March 17, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss will be honoring the athletic achievements of the past year at the fourth annual Rebels’ Choice Awards on Monday, March 31 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for Performing Arts. The semi-formal event is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT) and will serve as the kickoff for Grove Bowl week, which features the annual Grove Bowl on Saturday (April 5).
The Rebels’ Choice Awards will include 19 awards in which the winners are selected by the Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). This year’s nominees, as well as past winners, can be viewed on the Rebels’ Choice awards website. There are also three additional awards which are determined by fan vote. Fans can help crown the winner of the Play of the Year, Game of the Year and Fan Favorite Rebel. Make sure to cast your vote on our fan voting tab. Voting will conclude March 20th.
"The Rebels' Choice Awards is my favorite Ole Miss athletics’ event of the year because it signifies the best of the best among our student-athletes and coaches,” said Athletic Director Ross Bjork. “Hosting an “Espy” style awards show indicates that we are seeking to be the best in all facets of our athletics program and I would encourage everyone to see our best and brightest on the big stage of the Ford Center. Congratulations to all of the nominees and I wish them the best of luck on winning a Rebels' Choice Award”.
The event, which will be hosted by ESPN’s Clay Matvick, showcases the spirit and success of Ole Miss Athletics and Ole Miss student-athletes through presentations, performances and video productions. The Rebels’ Choice Awards will begin with a red carpet for student-athletes and athletic department staff at 6 p.m. with the awards program to begin at 7 p.m.
"It’s great to see how the show has evolved over the years,” said Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Operations, Dr. Jamil Northcutt. “This event gives us a chance to fellowship, reflect on the year, and celebrate the achievements of our sports programs with each other, student body, alumni, and surrounding community”.
Awards include men’s and women’s sports winners in the following categories: Most Valuable Rebel, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Team of the Year, Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Hotty Toddy Award and Community Outreach Award. New this year, will be the Bennie Abram Award. This award, given in memory of former Ole Miss football walk-on Bennie Abram who passed away, is given to a walk-on student-athlete who exemplifies the spirit of Bennie Abram.
Honors are based on performances from the calendar year. The sports of football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and rifle will be judged on the 2013-14 campaign, while baseball, softball, tennis, golf and track & field looks at 2012-13.
As much as the Ole Miss student-athletes enjoy the annual Rebels’ Choice Awards, Ole Miss coaches also look forward to the fun-filled event.
"Certainly one of the most enjoyable nights of the year is the annual Rebels' Choice Awards,” said Ole Miss head women’s soccer coach Matt Mott. “It's a great evening and atmosphere to recognize the past year in Ole Miss athletics. The production and show is a first class event!”
Head women’s tennis coach Mark Beyers echoes Mott’s sentiments.
The Rebels’ Choice Awards are something that has grown over the past few years into the biggest event for our student athletes,” said Beyers. “It is a fun filled evening where we can look back at the highlights of the past year and recognize those student athletes who have excelled. We are all so busy during the season, but this event gives us all an opportunity to come together and enjoy the show.”
The past 12 months have been exciting for the Ole Miss Athletic Department. The men’s track and field team concluded the year ranked eighth in the national rankings and Sam Kendricks claimed the NCAA pole vault championship. The football team concluded the year with an 8-5 record and capped the season by winning the Music City Bowl with a victory over Georgia Tech. Additionally, the men’s tennis team won the SEC West and the women’s soccer team recorded a school record 16 wins and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Rebels' Choice Awards is built into the celebration of National Student-Athlete Day, which is celebrated every year in April.
Established in 1987, National Student-Athlete Day is America's day to celebrate outstanding student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community. The day was established by the National Consortium for Academics & Sports and Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society and is co-sponsored by the NCAA.
Ben Lapane, track and field student-athlete and president of the Ole Miss Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) find the Rebels’ Choice Awards to be a memory that will last a lifetime.
“The Rebel's Choice Awards brings all of us together to celebrate our achievements from the past year,” said Lapane. “It's one of those experiences I expect to remember for the rest of my life.”
The event is free to the public, but a ticket is required. Tickets are available at the UM Box Office and the Ford Center Box Office. Tickets can also be picked up at the Ford Center Box Office will call beginning one hour before the show.
Rebel Ready is the hub for a wide range of Ole Miss Athletics sponsored programs designed to meet the needs of student-athletes and their families. It is divided into six areas: Student-Athlete Assistance Services, Career Development, Continuing Education, Community Outreach, Financial Education and Career Transition.
Visit Rebel Ready for more information on Ole Miss’ Rebel Ready program.