third all-time in blocks, FT% (77.7%) and Rebounds.
After graduating from Montreat with a cumulative GPA of 3.52, Gardner went on to receive his Master's Degree in Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is now working in Asheville for Civil Design Concepts.