Jim & Thomas Duff Athletic Center
The Southern Miss Athletic Center is a state-of-the-art 60,000-square foot building that gives the Golden Eagle family one of the best-such facilities in the southeast as well as in the nation.
The building was a dream in the minds of many for years, then several more years for the planning and fundraising phase and over two years under construction before the dream became a reality in 2002.
Located at the north end of M. M. Roberts Stadium, the Athletic Center has been the focal point of athletics on the Southern Miss campus. Coaches and administrators have long discussed how much such a facility was needed and what it would mean to the Golden Eagle program, but their assessments may have been truly understated. The building has proven to be much more than just a building.
Thanks to the generosity of the Circle of Champions (each of the current 78 members will give $10,000 a year for 10 years) and other private donations, the $11 million Athletic Complex is now in use. One fourth of the building was funded through a 1996 state appropriation and the remaining monies were raised privately.
Ground was broken on the facility on Oct. 6, 2000, and a little less than two years later, the first floor of the facility was in use for the 2002 football season, and the second floor was completed and occupied early in 2003.
The Athletic Center is the pride and joy of the Southern Miss Department of Athletics and benefits all student-athletes and staff members. The first floor of the facility consists of a sports medicine lab and athletic training facility, weight room, equipment room, home and visiting football locker rooms and meeting space for various athletic teams.
The sports medicine lab and athletic training facility has all the modern equipment needed for proper prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitation of injuries, including an on-site x-ray machine, as well as a large SwimEX rehabilitation pool.
The weight room is furnished with the most modern equipment available for developing speed, strength and endurance. The spacious facility features free-weight equipment, a full line of Hammer Strength equipment, 12 multi-purpose platforms and other apparatuses used for developing speed and agility.
The second floor of the center houses the administrative offices of the athletic department, as well as coaches' offices for every sport, except volleyball, men's and women's basketball and baseball. Also included are various administrative conference rooms, and position group meeting areas for football.
The exterior of the building is decorated in Southern Miss fashion with a cast iron Golden Eagle statue, with a wingspan measuring seven feet, situated in the Circle of Champions recognition area between M. M. Roberts Stadium and the Athletic Center. An identical cast iron eagle welcomes people as they enter the front of the building as well.
The Athletic Center gives the student-athletes, athletic staff, administration and Golden Eagle fans a centerpiece in which they can take pride and feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they helped make it happen.