This is a news release from Special Olympics Mississippi
The coaches of two of the top college football programs in the nation have joined the chorus of supporters for the Special Olympics Mississippi Unified Egg Bowl.
Nationally ranked No. 1 Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen and athletic director Scott Stricklin, as well as No. 11-ranked Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, issued video challenges to fans, followers, students and alumni of their teams to donate toward Special Olympics programs at their universities. The team that raises the most will have a three-point advantage when the first Unified Egg Bowl kicks off at the MSU intramural fields at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19.
The videos are available for viewing and sharing on Special Olympics Mississippi's YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/SpecialOlympicsMS.
“The goals behind the Unified Egg Bowl are to foster interaction, inclusion and understanding about intellectual disabilities,” said Tony Bahou, President and CEO of Special Olympics Mississippi. “It's a great way for our athletes to have fun while showing the world that even though we like our sports rivalries, Mississippi is unified in support of Special Olympics.”
Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities will play flag football on teams alongside traditional college students from MSU and Ole Miss, while sharing in the fanfare and passionate competition that the schools will display when their Division 1 football teams meet the following week.
The Unified Egg Bowl brings the international Special Olympics Unified Sports movement, which joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team, to Mississippi. The program was inspired by a simple principle: playing together is a quick path to friendship, understanding and inclusion.
Special Olympics Mississippi • 15 Olympic Way • Madison, MS 39110 • www.specialolympicsms.org
“This is truly an historic time for Mississippi, and the world is watching and cheering,” said Bahou. “There's much more at stake than the glory of winning—we are challenging both schools to make history by helping create unified sports programs on their campuses. They can do that by donating, volunteering and pledging not to use the R-word.”
The Special Olympics Unified Egg Bowl will be held on the intramural athletic fields on Stone Boulevard on the campus of Mississippi State University, just down from Davis-Wade Stadium and the home of the top-rated Bulldogs football team. MSU Athletic Director Scott Stricklin will kick off festivities, and Miss MSU Randi-Kathryn Harmon will perform the national anthem. A pep squad of the school's Famous Maroon Band is slated to perform at halftime.
“Our support for the mission of Special Olympics Mississippi runs deep,” said Stricklin. “We are looking forward to seeing our student body and community show their support as we host the first-ever Unified Egg Bowl.”
The online hub of activity for donations, event information and other materials is UnifiedEggBowl.org.
Special Olympics Mississippi became one of the first pilot programs after Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver visited Ellisville State School in Jones County in 1968, and was officially incorporated and recognized by the state in August 1975, making 2015 the organization's 40th anniversary in Mississippi.
Today, Special Olympics Mississippi serves more than 3,000 athletes through a network of 17 multi-county areas and thousands of volunteers. Athletes compete locally at more than 50 events across the state, then statewide at the annual Summer Games and Fall Games. Athletes can then advance to the national and international levels of competition.