2009-10 Ole Miss Athletics Annual Report
DEPARTMENT OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS
Pete Boone, Director
The mission of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is to produce successful student-athletes and competitive athletic teams by recruiting qualified student-athletes, coaches, and staff from diverse backgrounds and by providing equal opportunities regardless of ethnicity or gender. The department prepares student-athletes to be productive members of society by assisting in their development of academic, social, and leadership skills within an environment which fosters integrity and sportsmanship along with emotional, physical, and mental well being.
Operating within the principles of sound fiscal management, the department sponsors athletic teams to promote enthusiasm, financial support, cohesiveness, and loyalty within the University community. Demonstrating leadership in all decisions which impact the University, the Southeastern Conference, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the department conducts itself in an ethical and honest manner.
The Department is under the guidance of Pete Boone, who became Athletics Director on June 1, 2002. It is Boone's second stint as Athletics Director at Ole Miss, having previously served in the position from 1995 to 1998, and currently works with a consolidated budget of more than $50 million.
Over the last 11 years, more than $125 million has been devoted to new and improved facilities, including the FedEx Academic Center, the Indoor Practice Facility, the expanded baseball stadium, the Gillom Sports Center, the remodeled administration building and the men's and women's basketball practice facility. Plans are also well underway for a $3 million renovation of the Palmer/Sallom Tennis Center, site of many men's and women's NCAA Regionals.
Under Boone's watch, the athletics department remains committed to young men and women student-athletes and their parents, promising to provide a positive environment of support to help them achieve their maximum potential in their academic and athletic pursuits. The FedEx Student-Athlete Academic Support Center's front-line technology and classroom environment provide Ole Miss student-athletes one of the best learning environments in the country. Due to the strength of the academic support group, Ole Miss student-athletes have been given every opportunity to maintain academic progress and have graduated at a higher rate than the general student population.
The 2009-10 Ole Miss athletics season enjoyed countless postseason appearances and award-winning performances, making it a remarkable year for the Rebels. A total of 11 Ole Miss squads advanced to postseason play, with eight teams earning NCAA Championship bids. Those were baseball, men's and women's golf, soccer, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's track and field.
Some of the most memorable moments from 2009-10 included Coach Houston Nutt's Rebels defending their Cotton Bowl trophy with a second straight victory in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, this time over Oklahoma State; three Ole Miss teams winning SEC West crowns (Andy Kennedy's men's basketball team, Billy Chadwick's men's tennis team, and Mark Beyers' women's tennis squad); All-American pitcher Drew Pomeranz helping the Diamond Rebels to their eighth straight NCAA Regional bid, and Barnabas Kirui winning the SEC Cross Country Championship, which was hosted by Ole Miss in Oxford.
It was a year that bolstered Ole Miss' All-American tradition, with 15 Rebels selected to All-America squads across all sports. On the gridiron, Dexter McCluster and John Jerry became the 53rd and 54th first-team All-America selections in school history, and Jonathan Randolph became the first men's golfer in 25 years to earn first-team honors. Tennis players Kristi Boxx and Karen Nijssen helped the women advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 in a banner year for that program. In softball, shortstop Lauren Grill became the first two-time All-American in school history.
In Southeastern Conference competition, Ole Miss stood out in the crowd. In men's sports, the Rebels ranked first among SEC Western Division teams and second overall in the annual SEC All-Sports rankings conducted by the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group. Among all sports, the Rebels finished sixth overall in the trophy standings and third among SEC West schools.
Thirty Rebels were named to all-conference squads in 2009-10, among them Danielle Johnson, who became the first soccer player in school history to be named All-SEC in each of her four seasons. In addition, Pomeranz was named SEC Pitcher of the Year, Kirui was named SEC Cross Country Athlete of the Year and SEC Men's Track Runner of the Year, and high jumper Ricky Robertson was the SEC Men's Freshman Field Athlete of the Year. Football player Rodney Scott also received the SEC Sportsmanship Award.
Twelve Rebels were selected in professional drafts in five different sports. Pomeranz became the highest Ole Miss pick ever in the Major League Baseball draft when he went No. 5 overall to the Cleveland Indians, one of five Rebels selected in the MLB draft. Bianca Thomas was a first-round WNBA selection by the Los Angeles Sparks after her stellar college career, and Terrico White became the first Rebel taken in the NBA Draft in six years when he went 36th overall to the Detroit Pistons. Second-round pick Dexter McCluster (Kansas City Chiefs) led the way for four Rebels taken in this year's NFL draft, and Danielle Johnson became the second Rebel ever to go pro in soccer when she was taken by the New Jersey Sky Blue FC in the Women's Professional Soccer draft.
