Softball superstar Farish Beard is being inducted into the University of South Alabama Athletics Hall of Fame.
Photo | Courtesy of USA
The University of South Alabama (USA) has fielded many excellent sports teams since the Department of Athletics was formed in 1964. The collection of numerous Vic Bubas Awards signifying the best overall program in the Sun Belt Conference proves this point.
However, great teams do not exist without great players and great coaches. To bring attention to those who leave their mark at USA, the Athletics Hall of Fame was created.
Following a one-year break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, another individual will have their name join other former Jaguar stars this weekend. The latest inductee is softball superstar Farish Beard of Fairhope.
“It’s an honor to be inducted into the South Alabama Hall of Fame,” she told Lagniappe. “There are some incredible names that I get to join.”
The newest inductee, who is married to former USA baseball player Bud Collura, does not take this honor for granted.
“I remember going to inductions while I was in school and really looking up to all of those previous athletes and their stories,” said the ace pitcher, who became a mother this year with the birth of a daughter named Swayze. “It’s surreal to me that I will be joining them.
“The four years I spent playing softball at South are some of my favorite memories. I’m looking forward to celebrating with teammates on Oct. 30 and always — Go Jags!”
The ceremony will take place Saturday at the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center. Beard will also be honored on the field at halftime of the Jaguars’ football game that day against Arkansas State at Hancock Whitney Stadium.
With Beard’s induction, the USA Athletics Hall of Fame will now include 89 student-athletes, coaches and administrators who have been recognized since 1989.
“At the core of a department of athletics are the people who have taken the lead in establishing excellence, tradition and pride in being a Jaguar,” USA Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann told Lagniappe.
“It is those leaders that we recognize through induction into the Athletics Hall of Fame. They are our role models and the ones who set the high bar for those that come after them.”
In recognition of her selection, the USA Department of Athletics submitted this glance back at Beard’s time as a Jaguar:
During her four-year career from 2012 to 2015, Beard was a two-time second-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association all-region selection who earned all-Sun Belt Conference (SBC) honors on three different occasions after being named first-team all-league as a junior as well as second-team all-SBC two other years.
In addition, the right-hander from Baldwin County was also chosen as the SBC Pitcher of the Week five times throughout her career while also making the all-tournament team at the league championship her senior season.
The school’s all-time leader in three different statistical categories — earned run average (1.57), opponents’ batting average (.148) and strikeouts per seven innings (9.28) — also stands third on the career record list with 63 wins and 21 shutouts, and is fourth with 603 strikeouts and 454.2 innings pitched. She went 23-0 with a 1.61 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 143.1 innings as a sophomore, following up with a 22-7 mark, 1.23 ERA and 224 strikeouts in 164.2 innings the next season to be named second-team all-region both years.
She became the second USA student-athlete to be taken in a professional draft when she was selected in the sixth round of the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch Draft by the Dallas Charge. The indoor hitting facility at USA was named in her honor on May 1, 2017.
Her efforts helped the Jaguars go 171-53 (76.3 percent) over four years, with the team winning three Sun Belt Tournament championships while making four NCAA Regional appearances during that stretch.
At Fairhope High School, Beard led the Pirates to an Area 3 tournament championship, the runner-up spot in the 6A regional tournament and third place in the Alabama State Tournament in 2011. She recorded 1,461 strikeouts in her high school career, held a career ERA of 0.78 and threw 23 no-hitters over her four years. She once pitched 28 innings in the state tournament without giving up an earned run.
It has been a special season so far for the men’s soccer team at the University of Mobile (UM). They are currently ranked among the best teams in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Among the wins this year was a special one for head coach Daniel Whelan. It marked his 100th career victory with the Rams during his eighth season as head coach. He has led the Rams to the NAIA National Championship tournament three times.
The university reported numerous cheers poured in for Whelan after reaching the milestone. Whelan has been given the nickname “Bestie” because of how respected he is. Several former Rams, including current professional players, sent messages over social media to congratulate Whelan.
At the time this article was written, UM was ranked fifth in the nation. The team was 12-1 overall and 5-0 in the Southern States Athletic Conference standings.
The UM program recently swept the SSAC Men’s Soccer Player of the Week honors. Alejo Binaghi was named Offensive Player of the Week and Antoine Bedos was selected Defensive Player of the Week.
Bedos, a senior goalkeeper from Paris, won the award for the second time this season. He posted a pair of shutouts, including beating No. 14 Dalton State. Bedos finished with three saves that week.
Binaghi, a senior forward from Buenos Aires, won the award for the third time in five weeks after totaling six points. He scored the game-winner against Dalton State and then added a pair of goals in a 4-0 win versus Faulkner, including the game-winner.
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