USA Athletic Director Joe Gottfried To Retire August 1st

June 2, 2009 · Filed Under News · Comment 

At a press conference in the Mitchell Center today, Athletic Director Joe Gottfried announced that effective August 1st he will retire. This marks the end of an era of unprecedented success in athletics at the University of South Alabama under his guidance.

President Gordon Moulton will conduct a nationwide search for his successor at the University.

Gottfried said the following at the press conference, “It has been a terrific experience, I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by an outstanding group of coaches, student-athletes, support and administrative staff. To be able to have the success and accomplish the many things we have, you need to have the support of the President and the Board of Trustees.  I have felt that has been a big plus, it made my job much easier.”

“Obviously I am very proud about what has been accomplished and to have been a member of the South Alabama family for 28 years.  It’s been important to me and my family.  We will always be Jaguars and will continue to follow the progress of not only the athletic program but the University as well.”

University President Gordon Moulton commended Gottfried on his many years of service to the University. “Anyone who cares about University of South Alabama athletics owes a debt of gratitude to Joe Gottfried, who has led the growth and expansion of the Jaguar athletic program for more than a quarter century. He has guided Jaguar Athletics to new heights of accomplishment and has set the stage for greater achievement in the future. The entire University of South Alabama family appreciates his contribution, and we trust that he will remain a familiar face at Jaguar athletic events.”

The Jaguar Athletic program has experienced success in competition as well as in the classroom. He has been key in the development of numerous athletic facilities but also on the community with the recent addition of the football program to USA.

During his time at USA, the Jags was presented with the Vic Bubas Cup which goes to the program that demonstrates excellence in the league’s now 19 sports. USA has claimed this honor 10 times in a 13 year span, which no other school in league history has earned more than USA.

Here are some raw numbers. Overall, Men’s and Lady Jaguars have won 104 league titles, USA Teams have appeared in 54 NCAA Championship events, individuals have qualified for NCAA postseason action 123 times (this inclues two track and field athletes who have won NCAA titles). 75 USA student-athletes have earned All-America recognition while 62 coaches have been selected to the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in their sports. 95 baseball players have signed with teams in the professional ranks, including 17 who have gone on to the Major’s.

With the addition of football, the athletic department is now supporting an all-time high number of student-athletes at around 300.

In the classroom the students have excelled as well. In the most recent Academic Progress Rate report that was released by the NCAA, 13 of USA’s 16 programs scored above the 925 standard set by the NCAA. While Gottfried has been at USA, 83% of the student-athletes have graduated and 37 USA student-athletes have been named to the SBC Commissioner’s List for maintaining a 3.5 GPA or better with another 32 who have made the SBC Academic Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in 2007-2008.

Gottfried has been instrumental in the following buildings on campus: $30 Million Mitchell Center, a $3.5 Million renovation to Stanky Field, a 4,000 square-foot clubhouse, the intramural fields on campus, a $1 Million football field house to open this summer, a new Softball adn Soccer locker room and office complex, A new softball field, improvements to ‘The Cage’ (the soccer facility), the USA Track Complex and the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts. Future plans are a new academic center, upgrades to the track and field venue with new seating, lights and locker rooms.

Gottfried was also instrumental in getting the Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament to Mobile for the first time in 1991 and would also bring the highest attendance at the event in 20 years.

This is merely a few highlights to his great time here at the University of South Alabama. President Moulton will have very large shoes to fill.

From the fans of Jaguar sports, we thank you Coach Gottfried for your years of great service to the University and its fans. We are proud at what you have done for USA and we hope you have a great retirement. You are always welcome in the stands and we will miss you.

South Alabama Sports Round-Up 2009-05-28

May 28, 2009 · Filed Under Baseball, Basketball, Football, Men's, News · Comment 

Baseball

The Jaguars baseball teams season ended early in the Sun Belt Championship falling first to Troy 4-10 then again to Lousiana-Monroe 8-13. These two losses to end the season leaves the Jaguars with a 25-30 overall record for the season.

