A School-Record Receive SBC Academic Honors

July 16, 2015 · By · Filed Under Athletic Department, NCAA, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

SunBeltLogo_2013In addition to earning the Vic Bubas Cup in May for being the Sun Belt Conference’s top member in competition, which included four programs that won league championships (Soccer, Men’s Cross Country, Baseball and Women’s Tennis) the Jaguars capped off the previous academic and sports year with success in the classroom.

The Sun Belt Conference office announced on Wednesday that the University of South Alabama had a school record-breaking total of 162 student-athletes receive Conference academic recognition for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Those 162 were part of the 2014-2015 SBC Commissioner’s List and Academic Honor Roll, which put USA sixth in the conference. This is an increase of seven from the previous academic record of 155.

USA tied for second in the conference with 88 student-athletes on the Commissioner’s List which goes to those with a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the previous two semesters. Another 74 Jags were recognized in the Academic Honor Roll which honors students with a 3.0-3.49 GPA over the previous two semesters.

Football, Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field and Men’s Cross Country/Track and Field each featured more than 20 student-athletes on the list with 28, 25, 21 respectively. Baseball had 15, soccer had 13 and softball had 12 individuals on the list as well with other programs contributing the remainder of the individuals.

Pete Tolbert Night of Champions Honors Jaguar Student-Athletes

Photo of the Moulton Tower dedication Friday Oct. 8, 2010. | Photo credit Press-Register/Victor Calhoun

Photo credit Press-Register/Victor Calhoun

South Alabama honored student-athletes Monday at the sixth annual Pete Tolbert Night of Champions at the Mitchell Center. The event recognizes the achievements, both in competition and academically, of the nearly 400 individuals who comprise the University of South Alabama athletics program.

Kaitlyn Griffith (Softball from Centre, AL) and Daniel Leitner (Men’s Tennis from Neiderfischbach, Germany) were named the Jaguar Female and Male Student-Athlete of the Year respectively, honoring the most outstanding Jaguars based on scholarship, athletic ability and citizenship.

Griffith, a senior shortstop for the softball team is hitting .296 with a team-high 11 home runs, with 38 RBI, 25 runs scored and helping the team to a 33-9 record thus far and a top-25 national ranking throughout the 2015 season. She is a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athlete and is set to receiver her degree in May in exercise science. She has a 3.82 cumulative GPA.

Leitner, a senior, is the reigning two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in men’s tennis. He earned the award this spring after amassing a 28-5 overall record in singles play and a 22-6 record in doubles play. He was named to the first-team All-SBC in both singles and doubles, and as the highest-rated individual in the conference, will earn a berth to the NCAA Singles Championships in May. He will graduate with a 3.89 GPA in exercise science in May.

A pair of Griffith’s teammates on the Softball team also earned awards.

Farish Beard was chosen at the school’s NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee with Blair Johnson earning the Jimmy Taylor Scholarship.

Beard, who currently has a 3.39 GPA, was selected as the nominee for that goes to a varsity letterwinner completing her intercollegiate eligibility by the end of spring sports season, who has excelled in academics, athletics, service and leadership with a minimum of a cumulative 2.5 GPA. She is also a finalist for both the Senior CLASS and 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year awards. This season she is 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 71 innings.

Johnson earned the award going to a student-athlete who holds a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, has completed their NCAA eligibility and with the assistance of the fund will graduate from USA within two consecutive semesters. She has earned All-SBC honors twice during her career and this year she is batting .254 with 12 extra-base hits, 25 RBI, and 14 walks to only eight strikeouts.

Sophie Haywood from Hull, England, earned the Auralia Crowell Freshman Scholar Athlete Awards given to the most outstanding freshman based on excellence in academics and athletics. She was named First-Team All-Conference after posting 19 points on seven goals and five assists in helping the Jaguar soccer team tow in the conference title and advance to the NCAA Tournament. She has a 4.0 GPA as an exercise science major.

