Oct. 9, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. -Ole Miss student-athletes were inspired by former Fresno State basketball player, Chris Herren, who spoke to all Rebel student athletes about his struggle with addiction as well as his recovery, at the Gillom Center on Monday (Oct. 7).
"I am very happy that Chris was able to share with all of our student-athletes," said Ole Miss Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Operations Dr. Jamil Northcutt. "All of us were impacted in some way by his testimony of recovery and his message of being a pro at being you. Many student-athletes struggle with alcohol and drug abuse as well as athletic identity. I know without a doubt, after hearing Chris, our student-athletes will make better choices and decisions that will lead to better consequences."
Herren shared his story of substance abuse throughout his basketball career. The Massachusetts native starred at Boston College and Fresno State, earning back-to-back All-WAC first-team honors in 1996 and 1997. Herren also went on to play in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets and the Boston Celtics.
Drug-free and alcohol-free since August 1, 2008, Herren has refocused his life to put his sobriety and family above all else. He shares his harrowing story of abuse and recovery in his memoir, Basketball Junkie, as well as in numerous interviews throughout the Emmy Award nominated ESPN documentary Unguarded, of which he is the subject.
Herren draws on his own history to convince audiences that it is never too late to follow your dreams and urges audience members to overcome their setbacks and start making the right choices. To support this vision, he founded The Herren Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing assistance to families affected by addiction. In 2012 The Herren Project launched a national anti-substance abuse campaign, Project Purple, to encourage people of all ages to stand up to substance abuse.
Herren was brought to Ole Miss as a part of the Rebel Ready Speaker Series Program, spearheaded by Northcutt. The program is designed to educate, develop, motivate, and inspire student-athletes to be people of character and leadership. These types of programming will help student-athletes develop communication, planning and priority setting, decision making, critical thinking, collaborative, and political skills (e.g., how to make a difference). The Speaker Series program helps our student-athletes achieve success on and off the fields and courts of competition. This fall's programming focused on drug abuse and decision-making.
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.