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To The Top - Our Vision for Athletics

Nov. 2, 2017

TO THE TOP

OUR VISION FOR ATHLETICS


Special Meetings with Special People
Over the past 8 months, I have had the special opportunity to meet with hundreds and hundreds of special people who are in some way connected with Southern Miss Athletics. From our own President Bennett and his University Leadership Team, to Professors, Instructors and members of our University staff. This extends to our Department Staff, our Coaches, our Student-Athletes, our Graduate Assistants, our Vendors, Business Owners and Corporate Representatives. Some of my favorite meetings have been the fans in the stands. In turn, I’ve been to dozens of cities and a number of states (I’ve been everywhere man) to meet with our Constituents, and to watch our teams compete.

My meetings have has also included our devoted Eagle Club Donors, and a very special group of Donors known as our Circle of Champions. These individuals have committed their financial resources to support our Department of Athletics in a significant way.

As I have met with this incredible array of individuals, one of the most frequent questions I hear is:

What is your vision for the Department of Athletics?

It’s a great question and I think about it all the time. Following 24 years in the industry, I have some very specific thoughts about comprehensive excellence, and building a championship culture. This has included the development of our first formalized Needs Report, which lists our top priorities for the Department.

Diversity of Thought
Yet as I depart from my meetings, I find myself deeply interested in others’ Vision for our Department. Since day-one, I’ve been interested in our collective vision for our future. Above all else, as we envision our future, I am interested in the diversity of thought and perspectives. I am interested in developing a compelling vision that incorporates the best thoughts from across a community of constituents. And as I have shared with my staff, I firmly believe that this diversity of thought and opinion is best summarized with the statement:

No one of us is as smart as all of us!

Rest assured that my Leadership Team, our Senior Staff, and all our Staff and Coaches are familiar with the fundamental elements of a compelling Vision. We see:

Alignment – with the educational mission of the University and support of President Bennett

Mission and Guiding Principles – and embracing comprehensive excellence as our prevailing mindset

Strong and Diverse Leadership Team – seasoned Professionals and experts leading the Department

Strategic and Operational Planning – with clear priorities, plans, processes and models

Sustainable Financial Models – effective, efficient and sustainable funding for our programs

Academic Achievement – the graduation of our Student-Athletes with meaningful degrees

We see these and so many other elements of a successful and thriving Athletics Department: strict compliance to the rules and regulations and standards that mandate integrity and fair play, world-class Coaches serving exceptional Student-Athletes. We see a community of interested and engaged fans and supporters who view our Athletic Department as a point of pride.

My Vision – Your Vision – Our Vision
So the next time we meet, if you should ask about my vision for the future of Southern Miss Athletics, be prepared for a question in return: 

What is your vision for our future?

You see, we invite your vision to be a part of our vision. And in the end, our diversity of thought is what will make our vision strong and clear.

Needs Report – Name Change!
On November 1st – I met with my Leadership Team to rename our Departmental Needs Report. On that day, it was named the:

OUR Eagle Vision

In short order, I will have OUR Eagle Vision posted and updated on our website. This document will represent the best of our collective thoughts on the future of our Department. So if you have thoughts about the vision for our future, I encourage you to contact us.

You might be surprised to know that we are already aware of the need for a new sound system in the Football Stadium, and of 1001 other items to improve our program – from an updated Academic Center, to a Wellness Facility, and even the food we serve on game day.

Brian Morrison on our Leadership Team will be the focal point for our efforts. I encourage you to contact Brian with your thoughts and recommendations. His phone number is 601-266-5055. He can also be reached at Brian.Morrison@USM.edu.  Together, our vision is to take this program To The Top!

To The Top!

Jon

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