Top 5 Stories Of 2009

January 4, 2010 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Football, Men's 

[EDIT] I had left out my original #2 that I had planned back at the beginning of December when I was mentally planning this article.

Its time for a quick look back as we let go of 2009 and start 2010. Also, since the Mobile Press-Register did not see fit to include South Alabama in their Top 10 stories in the area, here are my top 5 stories from the past year.

Leave comments if you think another story should have been included. Or if it were a top 10 list, what other stories would you include.

Top 5 of 2009

1)  Kickoff of Jaguars football

South Alabama completed its first season in college football with an undefeated inaugural season. With games in coming season against Kent State, NC State, Mississippi State, Navy and Tennessee, it shows that the school is committed to this program.

A four game home-and-home series with Navy. Two-for-One series with NC State, Kent and Mississippi State where the Jags will visit the teams twice in return for a home game against each. Which mean some big time home games against NC State and Mississippi State in Mobile.

The Staff that Coach Joey Jones assembled and the players they have recruiting has this team much farther ahead than coaches, players and observers thought. With that, they had to retool the schedule for 2010 to include more competition as they march their way to Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A).

[EDIT] 2a) Announcement Of Joe Gottfried’s Retirement And Hiring Of Joel Erdmann As Athletic Director

On June 2, Joe Gottfried announced in the Mitchell Center that he was retiring effective August 1. Gottfried, who was the Athletic Director for South Alabama for 25 years said the time was right. He was instrumental in getting first class sports buildings on campus such as the $30 Million Mitchell Center, a $3.5 Million renovation to Stanky Field, a 4,000 clubhouse, intramural fields and the football field house among many others.

Then in July, South Alabama announced the hiring of Joel Erdmann as the new Athletic Director for the University of South Alabama. Erdmann held several positions at South Alabama previously and served as AD at the University of North Alabama and at his hiring he was AD at Southeastern Louisiana University.

2b)  USA defeats two SEC Schools in basketball

Back in late November the Jags had two loses to good opponents in Rice and Tulsa and traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the Jags former coach John Pelphrey and the SEC. Many people just wrote it off as a typical loss to a big program, but Coach Arrow and the Jags took a page from Lee Corso’s book and said “Not so fast!” They stunned the Razorbacks on their own court with an impressive victory by a large margin, 74-61.

Then after losses to Southern Miss and UAB, the Jags made a trip to yet another SEC school. But this time it was a Top 25 ranked team. The Jags were facing #18 Florida in Gainesville, Florida where the Gator had not lost a home game since December 2004.

Again the Jags were written off from the beginning but stunned the Gators and made a huge splash on ESPN, ESPN News and ESPN.com. Although it was won on a last second put back, it was a huge win. It is only the second time in school history USA has defeated two SEC teams in the same season and the first since 1983-84. Plus it was the first time to knock off a ranked opponent since 2005 when they defeated #25 Houston.

3)   Loss of Dameyune Craig to FSU

Many people thought it was just a matter of time for this coach who has quite a rising status in college football. But nontheless, it was the second assistant in less than a year that was hired away from Coach Jones’ staff to a major Division-I program. This time it was Florida State.

Jimbo Fisher was beginning to prepare taking over the reigns to the Seminole program from Bobby Bowden and one of his first hires was Dameyune Craig. A very good recruiter in the Mobile area that the Jags will definitely be recruiting against to keep local talent.

4)  All Jaguar Football Players Who Are Eligible Receive A Redshirt

Just before the final football game against Huntingdon College, Coach Jones announced that all of the eligible players on the team would get an extra year of eligibility.

Those players who had not already taken a redshirt year, will take the 2009 season as their redshirt year. Unfortunately some players had already used their redshirt year and will not be able to have an extra season with the Jaguars.

5)   Hiring of Gregory (also leaving of Koenning)

In December 2008, before the Jags even took the field for their first game, Coach Joey Jones loss his first assistant to an SEC school. Dan Mullen, who was just hired to replace Sylvester Croom, tapped him to be his offensive coordinator for the Bulldogs program.

Coach Joey Jones then began a search for a replacement that fit Koennings’ profile and the players that they were recruiting. In came Greg Gregory from South Florida, another new program in recent years. South Florida rose through the ranks and has the NCAA record to achieve its first Top 25 ranking faster than other Division I-A school in the modern era and eventually rising to #2 in the polls in 2007.

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