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Getting To Know Your Golden Eagles

March 2, 2006

During the spring season, a player from each of the spring sports will sit down with a Southern Miss Athletics Media Relations intern to talk about their collegiate sports and life.

This entry features Southern Miss baseball player Marc Maddox, who sat down with Brandon Thomas, and Lady Eagle tennis player Nikhila Narra, who was interviewed by Mallory Haynes.

Senior Third Baseman Marc Maddox

What spot in the batting order is your favorite to hit in?

"Probably three, because I like to know that I'll be able to bat in the first inning, but four is fine too. It doesn't matter where I hit; whatever works best, but three is probably my favorite."

How does it feel to be playing in front of a hometown crowd?

"I love it. Coming to play at "The Pete" is great because we have huge crowds that all support you. It is awesome to have such a great atmosphere and you can't take that away."

Why do you wear the number 17?

"It was assigned to me when I got here, but I wore four in high school. The number 17 has been a good number for me because it's in memory of one of my best friends, who used to wear 17, who passed away. Another reason is because Stephen Hatten, who used to play here, also wore 17. This number has become a fitting for me and I like it."

What Major League Baseball player do you admire the most and why?

"Mark McGwire has always been my favorite player. I've liked him since "The Bash Brothers." I know it's crazy to pick him with all of the steroid speculation that is going on, but I still like him. I like the way he hits, and he was a great player when he was young."

Are there any superstitions you have before every game?

"Not any major ones because things change from day to day, but if something worked the previous day, then I will probably do it again. But as far as everyday superstitions, there really isn't one that I have."

What song did you choose this year as you step up to the plate?

Jay-Z and Linkin Park's "Encore." I like the song's intro, and it was (New York Yankees third baseman) A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez) and (Atlanta Braves second baseman) Marcus Giles' intro song last year during the season, which is where I first heard the song and thought it was cool. So after hearing it, I decided to use it as my intro this year."

What is your favorite restaurant to eat at in Hattiesburg?

"I would probably say Outback, even though now you can't eat there anymore because of the long, two hour wait every time you go. But I still like it, and enjoy going there."

What are some goals you want to accomplish for the season?

"I would like us to play well into the season this year, getting past the regional and see how far that takes us. We need to have a solid year, both offensively and defensively, as a team and as individuals."

How did it feel to be named to the Mississippi's Dandy Dozen as a high school senior?

"It was a great honor, considering that only 12 guys get that opportunity in the entire state of Mississippi. It was something I cherished and appreciated a lot."

What is the best thing about Southern Miss baseball?

"The atmosphere, the program, the guys. It's hard to name just one thing, because I enjoy everything that makes Southern Miss baseball what it is. We play great together as teammates, the atmosphere at "The Pete" is great which includes "The Roost," the fans who support Southern Miss everywhere and the buzz around town that makes being a Southern Miss baseball player great."

Lady Eagle Senior Tennis Player Nikhila Narra

How do you feel about being a senior this season? Does it make a difference in how you play knowing that it's your last year?

"Knowing that it's your last year definitely makes a difference in how you play. You remember every match and every team. I remember coming into a team that wasn't as talented as we are now because the program was just starting to be rebuilt. It's nice to see how far we have come, and the freshmen have no idea how good they have it. They get to start off on the right foot, and they'll have a blast for four years, but it flies by."

How have things been going for you so far this season?

"They're getting better and better. Our first match was against Ole Miss, and I came out strong. It's a match I should have won because I did all the right things. I'm improving match by match. My last match (against Southeastern on Feb. 24) was probably the best match I've ever played this early in the season."

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

"I'm looking for a graduate assistant position somewhere, preferably in sports administration. I really want to get a master's in a business field like economics or finance. If I can, I would like to stay here and get my MBA with an emphasis in sports management."

What other things are you interested in besides tennis?

"I love photography, skiing, and golf. I haven't had time to play any golf yet since we're a spring sport though."

What is something really funny about you that no one else knows?

"In high school, I used to work out with the guys tennis team. I was wearing these shorts that my mom got me in the sixth grade. I absolutely loved them, but I was a sophomore in high school. We were doing a drill where we were grabbing tennis balls out of our pockets and when someone misses, we have to get back in and volley. Now there were no girls around because it was a guys practice, and as I reached for a ball, I ripped my shorts down the side. It was the worst. It is probably the funniest and most embarrassing thing I've ever done."

Do you consider yourself a verbal leader on the team or the strong silent type?

"I'd say a little of both. There are times when I love to cheer and get people going whether it's at practice or during conditioning. When it comes to matches, I definitely think we're a vocal team. When we're down, we let everyone know, and when we're up, we let everyone know. I'm better at being vocal because I get tense when I'm silent."

Are there any professional athletes that you look up to?

"Lindsey Davenport, because she set the stage for college tennis. She resembles an ideal person who can do great in school, become a professional tennis player, and have other things going for you."

Do you have any nicknames?

"Nikki. Sherry Price calls me 'Pookie.' I don't know where it came from, and also 'Squirt'. When we were in nationals, a soft drink sponsored us and gave us some stuff to wear which included a sweatshirt, that I loved, and was my favorite sweatshirt growing up that had 'Squirt' on it. So people starting calling me squirt, and I'm small, so it matches."

What do you consider to be your theme song?

"Texas Angel."

Tell us a little bit about your internship this summer with CBS in New York.

"It was so much fun. I got to rub shoulders and work with people like Dan Marino. Growing up I wanted to be in the news business by watching people like Greg Gumble, so just getting to talk to them for a few seconds was awesome. Everyone said I had the biggest grin on my face. Growing up in Texas, you only hear about the bigger schools, so when I decided to come here I thought 'who knows Southern Miss.' At CBS people asked me where I went to school. When I told them that I went to Southern Miss, people go so excited. They knew where Southern Miss was. It made feel more proud than I already am to be playing here because of the mark we have made in athletics."

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