June 26, 2012
ST. LOUIS - Associate Director of Athletic Media Relations Shirley Hill was honored over the weekend with a 25 Years of Service award from the College Sports Information Directors of America organization at their annual convention in St. Louis.
Hill, a member of the Southern Miss family for 34 years, entered the sports information profession after a stellar career as a Lady Eagle basketball player, graduate assistant and assistant coach. She was also honored with the distinction of being the first female inducted into the Southern Miss M Club Hall of Fame.
In her time as a sports information director, Jones-Hill has worked under four department heads including Ace Cleveland, Regiel Napier, Mike Montoro and Jack Duggan.
Of Hill's work ethic and commitment to the student-athletes and coaches she serves, Napier said, "Not only a standout high school and collegiate athlete, Shirley quickly developed skills that made her invaluable not only to the media relations office but also to the entire athletic department.
"She was, and remains, a `I never-met-a-stranger, I-can-quickly-master-any-computer-program, and I-can-help-you-out-of-any-difficult-situation-you-might-be-able-to-imagine' person who did exactly that for me more times than I can recount. The time we worked together remains very special for me. When she eventually retires someone will take her place, but replacing her will be much harder."
Former Director of Media Relations and current West Virginia University staffer Mike Montoro added, "Congratulations to Shirley for an outstanding 25 years of service to Southern Miss, and it's only fitting that she is recognized by the national organization for her hard work. Shirley has a lot of passion and drive for Southern Miss Athletics and its student-athletes. She has been a backbone of the media relations office for many years and a driving force in their publicity efforts."
For the previous five years, Hill has worked with current Director Jack Duggan, himself, like Hill, an alumnus of the University.
"Shirley Hill is a fixture to Southern Miss Athletics and a wonderful ambassador for The University of Southern Mississippi," said Duggan. "We are very privileged to have her expertise and character as a part of this media relations office. Not only does Shirley put in long, arduous hours, she does it in a way that always manages to keep a smile on her face. I congratulate her on achieving her 25-year award from CoSIDA."
Her entire career, however, has been witnessed by the "Voice of the Golden Eagles," play-by-play man John Cox, who along with Hill, holds the longest tenured spot of any current Golden Eagle athletic staffer.
"I have known Shirley since her days as a talented young basketball player at Southern Miss who gave everything she had to make the Lady Eagle basketball program better," said Cox. "It's that same drive, dedication and love of Southern Miss that has made her so successful in covering and promoting Southern Miss and Southern Miss athletics over the past 25 years. Her talents and abilities have made her one of the best in the business, and I have been proud to work alongside of her and learn from her all of these years and proud of what she has accomplished here at Southern Miss."
Hill and her husband of 27 years, Moses, have also contributed back to the student-athlete family by way of their two daughters, Courtney and Megan, who both had stand-out careers on the Golden Eagle softball team.
In her time, hundreds, if not thousands, of student-athletes have come through the Hattiesburg campus and Hill has relished the opportunity to work with each one of them.
"The best part of my job has been working with the student-athletes," she stated in an April interview with CoSIDA. "They come into your life and they give you a purpose. You watch them grow and mature into functioning adults. There have been so many people I have met over the years and now I have made a lot of life-long friends in this business."
Hill currently manages the media relations efforts for women's basketball, volleyball, men's and women's tennis and track and field.