Adam Ballew of the baseball team was awarded the Denny-Gottfried Scholarship Award that is presented to the student-athlete who has exhausted their eligibilty, maintained an outstanding GPA and achieved athletic accomplishment. In his final season at USA, he has helped the Jaguar baseball team to a 29-16 record thus far while batting .275 with five extra-base hits, 26 RBI and eight stolen bases. He is an exercise science major with a 3.38 GPA.

Derek Westbrook from Diamondhead, MS, received a pair of awards. He arned the Shirley Holt Scholarship Award as well as the Male Jaguar Athletic Fund Award. The former is given to a student-athlete who exemplifies outstanding “Team Spirit” and who has shown great character and concern for his or her fellow student-athletes. The latter recognizes overall support of Jaguar Athletics. Both awards exemplifies Derek’s contributions to South Alabama Athletics and also marks the second-consecutive year that he has garnered the JAG Award honors.

Caroline Beebe earned the Female Jaguar Athletic Fund Award. Which marks the second consecutive year that both she has earned the JAF Award as well.

Hunter Colemani was awarded the Tom and Barbara Corcoran Scholar-Athlete Endowed Scholarship Award which is given to a USA Junior who most excels in sports while maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. The right handed pitcher has a 4.0 GPA in biomedical sciences in the classroom while on the diamond he has a 1-0 record with a 0.59 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 15.1 innings of work.

Jimmie Gipson III was awarded the Wilson Durgin Memorial Scholarship Award which goes to a minority student-athlete who has excelled in both the classroom and competition. Nikki Gittens was awarded the Female Perseverance Award after she suffered a stress fracture in her tibia that forced her to redshirt in 2013, she then returned and ranked third on the volleyball team with 243 kills and led the team with a .250 attack percentage and 83 total blocks while helping the Jags qualify for the SBC tournament despite tendinitis in her knee and hitting shoulder.

Ucambre Williams earned the Male Perseverance Award after undergoing three separate surgical procedures and requiring over six months of rehabilitation. After surgery on his right knee in September he returned in just 15 days and would go on to start 11 consecutive games while posting a team-best 90 percent overall grade and being named to the second-team All-SBC and helped the Jaguars play in its first-ever postseason bowl game.

Brandon Bridge was awarded the Mayer Mitchell Quarterback Endowment Fund Award as the Jaguars starter last fall. Matt Bolger earned the Clifton Inge Endowed Baseball Award. David Knapp earned the Forrest W. and Beverly B. Crowder Endwoed Scholarship for baseball. Mark Watts earned the McKinney Family Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track and Field. Emily Newton earned the George Smith Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track and Field as well.

Assistant Athletic Director for Ticket Operations Greg Keel was selected for the Matt Smith Award which goes to a member of the athletics staff who consistenly goes the extra mile, has the spirit of commitment, a strong work ethic, and a deep sense of pride in their job. The award is named in memory of former USA Sports Information Director Matt Smith who passed away in December of 2004.

Each sport program also presented awards at the event. The winners of those honors were:

  • Eddie Stanky Award (baseball), Bolger
  • Goldie Ungar Heart of Gold Award (men’s basketball), Dionte Ferguson
  • Jaguar Women’s Basketball NCAA Award (women’s basketball), Breanna Hall
  • Female Distance Award (women’s cross country), Nicole Durham
  • Male Distance Award (men’s cross country), Christoph Graf
  • Jim Yance Heart of a Jaguar Award (football), Jesse Kelley
  • Heath Slocum Award (men’s golf), Tyler Klava
  • Beth Barry Award (women’s golf), Ingrid Hagen
  • Lindsay Rogers Award (soccer), Alyssa Mayer
  • Extra Mile Award (softball), Stephanie Pilkington
  • Lubel Family Award (men’s tennis), Leitner
  • Marilyn Lubel Award (women’s tennis), Laura Matuskova
  • Most Outstanding Women’s Track & Field Student-Athlete Award (women’s track and field), Kaitlyn Beans
  • Most Outstanding Men’s Track & Field Student-Athlete Award (men’s track and field), Jan-Louw Kotze
  • Jaguar Volleyball Award (volleyball), Gittens

Prior to the naming of the Jaguar Student-Athletes of the Year, 46 current and former student-athletes who will graduate at the conclusion of the semester received gifts from the department.

