Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rebs #1 In the West

This article was published by UMAA today. It states that a New York Times survey men's sports atop the SEC West in the all-sports category. To be honest I would not have predicted this if I was asked by a stranger who was the overall best men's sports program in the SEC West. At any rate, congrats to the Ole Miss athletic department on this honor, hopefully this will light a fire in UMAA to get the major programs(i.e. football) on a more competitive level.

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss recently concluded a successful and historic 2006-07 season of athletics competition that saw 10 of its teams reach postseason play.

In men’s sports, the Rebels ranked first in the Southeastern Conference Western Division and fourth overall in the annual SEC All-Sports rankings conducted by the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group, which includes 14 papers throughout the Southeast. Points are awarded to schools based on their teams’ regular-season finishes, and each university’s point total is divided by the number of sports it fields.

Among all sports, nine Ole Miss teams participated in their respective NCAA Tournaments with women’s basketball advancing to the Elite Eight, men’s tennis to the Sweet 16 and baseball to a Super Regional. Volleyball earned its first NCAA berth, while men’s golf returned to the Big Dance after a six-year absence.

Five teams appeared in the final top-25 rankings of their sport, including top-10 clubs in men’s tennis (seventh) and women’s basketball (10th). Men’s tennis also joined men’s basketball in earning SEC Western Division titles.

Ole Miss totaled 12 All-Americans, 30 All-SEC selections and five league athletes of the year, including football defense (Patrick Willis), women’s basketball defense (Armintie Price), women’s field (Brittney Reese), male track runner (Barnabas Kirui) and male cross country (Kirui).

The SEC Freshman of the Year wore Red and Blue in baseball (Jordan Henry) and men’s cross country (Kirui), while the Coach of the Year in men’s basketball (Andy Kennedy) and volleyball (Joe Getzin) came from Oxford.

In the classroom, Ole Miss produced 114 Academic All-SEC members and 11 national academic honorees.

Eight Rebels were selected in professional sports’ drafts this year, including the WNBA’s No. 3 overall choice in Price and the NFL’s 11th pick in Willis. That pair concluded their careers as two of the most decorated athletes ever in their sports at Ole Miss.

Price became just the second player in NCAA history to record over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 assists and 400 steals, joining the legendary Cheryl Miller. With Price on the court, the Rebels advanced to four postseason appearances, including three NCAA Tournament bids.

For the second straight year, Willis topped the SEC in tackles and was named first team All-America. The Bruceton, Tenn., native also received the Butkus Award and Lambert Trophy as the nation’s top linebacker.

Kirui claimed the 10th NCAA track title in school history by winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and he became only the fourth runner in conference history to capture SEC titles in all three distance races. The sophomore from Kenya also helped Ole Miss track to its best NCAA Outdoor finish ever, as the men tied for 12th in the nation and the women tied for 27th.

The Rebel volleyball squad equaled a school record with 10 wins in SEC play for the first time since 1979. The team picked up its first ever victory over a ranked opponent with a 3-2 win over No. 11 LSU in the regular-season finale, propelling the unit to its NCAA Tournament debut.

In his first year at the helm, Kennedy coached Ole Miss men’s basketball from a preseason last-place prediction to the top of the SEC West. The Rebels turned in a 20-win season and a postseason bid for the first time since 2002.

Men’s tennis made its 12th top-10 finish in the last 14 years, captured their sixth consecutive SEC West title and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the 12th time in the history of the program.

The Rebel golfers posted their highest finish (fourth) at the SEC Championships since 1988 and qualified for an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2001.

The Ole Miss baseball team notched its third consecutive 40-win season and joined Clemson, Cal State Fullerton and Rice as the only programs in the nation to advance to a Super Regional each of the last three seasons.