Oct. 23, 2009
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi Department Of Athletics recently was recognized with a Halbrook Award for its men's program for outstanding academic achievement and graduation rates for student-athletes during the 2008-09 academic year.
This was the seventh time the men's program captured the award and the sixth consecutive time they were honored.
Administered by the Mississippi Association of Colleges (MAC) and presented at its recent yearly banquet, the Southern Miss award was for the public universities competition in the state of Mississippi. The Halbrook awards were established by the State Legislature in 1995 and named for former State legislator David Halbrook, whose family also endows the award program.
Director of Athletics Richard Giannini said the awards were an acknowledgment of the university's ability to compete on a national level, both athletically and academically.
"Our student-athletes continue their hard work and dedication that they put into their academic fields of study, and not just on their respective playing fields," Giannini said. "This award helps document that hard work by everyone involved and shows the continued dedication to these pursuits with our men's program having now won for the sixth straight time. It's a tribute to the coaches and our staff from all of our programs for pushing academic success. I also want to thank the Southern Miss faculty because they are the ones who are teaching our student-athletes and instilling the quality to learn. We work hard to achieve high standards that our student-athletes continue to meet."
The Halbrook Awards dinner was held on Monday, Oct. 5. The event was part of the annual MAC conference where all of the Mississippi higher education institutions, which included public and private, as well as four-year and two-year schools, are represented. The four-year public schools for the state of Mississippi include Alcorn State, Delta State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss.
"The Student Academic Enhancement Program is proud of the accomplishments of our student-athletes," said Stacy Breazeale, Southern Miss Director of the Student Athlete Enhancement Program. "This continuing success is possible because of the dedication of our Academic Counselors and the support of our University faculty."
The women's program has also won the award once in its history.