Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Southern Miss Golden Eagles Football History

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History of Southern Miss

On September 18, 1912, Mississippi Normal College opened its doors with a faculty of 18 and 506 students. Over the past 88 years, that small teachers school has undergone three name changes and has evolved into the highly respected, nationally recognized, comprehensive institution of higher learning now known as The University of Southern Mississippi.

On October 13, 1912, less than a month after the first session of the college opened, Mississippi Normal College defeated the
Mississippi football historyHattiesburg Boy Scouts 30-0 in a football game at Kamper Park in Hattiesburg. From this inauspicious first athletic event in the history of Mississippi Normal College, the football program has evolved -- on a course roughly parallel to that of the University -- into the highly respected, nationally recognized, major college football power known as the SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES.

The 88-year climb to national prominence in college football culminated in 1999 with a victory in the Liberty Bowl and its highest ever national ranking at the major college level, 14th as voted by the Associated Press and 13th in the CNN/USA Today polls. During its 88-year history, the football team has won 465 games, lost only 311, and tied 27, giving it an impressive .599 winning percentage.

For the 65-year period beginning in 1935, when the team won six games in a season for the first time, the football team has compiled an even more amazing record of 409 wins, 210 losses and 12 ties, for a remarkable .661 winning percentage. (Author's Note: The statistics cited above do not include the seasons following 2000).

The road from a seemingly insignificant football game between a fledging teachers' college team and a troop of Boy Scouts to a place near the pinnacle of major college football has been a long and slow one. There have been many bumps in the road and an occasional large obstacle along the way. But with numerous small steps and an occasional giant leap forward, the bumps and obstacles have been overcome. The SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES now stand on the brink of joining that select group of football teams known as the elite of major college football.

This is the story of the long road to the top for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. In the coming months you will come to know the teams, coaches and players that laid the foundation and built the history and traditions that form what we so fondly cherish -- this thing called SOUTHERN MISS FOOTBALL. You will learn about the triumphs and major accomplishments -- the two national championships at the "small college" level, the undefeated teams, and the numerous victories over some of the elite teams of major college football. You will learn, also, about the setbacks and shortcomings -- the effects of two World Wars, the rumors about the use of ineligible players casting a dark cloud over the football program in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and the scandal of major recruiting and other violations leading to NCAA probation in the 1980s.

Throughout the long journey you will see a number of recurring themes and perceptions -- financial shortcomings, scheduling problems, perceived lack of support from the local community, and indications of student apathy. And through it all, you will recognize the three major forces overcoming the concerns and problems -- the unwavering support of the presidents of the institution; the tenacious, inspired leadership within the Athletic Department; and the dedicated efforts of the players and coaches.

Southern To The Top - Fight Song
- by Robert D. Hays

Southern Mississippi to the top! To the top,
So lift your voices high, Show them the reason why,
That Southern spirit will never stop.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Southern Mississippi all the way, banners high
And we will Fight! Fight! Fight! to victory,
Hear our battle cry!

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