Not only were Ole Miss student-athletes successful on the competition fields, but they also excelled in the classroom in 2009-10. An impressive 148 Ole Miss student-athletes were recognized on SEC Academic Honor Rolls, and several also received national academic honors. Among them was standout track hurdler Lee Ellis Moore, who became a two-time Academic All-American while maintaining a 4.0 GPA in biological science. A total of 56 Ole Miss student-athletes earned their degree during the 2009-10 academic year.
Ole Miss also posted strong scores in the annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) reports. Both the women's golf and volleyball teams had perfect APR scores and were recognized publically as two of the top academic programs in the nation.
In addition, the Ole Miss fanbase provided unprecedented support in 2009-10. A school-record 51,000 football season tickets were sold, and three of the five largest crowds in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium history came during the 2009 campaign.
For the second straight year, Coach Houston Nutt's Ole Miss squad finished among the nation's best, as the 9-4 Rebels earned a No. 20 final national ranking by The Associated Press and Nutt was selected as the 2009 FCA National Coach of the Year. The Rebels were also tabbed 21st in the final USA Today Coaches' poll. It marked the 26th time in Ole Miss' storied football history that the Rebels have appeared in the end-of-the-year rankings in one of the major polls, and for the first time since 1970-71, the team did it in consecutive years, as the 2008 team was voted No. 14 by The Associated Press. Including 2009, the Rebels have placed among the top 20 teams in 23 years and earned a share of national championships in 1959, 1960 and 1962.
Rising as high as No. 4 in the rankings in 2009, the Rebels knocked off No. 8 LSU, Tennessee, and Arkansas en route to a second straight berth in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, in which Ole Miss prevailed over No. 18 Oklahoma State 21-7.
In two years under Nutt's leadership, Ole Miss has posted consecutive nine-win seasons for the first time since 1961-62 and back-to-back January bowl victories for the first time since 1960-61.
A pair of seniors, running back-wide receiver Dexter McCluster and offensive lineman John Jerry, earned first-team All-America honors from the All-American Football Foundation. McCluster, one of the best all-purpose players in Ole Miss history, became the first player in SEC history with 1,000 rushing yards (1,169) and 500 receiving yards (520) in the same season. Jerry blocked for three 1,000-yard rushers during his career.
Quarterback Jevan Snead became just the second Ole Miss signal-caller to reach 2,000 passing yards in consecutive seasons as he completed 191 of 351 passes for 2,632 yards and 20 touchdowns. Wide receiver Shay Hodge became the first 1,000-yard receiver in Ole Miss history as he caught 70 passes for 1,135 yards. On defense, the 2009 Rebels once again led the SEC in tackles for loss, ranked second in quarterback sacks and third in pass efficiency defense.
The 2009-10 season was another banner year for Coach Andy Kennedy and the Rebel hoops team. Ole Miss claimed the SEC West crown by going 24-11 overall and 9-7 in league play. It was the second division title for Ole Miss in Kennedy's four seasons. In postseason play, the Rebels advanced to the NIT Final Four for the second time in three years before losing to eventual champion Dayton in their semifinal matchup at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Ole Miss was nationally ranked for nine straight weeks and dominated its division, sweeping Alabama, Auburn, and LSU in the same season for the first time in school history.
Kennedy's staff is the second in school history to rack up three 20-win seasons and to secure three postseason berths in a four-year span.
All-SEC junior point guard Chris Warren averaged 17.2 points per game and broke his own school record with 111 3-pointers on the season. Warren was also a USBWA All-District pick and a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the nation's top point guard. Sophomore Terrico White had another fine season (15.1 points, 4.6 rebounds per game) and decided to take his game to the professional ranks, as he was selected in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Freshman big man Reginald Buckner set the school record for blocked shots in a season (64) and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team by the league coaches.
The Ole Miss women's basketball team advanced to the postseason for the second consecutive season and third time in the Renee Ladner era, with an appearance in the Women's NIT. With an overall record of 17-15, and a conference mark of 7-9, the Rebels advanced to the second round of the SEC Tournament with a win over Arkansas.
