Photo | University of Mobile
Groundbreaking of the University of Mobile’s new strength and conditioning complex.
Except for its cross-country squads, the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed most athletic activities at the University of Mobile (UM) up to this point. However, it does not mean the Rams have not been busy with announcements.
Dignitaries recently took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking event for the J.L. Bedsole Strength and Conditioning Complex. Both UM student-athletes and participants in the university’s School of Health and Sports Sciences will use the 4,000-square-foot facility.
The J.L. Bedsole Foundation awarded a grant to UM for the facility. It will support the university’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) programs that have outgrown the 35-year-old weight room and training facility in Pharr Gymnasium.
“From day one, the J.L. Bedsole Foundation has been a major part of our campus. This would not be possible without the help of Chris Lee,” Dr. Lonnie Burnett, president of the University of Mobile, said of the foundation’s executive director.
The complex will provide space for weight and cardiovascular training, offices, plus an exterior training area that can be used for campus functions, community athletic events and fundraising receptions.
The late J.L. Bedsole was the initial chairman of the board of trustees for the Baptist-affiliated university. He was also the first to receive an honorary doctorate in 1968. During the groundbreaking ceremony, Burnett presented Bedsole’s original document to Lee.
“I know that Mr. Bedsole would be very proud of the University of Mobile today and the presence you have not only in our community but in the region and the country,” Lee said. “You have created a culture of excellence, empathy and understanding.”
Dr. Bruce Earnest, vice president for advancement at UM, thanked all the donors who contributed to this project and said the university is seeking additional partners. Donations may be made at umobile.edu/giving.
“We are looking at the future of many amazing things. As we give thanks for this building, we give thanks for all things God has provided us,” Earnest said.
Students in the School of Health and Sports Science will use the facility to gain practical experience and earn professional credentials in the areas of kinesiology, exercise science, athletic training and sports administration.
The complex will also be the site for a partnership with local schools to host community workshops, camps and college preparation initiatives to assist underserved student-athletes.
NAIA National Awards Day
Sixteen UM teams have met the requirements for the 2019-20 NAIA Scholar Team Award. To be recognized as an NAIA Scholar Team, an athletic program must have earned a team GPA of 3.0 or higher over the course of the academic year.
The squads honored include women’s tennis (3.83), volleyball (3.68), softball (3.64), women’s golf (3.59), women’s soccer (3.59), women’s cross-country (3.5), women’s basketball (3.39), women’s outdoor track and field (3.38), women’s indoor track and field (3.34), men’s golf (3.3), men’s soccer (3.25), men’s tennis (3.22), baseball (3.20), men’s cross-country (3.2), competitive cheer (3.19) and men’s outdoor track and field (3.15).
* The NAIA also announced more than 10,000 student-athletes have been named as 2019-20 Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athletes. This program recognizes excellence in the classroom for those student-athletes who are juniors or seniors with an academic standing of a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA.
Overall, the UM athletic department saw 42 student-athletes named as a 2019-20 Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete. This list includes:
Softball: Payton Adams, Hope Cain, Destinee Cole, Hailee Powell, Kaylee Pullin, Kaitlyn Spangler, Allison Vincent, Maegan Walding and Savannah Woodruff.
Women’s soccer: Abi Bush, Cheyne Bush, Shannie Chiasson, Tori Clement, Rachel Garbe, Heidi Giles and Kirstie Ruff.
Volleyball: Genelle Boyer, Carley Hamric, Anna Claire Harris, Casey Lunceford, Sarah Murry and Avery Wasdin.
Baseball: Hunter Avery, Sage Baggett, Bailey Bannon and Dalton Shell.
Women’s basketball: Jazmine Atkins, Lauren Bodino, Jordan Hall and Kendra Langham.
Men’s soccer: Alejo Binaghi, Lukas Burt and Obed Asare.
Women’s track and field: Angel Peterson, Aneya Raynor and Chrislyn Whaley.
Women’s cross-country: Taylor Barkley and Madelyn Wells.
Men’s golf: Noah Whittington.
Men’s track and field: Ethan Cowart.
Women’s golf: Josie Headrick.
Women’s tennis: Claire Travis.
The Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) — of which UM is a member — has been named an NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Conference for the 2019-20 school year.
All 10 members of the conference were named NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institutions, with eight of those reaching the Gold level. The University of Mobile earned a perfect score, along with SSAC members Loyola University of New Orleans, Middle Georgia State plus William Carey University and Blue Mountain College of Mississippi.
The criteria for the NAIA award includes these points:
* Established Champions of Character Conference Committee.
* Conference has a conduct in competition oversight committee composed of a minimum of three members.
* At least 60 percent of member institutions must receive the NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Institution Award.
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