Head Coach Steve Kittrell said, “It was a tough loss, I hate for our seniors to go out like this. We’ve just got to regroup and get South Alabama back on top next year.”

However David Doss was named a Louisville Slugger third team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Doss hit .378 with 20 doubles, 12 homeruns and 59 RBI’s as a senior. He was a four-year letter winner.

Men’s Basketball

Head Basketball Coach Ronnie Arrow announced on Tuesday that DeAndrae Ross and C.J. Garner will leave the program and transfer to another school.

Ross is a shooting guard that played in 27 games last season with six starts. He averaged 3.8 points per game.

Garner started 16 times as a point guard and appeared in 28 games last season. He averaged 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as well as 37 assists for the season.

Coach Arrows’ comments about them were, “Both of these young men contributed significantly to our team development last year and helped us get to the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.” He further added, “But they both decided it would be in their best interest to transfer and we wish them the best.”

Football

Head Coach Joey Jones and his staff are teaming up with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers to help save lives in Mobile and Baldwin counties with the Community Champions Blood Drive.

On Saturday, from 10AM to 3PM, Jones and his staff will be at LifeSouth’s donor center at 967 Hillcrest Road to donate blood and to encourage others to do the same. Also they will be delivering a piece of history that one lucky Jaguar fan will get.

The entire coaching staff have signed a football that will be given away on June 27th. During the month of June, every donor has the opportunity to enter a drawing to win the ball in addition to a signed banner that will be displayed during the first ever USA Football game on September 5th, 2009.

Additionally, the incoming players are now on campus and taking summer courses and getting prepared for the Fall season.

The NCAA Makes Some Decisions On The Use Of Twitter

May 20, 2009 · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

Twitter has emerged to be a huge social networking tool that can be used to help make lasting connections in the community. We use the Twitter account USAThunderjags to help promote the website, pass on up-to-date information and chat with South Alabama fans who are following us. Personally, I have made lots of contacts in the Mobile area for many things. It was only a matter of time before someone picked it up for recruiting. While its not as prevalent in high school kids as Facebook, it is the new way to keep in touch.

A few high profile coaches have gotten on the twitter train. Pete Carroll, Tom Crean, John Calipari and Gary Williams namely. But since that has came out, there has been some debate about just what coaches are and are not allowed to do on the platform.

Tom Crean tweeted this a few weeks ago: “I appreciate how many people are following me on this. Please remember that I cannot read or respond to replies. NCAA rules.” Then Kathleen Hessert, who is the President of Sports Media Challenge and also the person responsible for teaching Shaquille O’neil how to use Twitter, responded with: “Really? Compliance pros differ significantly on this. It needs clarity!”

The NCAA said that Crean is correct, any type of twittering back and forth using @replies that can be viewed in the public domain is not allowed. However, direct messaging on Twitter, which can be only viewed by the two people involved in the communication is permissible because it is seen as being equivalent to email. The same can go for facebook too. A coach can use the messaging function (similar to email) but can’t write on anyones wall. This is according to the current electronic transmission guidelines that are in place by the NCAA.

Cameron Schuh who is an Associate Director of Public and Media Relations for the NCAA said that they view the direct message option in Twitter the same way they view emails. You cannot post those on your main page. Schuh goes on and says that they view Twitter as a blog. “As long as coaches are on there talking about what they’re doing with their day and how their practice went or things like that … not getting into specific terms, that’s fine. They can’t talk about a person they’re recruiting, or they can’t use it to talk about their whereabouts on a recruiting trip.”

All of this applies to Coaches and recruits. But you will rarely, if ever, see a coach talking back and forth with fans on Twitter because compliance officers have strongly recommended that coaches should not do that. Why? Because you just never know who is behind the keyboard. Tennessee and Lane Kiffin found this out that hard way this week. There is no way to monitor who is and who is not a recruit by the name on someone’s account.

Plus, the logistics of having to respond to hundreds of replies would be a nightmare for a coach, they could literally spend entire days replying to fans posts without getting anything else done and still not be able to reply to each message.

