Author: J. Mark Bryant

Marathon unites with groups for MLK Day event

The ServisFirst Bank First Light Marathon presented by Mobile Sports Authority will take place on Sunday, Jan. 14, for the 17th time. From its humble beginnings, the marathon has grown over the years to be a USA Track and Field-certified 26.2-mile course attracting runners from all 50 states and 12 countries. It is also a qualifier for the famous Boston Marathon. The original idea behind the event was to raise funds for L’Arche Mobile, a Christian community that shares the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in a permanent, family-like environment. To show their appreciation, L’Arche members make approximately...

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Artists invited to enter stamp contest

Duck hunting is a very popular pastime in Alabama. So is the competition to supply the art for the waterfowl stamp required for all those licensed to hunt migratory waterfowl in the state. Alabama artists are invited to enter the 2018 art contest, which is open now through Feb. 9. The winning artwork will be featured as the design of the 2019-20 Alabama Waterfowl Stamp. Sale of the stamp is used to purchase, establish and improve migratory waterfowl habitat. John Denney of Alexander City was the winner of this year’s contest with his painting of an American green-winged teal....

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USA names new coach; SBC honors Reaves

The regular season may have ended for the University of South Alabama football team, but news about the Jaguars continues to roll in regarding the coaching staff and the selection of the conference Player of the Year. Topping the list of headlines was the naming of Steve Campbell to take over the program. He replaces Joey Jones, who stepped down after having started the team from scratch. “Wow. I’m very, very excited and to say that would be an understatement,” said the 51-year-old Campbell, who comes to USA after a four-year stint at Central Arkansas.“Like [Director of Athletics] Dr....

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Toledo gets another shot at App State in Dollar General Bowl

It will be déjà vu all over again when the University of Toledo and Appalachian State University clash this Saturday in the Dollar General Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN. In 2016, the same teams met in the Camellia Bowl, with the Mountaineers taking 31-28 victory. Four times App State secured a 7-point lead, only to see Toledo force a tie. The outcome was not decided until Michael Rubino kicked a 39-yard field goal with 5:14 left to play. The two powerhouses managed to earn the rematch...

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Championships call Baldwin County home

Soccer is making a big splash on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Since 2003, the Southeastern Conference has hosted its women’s championship at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. Just up State Highway 59, officials with the Foley Sports Tourism Complex are also getting a piece of the action. For the second year in a row, they hosted the Sun Belt Conference women’s championship. In addition to that event, it has been announced Foley will be home to the Alabama Soccer Association State Cup for the next five years. The tournament returned for a second year in November, and will now be...

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Murphy, Bishop State students learn about sports careers

The United States Sports Academy is known around the world for having taught sport education programs in some 65 countries. The Daphne-based institution, though, has not forgotten its local connections. Students from Murphy High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program recently crossed Mobile Bay to learn about career options in the world of sports. Meanwhile, USSA has entered into an articulation agreement with Bishop State Community College that will help their students complete a Bachelor of Sports Science degree. The IB program’s stated goal is to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. With the...

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Jones resigns as only football coach USA has ever known

When I got the alert on my phone that Joey Jones was stepping down as head coach of the University of South Alabama football team, I was saddened by the news — but not shocked. After seeing the embarrassing 52-0 shutout to previously winless Georgia Southern, I felt his days were numbered. Just a few weeks ago, the future looked much different. The Jaguars had beaten two teams battling for the Sun Belt Conference title (Troy and Arkansas State) and a possible bowl bid was in reach. But an overtime loss to Idaho and two narrow defeats to Georgia...

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Local college teams pick up multiple honors

It has been quite an impressive display by local collegiate squads over the last few weeks. Here are some of the highlights: • For the first time in school history, the University of Mobile Rams volleyball team claimed the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament title. Mobile (37-3, 14-0) set a single-season record for consecutive wins in the semifinals against Middle Georgia State and stretched it to 27 in a row by sweeping Faulkner for the title. “Today was a great day for UM volleyball,” said head coach Jon Campbell. “The team played nearly flawless to win the semifinal match...

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