HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Wednesday proved to be both an exciting and rewarding day for Southern Miss athletics that included new features to its national signing day festivities as well as a day-ending upset victory over a nationally ranked team in women's basketball.
The Department of Athletics started its National Signing Day with its first-ever web show, a three-hour program that was hosted by the Voice of the Golden Eagles, John Cox, and included interviews with Southern Miss Director of Athletics Bill McGillis, football coach Todd Monken, and the Golden Eagle assistant coaches. The program, which attracted almost 600 viewers, also provided signing updates as well as highlights of the future Southern Miss players. This coverage complimented the usual information provided on the school's website at SouthernMiss.com, which saw 7,762 unique visitors go to its Signing Day Central web page.
In addition, the school did something that they had never tried before. An ambitious effort was undertaken to reach three different sites in three different parts of the state in a better effort to spread the word of the 23 newest Golden Eagles.
After a luncheon in Hattiesburg at Buffalo Wild Wings, Monken and part of his staff then made its way to Jackson for a late-afternoon social in the Jackson area, before finishing the day later in the evening on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The Golden Eagle staff was treated to crowded and energetic rooms in all three locations deeming the day a success with Southern Miss fans eagerly awaiting the start of the 2014 season.
Still, the day wasn't complete. At least not until Joye Lee McNelis' women's basketball squad knocked off No. 21 Middle Tennessee at Reed Green Coliseum, 68-56, snapping the Blue Raiders 17-game winning streak. Four Lady Eagles scored in double figures to lead the way and senior All-America candidate Jamierra Faulkner poured in 11 assists to give the Lady Eagles their third consecutive victory as they improved their home mark to 13-1. This season the Lady Eagles are 16-5 overall and 5-3 in league play.
The Lady Eagles victory capped off one of many great days for Southern Miss athletics to come.