Senior Bianca Thomas led the Rebels in scoring, averaging 20.9 points per game and was named an All-SEC first team selection, making her a two-time selection to the first team by the league's coaches. She is one of 12 players to have garnered All-SEC first team honors in the history of the program. Thomas finished her career sixth all-time at Ole Miss in scoring with 1,511 points, and her 670 points in 2009-10 is tied for fifth on the school's all-time list.
Thomas again made history when she became the program's second first-round draft pick in the WNBA Draft when she was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Ole Miss Baseball team posted a 39-24 record and a 16-14 mark in Southeastern Conference play. With the performance, Coach Mike Bianco's Rebels finished third in the SEC West and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive season, making an appearance in the NCAA Regional at Charlottesville, Va.
Ole Miss continued to bring fans to Oxford, ranking third nationally in average attendance with more than 6,800 fans per game and a total of more than 231,000 coming to O-U Stadium for the 2010 season.
The Rebels had two players selected for All-SEC honors in Drew Pomeranz (1st Team) and Brett Huber (2nd Team and Freshman Team). Pomeranz also garnered First Team All-America and SEC Pitcher of the Year honors, while Huber was named a Freshman All-America selection. Pomeranz was also named as a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award honoring the top collegiate baseball player, and a finalist for national Pitcher of the Year. He was taken fifth overall by the Cleveland Indians in the MLB Draft, making him the highest draft pick in Ole Miss baseball history. Also drafted were pitcher Aaron Barrett, outfielder Tim Ferguson, pitcher David Goforth and pitcher Matt Tracy, while infielder Kevin Mort signed as a free-agent.
Men's tennis experienced another successful campaign in 2010 as head coach Billy Chadwick's young Rebel squad captured its ninth straight SEC West Championship and ended the year ranked No. 19 in the nation.
The Rebels accomplished all this without the services of 2009 SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player Kalle Norberg, who was sidelined with a back injury. In Norberg's absence, junior Tucker Vorster and sophomores Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann stepped up to lead the team to its 17th consecutive NCAA appearance.
Marcel Thiemann became the 25th All-American in program history, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championship and ending the year ranked No. 19. He also teamed with his brother to finish No. 24 in the nation in doubles and post a 10-1 record in the SEC.
Off the court, the Rebels received the Ole Miss Chancellor's Cup for the seventh straight year as the men's team with the highest grade point average. Marcel and Chris made the SEC Academic Honor Roll, while Adrian Forberg Skogeng earned SEC Freshman Academic honors.
The 2010 women's tennis team enjoyed their best season in 11 years, winning their first ever outright SEC West Championship and advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1999.
Head coach Mark Beyers' team ended the year ranked No. 17 in the nation, marking the program's highest season-ending ranking since 2000 when they finished 18th. The Rebels posted a 17-6 overall record and earned their best SEC finish (2nd overall) since 1999.
The Rebels were led by the All-American duo of Kristi Boxx and Karen Nijssen, who ended the year ranked No. 10 nationally in doubles. Boxx, a native of Grenada, Miss., reached the round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championship and earned a final national ranking of No. 30. Boxx and Nijssen were joined on the All-SEC team by Laura van de Stroet and Connor Vogel.
Off the court, the Rebels received the Chancellor's Cup for the second time as the women's team with the highest GPA on campus. Senior Soledad Podlipnik graduated from the University of Mississippi in May of 2010 with a degree in managerial finance. Boxx, Nijssen, van de Stroet, Vogel, and Abby Guthrie joined Podlipnik on the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
The men's golf team earned its fourth straight bid to the NCAA Championships under head coach Ernest Ross, participating in the NCAA Southeast Regional in Alpharetta, Ga. The Rebels posted their best finish at the SEC Championship since 1984, rallying to finish second.
Mississippi native Jonathan Randolph enjoyed one of the finest seasons in men's golf history, earning first team All-America honors by the Golf Coaches Association of America and Golfweek. The All-SEC first-team selection ended the year ranked No. 6 in the Golfweek Rankings. Randolph posted the lowest stroke average in a season by a Rebel with an SEC-leading 70.44.
Off the course, Randolph was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, while newcomers Chad Bounds and Tom Brown made the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.
Under third-year head coach Michele Drinkard, the women's golf team earned their second straight NCAA appearance and sixth overall, earning a bid to the NCAA Central Regional.
Senior Sara Grantham earned All-SEC honors. She led the team with a 75.11 stroke average, two top-five, three top-10 and five top-20 finishes on the year. She tied for fifth at the SEC Championship in her home state of Alabama (NorthRiver Yacht Club - Tuscaloosa).