Additionally, Twitter only allows Direct Messages between mutually following friends. Thus unless a coach is following a recruit and vice versa, direct messaging would not be able to occur through their official accounts.

Later the NCAA changed what they said and stated this: “In Division I, there are no specific NCAA restrictions to what kind of interaction a coach can have with a fan (on Twitter),” said Cameron Schuh, Associate Director of Public and Media Relations for the NCAA. “With that being said, that kind of interaction would fall under institutional discretion and would hopefully be closely monitored by the school and the coach.” Which seems to be in line with what the compliance officer said.

Are any coaches actually replying to anyone? Yes. Pete Carroll exchanged tweets with the official Lakers twitter account, but that hardly counts I would say.

So what can you take away from this? It shows that these bylaws are still being sorted out as they apply to new mediums, such as Twitter, as they pop up. Most of the time the NCAA is unsure of just how to enact them and how they apply. It seems that everything is sorted out for now. But one thing I am sure of is that the compliance officers are trying to err on the side of caution to help keep their programs out of any problems with the NCAA.

The Lane Kiffin/Tennessee Twitter story. Lane Kiffin didn’t even write the twitter post that has thrust Tennessee back into the headlines this week. Bascially what came out about that is that Tennessee is going to self-report another secondary NCAA violation after a high school recruit was mentioned by name on Tuesday on Lane Kiffin’s Twitter page. It was not Kiffin himself that wrote the post, but rather it was an employee in the football office who was updating Kiffin’s Twitter page for him.

It was up for about an hour before it was removed by Tennessee officials, however and hour in Internet time can be equated to an eternity. The NCAA rules prohibits coaches and athletic department employees from commenting about or publicizing unsigned prospects in any way.

Apparently the post originated from one of Kiffin’s personal assistants, which just so happened to be their first day. He posted the message on the Twitter page without asking about compliance.

This is the second such error by Kiffin that Tennessee has had to self-report involving an unsigned prospect. Back in February, he mentioned a player by name on a radio talk show in Knoxville and referred to him as a great player. Brown was still allowed to sign with Tennessee after they self-reported the violation.

Alabama seems to be using Twitter wisely. They use their Twitter account RollWithTheTide to tweet out what their assistant coaches are doing. For instance, earlier today this tweet was posted “Williams: practices and scrimmages all day today”. Then on May 17th this was posted, “Mac: travel day so i can get an early start first thing in the morning”. Back on May 12th, “Crimson Caravan Tonight in Panama City, FL– anxious to see all the fans”. Nothing wrong with those, nothing directed at people and no recruits names being used, yet you get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Alabama staff.

If you have an account on Twitter, then please follow USAThunderjags to receive the latest news and postings from Thunderjags.com  You can also follow me on Twitter as well.

Go Jags!

Some links to help you understand what twitter is.

DeAndré Coleman Scores Double-Double In Win Over West Florida

November 11, 2008 · Filed Under Basketball, Men's · Comment 

DeAndré Coleman had 10 rebounds and 12 points in the Jaguars 67-58 win over West Florida last night at the Mitchell Center. Dominic Tilford lead the Jags in scoring with 16 and Brandon Davis scored 12 and 8 rebounds. The Jags outscored the Argonauts 12-5 in the final four minutes to finally put them away.

Two players led the Argonauts in scoring with 14 each. The Jags held them to 38% shooting overall but allowed them to shoot 50% from 3-point range. Both teams had 15 turnovers each and the Jags were just over 40% from the field and converted all 23 free throws.

Go Jags!

Basketball Season Tickets Now Available

October 27, 2008 · Filed Under Men's · Comment 

I received an email stating that the time is now to get reserve seats for the upcoming basketball season. Starting at $50 this will guarantee you a seat for all of the home games. This works out to less than $3 a game, how can you go wrong there? Plus with games against Arkansas and WKU (Who made it to the sweet 16) its going to be a great season.

Call 461.1USA to get tickets today and cheer on the Jags from the stands.

Go Jags!