Congratulations to all the award winners as well as all of the student-athletes who will earn their degrees. Thank you for representing the University in each of your respective sports with honor and character. Once a Jaguar, always a Jaguar.

A Record Number of Jaguars Earn SBC Academic Recognition

September 26, 2014 · By · Filed Under Athletic Department, News, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

South Alabama had a record 155 student-athletes to earn Sun Belt Conference Academic Recognition for 2013-2014 by being on the SBC Commissioner’s List or Academic Honor Roll as announced by the conference office on Thursday.

The Jags had 84 individuals named to the Commissioner’s List which recognizes student athletes with a GPA of 3.5 or better during the previous two semesters and 71 on the Academic Honor Roll which includes student-athletes with a 3.0-3.49 GPA during that same time span.

Ten of USA’s 17 sports had double-figure totals. Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field team led the way with 27 followed closely by Football with 26. Men’s Cross Country/Track and Field and Soccer both had 19, Softball had 14, and baseball had 13.

The Jags finished second in the final standings for the Vic Bubas Cup which is presented to the top overall program in the Sun Belt Conference.

Here is a link to the 2013-2014 South Alabama Sun Belt Conference Academic Honorees. Congratulations Jaguar Student-Athletes!

USA Has Four Teams Earn SBC Team Academic Awards

September 19, 2014 · By · Filed Under Athletic Department, News · Comment 

newjagsmallSouth Alabama had four teams earn 2014-2015 Sun Belt Conference Academic Awards on Thursday. That number is twice as many as any other conference member.

USA teams that earned awards were the Jaguar softball team, the men’s and women’s cross country teams and the men’s track and field team.

The conference office recognizes one team from each of the league’s 16 sports for for the award, which is calculated by totaling the student-athlete GPA’s for the team and dividing by the total number of student-athletes on the team. The team with the highest average GPA is named the Team Academic Award winner for that year. The GPA’s are based off of the previous school year and include the total GPA for the year, not the average of semesters.

In all, South Alabama Athletics had a record 100 student-athletes to make the Dean’s list, 189 individuals with a 3.0 GPA or higher, in the spring semester. Additionally, 10 sports programs carried a team GPA of 3.0 or higher.

South Alabama finished second in the Bubas Cup standings for the 2013-2014 academic year. The Bubas Cup recognizes the conference’s top overall program in competition. It was the school’s best finish in more than 10 years.

AD Erdmann Addresses #JagNation Concerning Policy Changes At Ladd-Peebles

September 18, 2014 · By · Filed Under Athletic Department, Football, News · Comment 
South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann releases letter to Jaguar fans concerning the water availability situation at Ladd-Peebles Stadium during the Jags sold-out game against Mississippi State on Saturday, September 13, 2013. Photo Credit: Matt Weaver | Special to Thunderjags

South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann releases letter to Jaguar fans concerning the water availability situation at Ladd-Peebles Stadium during the Jags sold-out game against Mississippi State on Saturday, September 13, 2013. Photo Credit: Matt Weaver | Special to Thunderjags

South Alabama Athletics Director Joel Erdmann release an open letter to fans on Wednesday addressing the water situation at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. In the letter he outlines the changes that USA and Ladd-Peebles will implement in future games to try to prevent the same situation from happening again.

Here is a link to a PDF of the letter.

September 17, 2014

Jaguar Fans and Customers;

The September 13th football game versus Mississippi State University will be remembered as one of the remarkable moments in South Alabama history.  Beginning with the crowded Pep Rally Friday evening in downtown Mobile and carrying through to the tailgating and the game itself, tens of thousands of Jaguar fans experienced a tangible swell of pride and unity.

