Southern Miss Golden Eagles and Lady Eagles
|Southern Miss Golden Eagles and Lady Eagles|
|University||University of Southern Mississippi|
|NCAA||Division I FBS|
|Athletic director||Bill McGillis|
|Football stadium||M.M. Roberts Stadium ("The Rock")|
|Basketball arena||Reed Green Coliseum|
|Baseball stadium||Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field|
|Other arenas||Southern Miss Softball Complex
Track & Field and Soccer Complex
|Fight song||Southern to the Top|
The school's earliest nickname was Tigers. Thereafter came such nicknames as Normalites (from Mississippi Normal College, the early name of the University), Yellow Jackets, Confederates, and Southerners. Golden Eagles was selected in a student/alumni vote in the early 1972. Seymour d'Campus is the name of the modern-day mascot eagle.
Southern Miss has a long history in the NCAA, and its intercollegiate sports teams operate under the auspices of the university's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors. Bowl games, conference championships, and All-American athletes have all been frequent occurrences at Southern Miss. Among notable alumni is former NFL quarterback Brett Favre and former NFL punter Ray Guy.
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles football team participates as a member of Conference USA and plays its home games in M.M. Roberts Stadium. In 2008, after 17 years at the helm of the USM Football program, Jeff Bower was replaced by Larry Fedora. The football team won two College Division national championships (as Mississippi Southern College, in 1958 and 1962), and won three of the first four Conference USA titles. Through the 2011 season, Southern Miss has posted 16 consecutive winning seasons. The program has had three undefeated seasons overall, including a 9-0 season in 1958. Thirty All-Americans have played for Southern Miss, including 12 first-team selections, and a number of players have moved on to the National Football League, most notably Dawg Pound creator and three time consecutive Pro-bowler Hanford Dixon, NFL Team of the Century punter Ray Guy and three-time NFL MVP Brett Favre.
- Tulane- The rivalry between Southern Miss and Tulane Green Wave football was born on the evening of October 13, 1979 = and is known as The Battle for the Bell. As members of Conference USA the two teams played each other every year until 2006, when the league was split into Eastern and Western Divisions. Following their 2010 meeting, Southern Miss leads the series 23-7.
- Memphis- The long-standing rivalry between Southern Miss and Memphis dates back to October 26, 1935 and is often referred to as the Black and Blue Bowl. This yearly classic garnered its name from the intense competitive nature of the contest, as well as the competing schools' colors: the black of Southern Miss and the blue of Memphis. Both teams are members of Conference USA in the Eastern Division, and the teams play each other every year. Following their 2010 meeting, Southern Miss leads the series 39-21-1.
- Mississippi State- The instate rivalry between the Bulldogs and Golden Eagles spans almost half a century. The two schools have played numerous contests, but a twenty year hiatus has cooled the rivalry to some extent. However, there is a schedule home and home series scheduled to begin in August 2014 in Starkville, MS, with a game in Hattiesburg in 2015. Southern Miss holds a two game advantage in the series 14-12 with one tie in twenty seven meetings.
- Louisiana Tech- The rivalry between Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech spans over 40 games and originated in 1935. The Southern Miss & Louisiana Tech Rivalry, or Rivalry in Dixie, was recently renewed in 2010 resulting in a 13-12 Golden Eagle victory in Ruston, Louisiana. The Golden Eagles then won the 2011 game in Hattiesburg, MS 19-17. Since 2010, Southern Miss leads the series 31-13.
News & notes
Southern Miss' football history currently includes eight bowl appearances and four league championships in the 12-year history of Conference USA. In 2007, the Golden Eagles and Coach Jeff Bower were selected as conference team and coach of the decade respectively.
After 17 years as head football coach, 14 of those being consecutive winning seasons, Jeff Bower was forced to resign. Former Oklahoma State University offensive coordinator, Larry Fedora, was named as his replacement.
Under first year head coach Larry Fedora, the Golden Eagles posted a 7-6 record after a dismal 2-6 start. The Golden Eagles won five straight games to finish the season, including wins over 2008 C-USA champion East Carolina and a New Orleans Bowl win over Sun Belt Conference champion Troy University. Also in 2008, the Golden Eagles football team boasted an 80% graduation rate and the men's program was awarded the 2008 David M. Halbrook Award for Academic Achievement Among Athletes having the best graduation rate of any of the eight public universities in the state of Mississippi.
The Lady Eagles also have a storied history. With 10 postseason appearances, the women's program is the most proficient at Southern Miss. In those 10 appearances, they have made the NCAA Tournament 8 times advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1994. The team has had two All-Americans including Janice Felder in 1994.
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles baseball team made its first ever appearance in the College World Series in 2009.
Eagle Fever, Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. and Go Gold! are the rallying cries that Golden Eagle students and fans have used to help create such traditions as Homecoming and EagleFest, tailgating in The District, Friday Night at the Fountain pep rallies, the Eagle Walk at The Rock, the game-day Eagle Walk parade, the Painting of the Eagle Walk, the Junior Eagle Club Tunnel, the band's Fifth Quarter Concert, featuring a hallmark rendition of Amazing Grace.
The first athletic teams were called Tigers or Normalites. In 1924, the mascot was changed to the Yellow Jackets. In April 1940, the student body of the newly renamed Mississippi Southern College voted to name the teams Confederates; the name was changed to the Southerners in 1941. General Nat (named for Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest) became the Southerners’ mascot in 1953; his horse was named Son of Dixie.
In 1972, an ad hoc committee appointed by the Alumni Association voted on submissions from alumni, faculty, students and staff for a new name, and . The name Golden Eagles was chosen. The mascot was an individual in a golden eagle costume. The mascot was later named Seymour d’Campus (a pun, or play on words, on "see more [of] the campus"). The name was inspired by the 1984 World's Fair mascot, Seymore D. Fair (a pun, or play on words, on "see more [of] the Fair"), who was played by former Southern Miss mascot Jeff Davis ’83.
Seymour d'Campus has competed in a number of Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) mascot competitions, ranking 21st in 2000, 11th in 2001, 7th in 2002, and 15th in 2003. In 2008 he ranked 10th and was also chosen to be one of the 12 members of the Capital One All American Mascot Team.
- Battle of the Bell
- "Southern Mississippi vs Memphis". College Football Data Warehouse. November 10, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Jones, Al (December 22, 2007). ""It's going to be emotional" - Golden Eagles coach bows out with bowl game". Biloxi Sun Herald. Archived from the original on 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Talbott, Chris (December 12, 2007). "Southern Miss Hires Fedora As New Coach". AP. Retrieved 2008-01-06.[dead link]
- 80% graduation rate
- Halbrook Award in 2008
- Women's College World Series
- "Golden Eagle wasn't always USM's mascot", Hattiesburg American, October 9, 2007 (pay site).
- "Traditions of The University of Southern Mississippi", The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association (accessed 28-02-2012).