The University of South Alabama is renowned for having the best athletic program in the Sun Belt Conference. For the last three years, the Jaguars have captured the Vic Bubas Cup, which recognizes the league’s top all-around school.
But success is nothing new for USA. During its half-century in existence, many outstanding athletes have proudly worn the red, white and blue uniforms.
Three such All-Americans will be recognized this weekend. The newest inductees into the University of South Alabama Athletic Hall of Fame are David Doss, Ajoke Odumosu and Viktoria Stoklasova.
The Class of 2017 will be inducted during an on-campus ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 11. Later that day they will be recognized on the Ladd-Peebles Stadium field at halftime of the Jaguars’ game against Arkansas State.
The addition brings the number of former student-athletes, coaches and administrators who have been honored to 79 since the creation of the USA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. Here is a brief overview of the inductees provided by the school:
David Doss — A four-year letterwinner in baseball from 2006-09, Doss began his career being named to Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman All-America team and the SBC Freshman of the Year after batting .400 and helping South reach the NCAA Regionals. He eventually earned third-team All-America honors and all-league honors each of his last three years at three different positions. He left as the Jaguars’ all-time leader in hits (312), doubles (70) and runs batted in (197), and was ranked in the top 10 on the school’s all-time list with a .367 batting average, 37 home runs and 195 runs scored.
Ajoke Odumosu — After earning All-America honors in the 400-meter hurdles as a senior, Odumosu went on to represent Nigeria at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. The Jaguar record-holder in the indoor and outdoor 400-meter dashes as well as the outdoor 400-meter hurdles, she qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400-meter hurdles as a freshman. In three years — she missed the 2005 campaign because of an injury — she won eight individual titles at SBC Indoor and Outdoor Championships, and was named to the league’s 30th Anniversary All-Time Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Team.
Viktoria Stoklasova — After lettering three times for the Jaguar women’s tennis team from 2001-03, Stoklasova earned an invitation to the NCAA Singles Championship during her last two seasons. She was ranked among the top 40 players in the country in both singles and doubles in 2002 — she was fifth in the region in both as well — and after ending the following season 33rd nationally received All-America recognition. Her efforts helped the Jaguars win the SBC championship each of her three years. A two-time all-conference selection, Stoklasova was named to the SBC 30th Anniversary All-Time Women’s Tennis Team and earned second-team academic all-district honors her final year.
• The University of South Alabama football team will close out its home schedule Saturday, Nov. 11, with a 4 p.m. start when it plays host to Arkansas State. Along with the Hall of Fame event, the Jaguars will honor their senior class in a pregame ceremony prior to taking on the league co-champions from a year ago.
The Red Wolves have won all five previous matchups in this series, including a pair at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in 2013 and 2015.
• USA’s Corliss Waitman was recently selected the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week by the Augusta Sports Council. The junior had a career-high four of five punts end inside the 20-yard line — tying the school game record in the category — at Georgia State while recording an average of 46.4 yards per kick against the Panthers.
Waitman has also been included on the complete list of candidates for the 2017 Ray Guy Award. He is currently sporting the best season punting average in program history with a 45.38 figure.
Tornados tip off
Coming off a Final Four appearance in the American Basketball Association playoffs, the Port City Tornados take the home court for the first time this weekend against the Pro Elite Flyers of Birmingham. Games are set for Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Bright Spot events complex (2501 E. Interstate 65 Service Road North).
The Tornados have lost only six regular-season games over the last four years. They won the Gulf Coast Division in 2016 and 2017. Last year, they added the Southeast Region and earned a berth to the league semifinals, where they fell to eventual champion Jacksonville Giants by two points.
“Reaching the ABA Championships Final Four in Baltimore taught me that basketball in key games is like life in tough situations,” team owner Charlie McCants said. “It is important to have the right mindset and attitude to handle pressure without falling apart. Only change your game plan when it is not working, never forget the basics and the steps that gave you success.”
The Tornados have three starters returning. Anthony Sims, a 6-foot-4 guard/forward who played at Blount High School, Faulkner State and University of West Florida, averaged 22 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
Erik Thrash, another Blount alumni who played at Bishop State, has averaged 30-plus points the last four seasons. McCants called the 5-foot-11 point guard a coach on the floor.
Tycal Thrash, who played at LeFlore High School and Alabama State, averaged 18 points and 6 assists last year. He is a 5-11 point guard.
The remaining roster includes Jamichael Lofton (PG, 5-10), Tevin Bettis (F, 6-2), Patrick McKenzie (C, 6-11), Greg Crum (F, 6-3), Maurice Irby (F, 6-4), AJ Lynch (G, 6-3), La’Craig Brown (F, 6-4), James Buford (G, 6-0), Laquan Stadmire (F, 6-3), Justin Hansberry (G/F, 6-3), Joseph Grimes (G, 6-2), Cordero Dade (F/C, 6-6) and Mack Clark (C, 6-10).
The ABA is donating $1 from each ticket during the opening weekend to a Hurricane Relief Fund to assist storm victims. The Tornados will also donate $1 to its Tornados Kids Club Membership Program, which encourages youth through sports and performing arts.
For a complete schedule and ticket information, visit www.PortCityTornados.com.
Photos/ Courtesy University of South Alabama – David Doss left USA with a .367 batting average, 37 home runs and 195 runs. Ajoke Odumosu won eight individuals titles at SBC Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Viktoria Stoklasova helped the Jaguars win the SBC championship each of her three years.
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