Please note that the 3:00 p.m. game time was established to allow for a nationally televised game on ESPNews.  We anticipate and hope that similar opportunities present themselves in the future.  The festive atmosphere of Saturday’s game combined with the sheer numbers of a sell-out crowd and the heat of a mid-September afternoon in Mobile, Alabama, exposed selected operational areas which will be addressed as follows.

1. Water – customers experienced access to warm bottled water at selected areas within the stadium.  Moving forward:
• Spectators will be allowed to bring into the stadium two bottles of water per person.  Small to medium-sized soft-sided coolers are now allowed and are subject to search.  Please be sure such items are sized appropriately to fit within the designated seating area and does not intrude on adjacent fans.
• There will be roving vendors with beverages in both the West and East grandstands.
• Refrigerated trucks will be located in designated ground-level areas of the stadium.  These locations will serve as points of sale with cold bottles of water assured.  Due to various logistical and safety restrictions, water from these areas cannot be distributed to the concourses – thus a short walk to the areas will be required.
• All efforts will be made to continue to provide cold water in the concourses.

2.  Shuttles – Customers have access to ride the Wave Transit System from the Bel Air Mall parking lot (Near JC Penney) to Ladd-Peebles and return.  The shuttles run non-stop from four hours prior to a game to two hours after.  The cost for a round trip is $2.50.  At peak times prior to Saturday’s game there were in excess of 30 buses in rotation.  Moving forward:
• We will increase the number of buses in the rotation at peak-use times and balance those numbers with the desire to keep the cost of the shuttle at $2.50 per round trip.

As our football program continues to grow, we have been provided a tremendous opportunity to call Ladd-Peebles Stadium our home.  We view this opportunity as a true partnership between the Stadium and Jaguar Athletics.  When issues which negatively impact the experience of our fans occur, we will be diligent in working together as a team to find reasonable solutions.

We deeply appreciate your support.  Go Jags!!

Joel

Jaguar Student-Athletes Honored At 5th Annual Pete Tolbert Night Of Champions

newjagsmallSeveral student-athletes were honored during the Fifth Annual Pete Tolbert Night of Champions, the athletic department’s event to honor the achievements of nearly 400 individuals on Thursday evening.

Junior pitcher Farish Beard of Fairhope, Alabama and senior quarterback Ross Metheny of Stephens City, Virginia were name the female and male Student-Athletes of the Year. This honors the most outstanding individuals based on scholarship, athletic ability and citizenship.

Along with Beard, Hannah Campbell and Kaitlyn Griffith were also honored from the softball team. Metheny was joined by teammates Trey Fetner, Bryson James and Alex Page from the football team. Noelle Jones, Garrett Schumacher and Derek Westbrook were honored from the Track and Field teams.

Several others were honored including just to name a few: Caroline Beebe, Mechell Daniel, Nini Rabsatt-Smith, Sharmyn Wall, Matt Bolger, Brandon Bridge, Robby Campbell, Michelena D’Alonzo and Kristin Parry.

Beard has recorded better than a 3.2 GPA in two-plus years at USA. This season she has a 18-5 record, a 0.99 ERA, 174 strikeouts in 127.1 innings and ranks in the top 20 nationally in four statistical categories.

Metheny has a 4.0 GPA and is working on his master’s degree in educational leadership. Last season he led the Sun Belt Conferecne in total offense per game with 269 yards, ranked in the top 10 in the conference in three other categories and finished in the top 50 nationally in total offense, pass efficiency rating, and passing yards. He was also selected to the second-team All-SBC team.

A full rundown off all the awards and their recipients can be found here.

Also, 56 current and former student-athletes were recognized as they will graduate at the end of the semester.

Congratulations Jaguars!

USA Announces Jaguar Sports Properties With Pat Greenwood As Director Of Multimedia Operations

January 17, 2014 · By · Filed Under Athletic Department · Comment 
Head coach Joey Jones speaks with sideline reporter Pat Greenwood heading into halftime against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Head coach Joey Jones speaks with sideline reporter Pat Greenwood heading into halftime against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

On Thursday, South Alabama Athletics Director Joel Erdmann announced that the University will part ways with IMG College and will create the Jaguar Sports Properties division.

