The University of South Alabama football squad does not return to action until 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18, but the countdown to the Jaguars’ homecoming celebration will kick off much sooner. USA will face the Georgia State Panthers in the “Clash of the Claws” at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in a Sun Belt Conference showdown.
The Jaguar Bash will start the celebration Monday from 6-8 p.m. in the Student Center parking lot. Students will have a chance to meet the football team, enjoy free food and entertainment, plus have the chance to “bash” a car bearing Georgia State decals.
Events continue throughout the week, leading to Friday’s busy schedule that includes a luncheon with head coach Joey Jones at noon and a college reunion party on the Alumni Hall Lawn from 4-6 p.m. The homecoming parade along South Drive starts at 6 p.m., with a pep rally to follow on the Mitchell Center’s North Plaza. Closing out the night will be a Lady Jaguar soccer game (featuring free admission) at 7 p.m. and a Battle of the Greeks step show at 8 p.m.
Serving as the grand marshal for this year’s parade is professional race car driver Grant Enfinger of Fairhope. Enfinger, who holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from USA’s Mitchell College of Business, just finished second in the ARCA circuit’s drivers championship after winning six events this season.
The pre-game tailgating that Saturday will include the Spirit Stick competition at 8 a.m. For ticket information, visit www.usajaguars.com. For a list of homecoming events, visit www.southalabama.edu, or call 251-460-7191.
The Jaguars are coming off a 47-21 SBC victory over Appalachian State. USA collected an impressive 582 yards in total offense, improving to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
Tip of the ball cap
Several local college athletes and teams have lately received special recognition. Leading the way is the Spring Hill men’s golf team, which opened its season with a win at the Union University Fall Invitational.
The Badgers earned the victory despite not winning a single round, with a 29-over par score of 893. Sophomore Sheldon Statkewicz, a McGill-Toolen grad, finished sixth in individual play with a six-over par total of 222.
• The Southern States Athletic Conference has named Bailey Nations of the University of Mobile the Volleyball Player of the Week. In helping the Lady Rams to three straight-set wins over SSAC foes, Nations has 35 kills over that stretch. For the season, the junior outside hitter leads the team with 122 kills.
• Daniel Leitner, a senior on the USA men’s tennis team, went undefeated to claim the singles Flight One title at the Crimson Tide Four-in-the-Fall tournament. Leitner, who is from Germany, beat Josh Yablon of Princeton 6-4, 6-7 (1-7), 6-3 in the championship round.
The Jags went 16-5 in the tourney, with 11 singles wins and five doubles victories. Sophomore Tuki Jacobs lost in the Flight Two championship.
• The University of Mobile upset second-ranked William Carey 2-1 in women’s soccer last week. Katie Compton and Tyler-Rae Molloy got the goals for the Lady Rams, who moved to 2-0 in league play.
• The Rams’ Cody Scott has been selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Honor Court. The honor recognizes the talents and gifts that student-athletes possess off the court and the hard work they exhibit in the classroom. A junior majoring in accounting, Scott has previously been named Capital One Academic All-District, SSAC All-Academic and Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
• South Alabama has also received honors off the field. The athletic department earned four 2014-15 Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Awards — twice as many as any other league member. The squads having the highest grade point averages in the SBC were the softball team, the men’s track and field program, plus the women’s and men’s cross country teams.
• For the sixth season in a row, the Golf Coaches Association of America named the USA men’s golf program an All-Academic Team. The Jaguars had a school-record four individuals honored as All-American Scholars — seniors Lane Hulse and Blake Kelley, plus juniors Miachel Garretson and Tyler Klava.
Not to be outdone, the USA women’s golf team has three players named Women’s Golf Coach Association Division I All-American Scholars for the 2013-14 campaign. There were Ingrid Hagen, Jordan Knight and Ashleigh Ryals.
Ten members of the USA softball team have been selected All-America Scholar-Athletes by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, as the team finished 28th nationally in overall grade point average. Earning at least a 3.5 GPA were Blair Johnson, Kaitlyn Griffith, Julie Moss, Taylor Rodgers, Clara Bowen, Amanda Herron, Farish Beard, Alex Breeden, Emily Messer and Alyssa Linn.
Happenings on the Hill
Spring Hill College officials have announced several personnel moves in their athletic department.
Sheila L. Martin has been hired as the assistant athletic director for internal affairs and compliance/senior women administrator. She will be responsible for the school’s compliance procedures as the Badgers continue their move into NCAA Division II.
The college also announced the hiring of Carrie Clayton as the school’s spirit program coordinator, as she will deal with the Badger Cheer and Dance programs. Prior to coming to SHC, the UMS-Wright grad was a performer and assistant coach with the South Alabama’s Prowlers Dance Team.