The University of Southern Mississippi is turning over a new leaf. The Golden Eagle community was left with heavy hearts due to the devastating tornado in February and the unfortunate football season last year. However, the Golden Eagles are bouncing back with more enthusiasm than ever.
The University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett is beginning his first year with the support of students and local residents of Hattiesburg. Bennett was announced the tenth president and the first African American president of USM. Bennett has spoken about numerous issues for the future of our university.
“What you’re going to get from me is somebody asking those uncomfortable questions,” Bennett said.
He promised faculty members they would get a true voice in decisions and told them he would be an advocate and a supporter of shared governance.
USM has also welcomed a new head football coach, Todd Monken, and a new athletic director, Bill McGillis.
McGillis told The Kansas City Star, “Our expectation and aspiration is to win championships and be highly competitive at a conference and national level, I believe we can do that. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think so.”
After a disappointing season, Southern Miss students and the community are coming back with passion and excitement for a new season.
The highly anticipated new head football coach Todd Monken, formerly the offensive coordinator of Oklahoma State, is excited and ready to tackle this season.
“You want high expectations,” Monken said. “You want to be at a place where winning is expected. And this is one of those places. This is a new era of Southern Miss football. You’ve had that history and tradition — hit what I call a one-year speed bump — but I’m looking with great confidence to the future and not looking back.”
To celebrate the new era, Southern Miss will be sporting new uniforms for the 2013-2014 season. Russell Athletic and Southern Miss agreed to a five year deal that will pay Southern Miss $2.75 million after their contract with Nike expired.
The senior class helped Russell Athletic design the new uniforms. The uniforms are definitely something different that will take some getting used to, but should grow on the fan base. The best part of the new look is the helmets that have yellow flakes in the black paint.
Major improvements have been made to M.M. Roberts Stadium during the months following the last football season. The Rock received new turf and a new state-of-the-art LED scoreboard for the upcoming season. Both needed to be repaired after the tornado tore through campus.
This football season will mark a turning point for our beloved university as the product on the field should improve dramatically.