J.D. Byars was named the Director of Broadcasting/Corporate Sales Executive, Ashley Ehlert was named the unit’s Account Executive and Mike Geidlin as named the Assistant Business Manager for the group. The three began their duties earlier this month.

Local 15’s Pat Greenwood will join the staff as Director of Multimedia/Corporate Sales Executive on March 1. Greenwood has been the sideline reporter for the Jaguar football team since it began and did some color commentary for football and men’s basketball broadcasts on occasion over the last couple years.

JSP will be overseen by current Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs Travis Toth. The group will be responsible for athletic corporate and multimedia sales as well as radio and television production including game broadcasts and coaches’ shows.

“These hires reflect well-seasoned and superior professionals in their field of expertise,” Erdmann said. “The mission of Jaguar Sports Properties is to generate revenue through sponsorships which are paid directly to the department while expanding our awareness, growing our fan base and solidifying our brand. The broadcast assignments for applicable sports – including current radio personality Lee Shirvanian — will be announced later this semester. We anticipate a tremendous broadcast team promoting several sports and the department as whole using radio, television and ever-growing on-line content.”

“This is a very exciting and important time for our department,” explained Erdmann. “Approximately five years ago we entered into a partnership with IMG College which gave them the rights to manage our sponsorship and multi-media sales. That partnership was a prudent decision as working with IMG helped us in navigating the birth of an FBS football program. We deeply appreciate IMG College for that guidance and support. The decision to go in a different direction and create an internal unit was amicable in nature and primarily based on our desire to have complete control of our advertising inventory, our audio and video productions, our sales strategies and stewardship of our sponsors.”

It is expected that Lee Shirvanian will continue his work announcing baseball and basketball but the football announcing crew may change and is currently being considered. ALso Erdmann wants to add affiliate radio stations to expand reach and help increase the fanbase.

South Alabama Honored Their Student-Athletes Tuesday Night

May 1, 2013 · By · Filed Under Athletic Department, News, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

newjagsmall

On Tuesday evening the University of South Alabama honored their student-athletes at the fourth annual Pete Tolbert Night of Champions at the Mitchell Center.

Augustine Rubit was named Jaguar Male Student-Athlete of the year. Rubit earned All-American honors from CollegeInsider.com and was a National Basketball Coaches Association first-team All-District selection. Along with several other accolades.

Hannah Campbell was named the Jaguar Female Student-Athlete of the Year. She is ranked in the top five nationally in ERA and saves and leads the Sun Belt in both categories while ranking in the top five in wins and strikeouts as well. In 33 appearances she has a record of 18-7 with six saves, a 0.94 ERA and 132 strikeouts over 164 2/3 innings of work. She aslo recorded her first career no-hitter in March versus UC-Santa Barbara. Some notable appearances include wins over nationally ranked ULL and Mississippi State and saves against then #25 ranked Florida State and Ole Miss.

The event recognized the achievements of South Alabama nearly 400 student-athletes both in the classroom and in competition.

Brittany Fowler is USA’s NCAA Woman of the Year nominee. To be eligible for the honor a student-athlete must be a varsity letterwinner who will complete her intercollegiate eligibility by the end of spring sports season. They must have excelled in academics, athletics, service and leadership with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. She is batting a team-leading .406 with 52 hits, eight home runs, 31 RBI and 48 runs scored. She rankes among the conference leaders in each of those categories.

Julie Moss earned the Tom and Barbara Corcoran Scholar-Athlete Endowed Scholarship Award which is presented to a Junior who most excels in sports while maintaining at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Brittany Campbell earned the Denny-Gottfried Athletic Scholarship Award that goes to a student-athlete who holds a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA, has completed their NCAA eligibility and with the assistance of the fund will graduate from USA within two consecutive semesters. The Senior’s total of seven home runs this spring are more than her previous three seasons combined while she is batting .328 with 11 stolen bases and 33 runs scored.

