Posted by Wes Brooks on Jul 09, 2019
President Steven Utroska and presided over today’s meeting. Scott Hummel gave today’s invocation and Katie Anthony led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Mark Killingsworth and Wes Brooks who served as our greeters today.
Steven welcomed our new board members and reminded everyone that we need volunteers for Meals on Wheels, the Pledge of Allegiance, greeters and the invocation.  He is bringing in sign up sheets next week for the committees. 
Steven also announced there will be a board meeting at on July 16th at 11:00, before lunch.  He also reminded us there is no meeting on July 30th, being that is the 5th Tuesday in this month.
Mike McPhail introduced our guests.  Brian Morrison, Haley White and James Coward were all guests of Chris Dunkley.  Keith and Carolyn Horner were visiting Rotarians from the Ellisville branch.
Chris Dunkley then introduced todays guest speaker, Jeremy McClain, the new Athletic Director for Southern Miss.
Some of his responsibilities are:
  • Providing guidance and direction for the school’s sports program
  • Preparing budgets
  • Facility upkeep
  • Coordinating with coaches about scheduling of games and practices
  • Collaborating with conferences and leagues about scheduling issues
  • Working with coaches and perhaps a travel coordinator to plan trips
He works closely with coaches and oversees financial, practical, and legal matters pertaining to the school’s teams. He promotes USM and acts as a liaison between athletic and academic departments.
There are major 4 projects under way right now. 
#1: Resurfacing the Peter Taylor Parkof .  Any synthetic turf will allow baseball programs to start practice earlier in the year and avoid rainouts. This is what is used at Tulane University and some other major universities. This project costs around $1.3 million and is 80% complete.
 #2:  Joseph Greene Hall Renovations.  This should be completed at the end of this summer. This renovation includes improvements in the teaching and research spaces as well as additional space for Student Support and Advisement operations.  This project is estimated at $13 million and should be completed by the end of this summer.
#3: Bower Academic Center. The Academic Center was located on the 2nd floor (under the west-side bleachers) within the football stadium. In 2015 it was decided that it was time to renovate and upgrade.  There were significant infrastructure concerns creating excessive costs. They partnered with the Department of Athletics in developing a home within the Cook Library for the Academic Center.  The new Center will be located just a few hundred yards away from the Athletic Department offices and is now in the heart of campus with increased square footage.  This project is expected to cost about $8.5 million.
#4: Volleyball Complex. The center will serve as the practice/playing home of the Lady Eagles volleyball team, including locker rooms and training and meeting rooms. In partnership with the non-profit Mississippi Community Education Center, the facility also will be used for university-affiliated and community classes, meetings, camps, seminars and other events.  The complex will relieve the scheduling burden at Reed Green Coliseum, which now serves as the home base for volleyball, men's basketball and women's basketball.
This construction will affect about 80 parking spaces at the Payne Center lot. Once completed, about 60 parking spaces will be lost at the lot that also provided public parking for USM basketball and baseball events as well as student parking. This should be completed in the early fall of this year.
Jeremy has several ideas for the football team as well.  He was able to get Florida State and Miami on the roster. USM have 5 home games scheduled this year. He would love to get LSU, Memphis and Ole Miss on the schedule in the future. He wants to focus the program in in a more regional direction.
Steven then adjourned the meeting with our motto, Service Above Self.