Off the course, Ashley Lance, Haley Millsap, Jillian Brodd, and Haley Sanders were named to the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) All-American Scholar Team. Brodd, Lance, and Millsap joined Grantham on the SEC Academic Honor Roll, while Sanders made the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.
A stellar 2009 season saw Ole Miss Soccer earn its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and finish third in the overall Southeastern Conference standings. Led by a stingy defense and powerful attack, the Rebels finished 13-5-2 overall and 7-2-2 in league play, including wins over No. 7 Florida, No. 16 Georgia and No. 24 Memphis along the way. Ole Miss was nationally ranked for a school-record six straight weeks, rising as high as 17th, which was also a school record.
Danielle Johnson became one of the most decorated players in program history. The defender/midfielder became the first Rebel to be named All-SEC all four years and was also a four-time all-region selection. Leading scorer Hannah Weatherly (9 goals) was a second-team All-SEC pick, and Arielle Cohen was named a midfielder on the SEC All-Freshman squad. The team was equally as successful in the classroom, where 14 were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and Johnson was tabbed a Scholar All-American by the NSCAA.
After 15 years as the only head coach in program history, Steve Holeman left for another coaching position in April, and Ole Miss hired former Texas and Auburn assistant Matthew Mott to take over the program.
TRACK AND FIELD/CROSS COUNTRY
It was certainly a banner year for the Rebel track program in 2009-10. It started back in the fall when Barnabas Kirui won the SEC Cross Country Championship in Oxford and was named SEC Cross Country Male Athlete of the Year. He went on to finish fourth in the NCAA Championships to earn All-America status. In the indoor season, four Rebels achieved All-America recognition with their finishes at the NCAA Indoor Championships - Ricky Robertson and Brian Knight in the high jump, Mike Granger in the 60 meters, and Sofie Persson in the 800 meters.
But it was the outdoor season when the Rebels really took off. The Ole Miss men, ranked in the top 20 for most of the season, claimed their highest finish at the SEC Championships since 1993 by placing sixth. Barnabas Kirui won the Commissioner's Trophy by earning the most points for his team among all athletes and was named SEC Male Runner of the Year. He finished in the top three of three different distance events, while his brother, Martin Kirui, claimed the 3,000-meter steeplechase title. Robertson won the SEC high jump crown and was tabbed SEC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year. Fifteen Rebels competed in the NCAA Championships, where Robertson (high jump) and Colin Moleton (javelin) were named All-Americans. In the classroom, junior hurdler Lee Ellis Moore was named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American for the second straight year, while 36 were named to the 2009-10 SEC Academic Honor Roll.
The Ole Miss softball team closed the 2010 season with a 29-27 record under fifth-year head coach Missy Dickerson. It was the second winning season in program history. Senior Lauren Grill earned third-team All-America honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association and Louisville Slugger and became the first two-time All-American in school history. Brittany Barnhill and Becky Nye recorded the first two no-hitters in school history when both hurlers tossed complete-game shutouts in a doubleheader against Alcorn State to cap the season.
In the classroom, Kelly Chandler, Corrine Doornberg, Courtnie Ghinaudo, Amanda Hutcheson, Alyssa McGovern, Becky Nye, and Lindsey Perry were all named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, while Brittany Broome and Kelly Nolan were named to the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.
The Ole Miss rifle team won an NCAA Qualifier in 2010 under head coach Valerie Boothe. Sophomore Keely Stankey advanced to her first NCAA Championships and earned a seventh-place finish in the air rifle. Stankey tied teammate Meredith Holman's school record with an air total of 595 at the Championships and her finish was the first top 10 placing for a Rebel since Shannon Wilson's 10th-place finish in 2008. The Rebels once again hosted the Great American Rifle Conference Championships at the Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center, and Stankey turned in a third-place overall finish at the conference meet. In the classroom, Amanda Green, Meredith Holman and Keely Stankey were all named the SEC Academic Honor Roll, while Emma Holman was named to the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.
The Ole Miss Volleyball program, coached by Joe Getzin, finished the 2009 season with an overall record of 10-20 and a 4-16 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Freshman outside hitter Whitney Craven was named to the SEC All-Freshman team, marking the third straight season a Rebel freshman was honored with selection to the team. The Rebels also posted a season-sweep of SEC rival Arkansas for the fourth consecutive year. Off the court, six members of the team were named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, while five others made the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll. Ole Miss Rebels Athletics