Trey Clark earned the Jimmy Taylor Scholarship Award which is given to a student-athlete who has exhausted their eligibility, maintained an outstanding GAP and achieved significant Athletic accomplishments. Clark not only played every snap at center last season for the Jags, but he also started every game for the Jags since the teams inception in 2009. Clark also earned second-team Capital One Academic All-America honors off the field.

Romelle Jones earned the Male Perseverance Award while Scott Garber earned the Male Jaguar Athletic Fund Award for the second year in a row.

Mychal Ammons earned the Wilson Durgin Memorial Scholarship Award which is presented to a deserving minority student-athlete.

COle Billingsley earned the Auralia Crowell Freshman Scholar-Athlete Award for the most outstanding freshman based on excellence in academics and athletics. In his first season with the Jaguar baseball team he is batting .295, scored 26 runs and 19 RBI.

Kristyn Thacker earned the Female Perseverance Award while Amber Wyatt earned the Female Jaguar Athletic Fund Award.

Brent Mitchell earned the Forrest W. and Beverly B. Crowder Endowed Scholarship for Baseball. Jacob Noble earned the Clifton Inge Endowed Baseball Award. Garrett Schumacher earned the McKinney Family Endowed Scholarship for Track and Field Award. Ross Metheny was named the Mayer Mitchell Quarterback Endowment Fund Award winner while Daniel Ballard was named the George Smith Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund Award winner.

Travis Toth was named the Matt Smith Award Winner. This is presented to a member of the athletic staff who consistently goes the extra mile, has the spirit of commitment, strong work ethic and a deep sense of pride in their job. It is named for former USA Sports Information Director Matt Smith who passed away in December of 2004.

Each sports program also presents awards. The winners of those honors were: Eddie Stanky Award (baseball), Brent Mitchell; Goldie Ungar Heart of Gold Award (men’s basketball), Javier Carter; Lady Jag Basketball TEDs Award (women’s basketball), Ronneka Robertson; Female Distance Award (women’s cross country), Salom Lecoq; Male Distance Award (men’s cross country), Patrick Rohr; Jim Yance Heart of a Jaguar Award (football), B.J. Scott; Heath Slocum Award (men’s golf), Jared Burleson; Beth Barry Award (women’s golf), Kristen Golightly; Lindsay Rogers Award (soccer), Jess Oram; Extra Mile Award (softball), Meghan Collins; Lubel Family Award (men’s tennis), Daniel Leitner; Marilyn Lubel Award (women’s tennis), Mary Angela Martin; Female Field Events Award (women’s track and field), Briana Aiken; Male Field Events Award (men’s track and field), Nick Farrell; Female Track Events Award (women’s track and field), Leah Hixon; Male Track Events Award (men’s track and field), Tyler Agee; and, Jaguar Volleyball Award (volleyball), Olivia Mohler.

USA has 45 student-athletes set to receive their degree in two weeks at commencement. They were given Sun Belt Conference Graduation Medallions to honor their accomplishement both through competition and academics culiminating in their graduation.

Congratulations to all of the Jaguar Student-Athletes and good luck to the soon-to-be alumni. Thank you for your hard work both on and off the field and for representing the University in a distinguished manner.

GO Jags!!

Are Some South Alabama Fans Calling For A Coaching Change?

May 30, 2010 · By · Filed Under Athletic Department, Baseball · Comment 

In this mornings Sound Off in the Mobile Press-Register, a reader wrote in criticizing the Jaguar baseball coaching staff. This is rightly so, the team has not performed well since 2006 and the ERA lately has been over 6. So, what is the Athletics Department to do?

With Coach Kitrell’s past success and general likability in the community, it would be a hard sell to fire him. It doesn’t seem like Coach K wants to retire either. However, they might be able to convince him that this would be the best for the program. Either way, what do you do?

Probably the most likely to happen is a shake-up in the staff. Pitching is definitely an area where the bullseye would probably fall. Another area where things could change would be the position of recruiting coordinator.
Recruiting is definitely a tough area for College Baseball. When good high school players graduate, their first inclination is to try to make it in the Minor Leagues. This is the shorter route to possibly making it to the Major Leagues. If they go to college, they may get drafted early in their collegiant career and go play in the Minors. But again, because it’s the shortest route, you don’t go from College to the Majors.

South Alabama and the other programs must have top notch recruiters in order to convince these kids to come to their program. Currently, pitching is at a premium. Which is why you see major league pitchers receiving high paying deals while clubs are scouring minor league teams for the next pitching prospect.

So what is the answer for the South Alabama baseball program? I think it’s too early after the major letdown at the end of the season to determine that. This may be the first major decision the new Athletic Director Joel Erdmann will have to face at South Alabama.

Would Luis Gonzalez like to become a college baseball coach? It could be a big boom in recruiting and his alma mater might be searching.

Joe Gottfried Honored At His Retirement Ceremony

August 27, 2009 · By · Filed Under Athletic Department, News · Comment 

Joe Gottfried was honored today for his 28 years of service to the University of South Alabama. University President Gordon Moulton hosted the ceremony held on Thursday afternoon at the Mitchell Center. Gottfried served the last 25 years at athletic director before he stepped down from this position on August 1st.

He is a 1963 graduate of Ashland College and would earn his master’s degree from Morehead State in 1969.

Coach Gottfried, a 1963 graduate of Ashland College and 1969 graduate of Morehead State where he received his master’s degree, came to USA as an Assistant Athletic Director in 1981. He served in that position through 1984 when he was promoted to the position of Athletic Director. Previous to USA he had successful coaching stints at Ashland and Southern Illinois. In addition to being in the USA Athletic Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the Ashland College and Crestline (Ohio) High School Halls of Fame.

The Jaguars athletics experienced success both in competition as well as in the classroom under his direction. Plus he probably had the most impact on the school’s architecture in recent years, with the development and improvement of the athletic facilities. Gottfried was also very instrumental in adding football as the 17th program for the school. He initially lead discussions in an attempt to bring football to the USA campus in 2001 and was finally approved by the Board of Trustees on December 6, 2007.

Gottfrieds impact can be seen in the $30 million Mitchell Center, which is the home of the men’s and women’s basketball program as well as offices for athletic department presonnel, Stanky Field which underwent a $3.5 million renovation prior to the 2005 season, a 4,000 square-foot baseball clubhouse built in 1996, the intramural fields on the west side of campus, the softball complex built prior to the 2007 season which was the first-ever for the program, a new locker room for the softball and soccer programs, improvements to Jaguar Gymnasium, the Striplin Center, “The Cage” soccer facility, the USA Track Complex, the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts, the football field house and the football practice fields.

However just as important the athletics is the academics which also flourished under coach Gottfried. With the addition of football, the athletic department is at an all-time high of more than 300 student-athletes. In the latest Academic Progress Rate report released by the NCAA last month, 13 of 16 programs in competition at South Alabama scored above the 925 standard set by the NCAA. Also under coach Gottfried, 83% of South Alabama’s student-athletes that have completed their eligibility have graduated. There have been 37 individual student-athletes that have been named to the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List for maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA while 32 others have made the Sun Belt Acadeimc Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in 2007-2008.

Also 75 South Alabama student-athletes have earned All-America recognition while 62 of the schools coaches were selected the SBC Conference Coach of the Year in their sports. South Alabama has claimed the Vic Bubas Cup 10 times in a 13 year span. No school in league history has earned the award more than USA. South Alabama teams have won 104 league titles, appeared in 54 NCAA Championship events, and have had 123 individual student-athletes qualify for NCAA postseason play. Including two track and field athletes who have won NCAA titles. Plus, in baseball, 95 players have signed with prefessional teams including 17 who have made it to the Major Leagues.

Thank you coach Gottfried for your hard work and dedication to South Alabama Athletics, thank you for taking time to talk to students and fans, and thank you for putting South Alabama in the position continue to improve its level of competion for many years to come.

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