USM athletics presents outline for future success

The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Athletics laid out 25 "initiatives" it...
The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Athletics laid out 25 "initiatives" it says the administration will meet by the end of the 2025 calendar year.(University of Southern Mississippi)
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 12:05 PM CDT
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From University of Southern Mississippi Sports Information Department

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A $50 million capital campaign. Upgrade/modernize Reed Green Coliseum. Grow all sport operating budgets to rank in the top half as compared to conference peers.

Those are just three of the 25 objectives the University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Athletics intends to meet by the end of the 2025 calendar year.

Athletic Director Jeremy McClain released a strategic plan Thursday morning that called itself “a bold vision for the future” and “a roadmap forward for the next generation of athletics success for Southern Miss.”

With a nod to its athletics past and acknowledgment of a recent stretch of “volatility” within the program, the strategic plan set down 25 “initiatives” spread over five “commitment” categories:

  • Competitive Excellence
  • Revenue Generation/Sustainable Budget Growth
  • Elite Student-Athlete Experience
  • Strategic Facility Enhancements
  • Maximizing Our Footprint.

Within each of the categories, the plan laid out more specific goals to be reached by the end of the 2025 calendar year.

Competitive Excellence

  • Grow all sport operating budgets to rank in the top half as compared to conference peers
  • Improve program infrastructure and support for Olympic sports
  • Increase full-time support staff consistent with operating a championship program
  • Re-evaluate scheduling across all sports to better position our programs for post season success and deliver match-ups that excite our fan base
  • Comprehensively increase overall attendance, improving game-day environment and fan experience to give our Southern Miss teams a definitive home field advantage.

Revenue Generation/Sustainable Budget Growth

  • Raise $50 million during the Give Wing Capital Campaign
  • Surpass 15,000 season ticket holders (10,000 football, 3,000 baseball, 1,500 men’s basketball, 500 all others)
  • Lock in a long-term media rights agreement to maximize departmental revenue
  • Increase Eagle Club membership by 25 percent
  • Grow Circle of Champion membership by 10 members each year to reach 200
  • Implement a “Priority Point System” to promote growth and reward commitment among our donors/fans
  • Aggressively seek naming right partners for athletic facilities.

Elite Student-Athlete Experience

  • Ensure the department is equipped to provide advanced care for the physical and mental health of our student-athletes
  • Empower student-athletes to take full advantage of their newfound Name-Image-Likeness rights by providing education, infrastructure and support
  • Continue to build a diverse athletics department staff, including graduate assistants, reflective of our student-athletes and community
  • Hire coaches and department leaders who are a great fit and can add to our culture
  • Provide a championship-level student-athlete development program to prepare our students for life after graduation.

Strategic Facility Enhancements

  • Develop a broad facilities master plan, inclusive of our goal to improve the infrastructure for our Olympic sports
  • Upgrade and modernize Reed Green Coliseum
  • Build a new Golf Center, providing a home for our men’s and women’s golf programs
  • Move all facilities, as feasible, onto campus to create a championship environment.

Maximizing Our Footprint

  • Capitalize on Hattiesburg as our region’s Hub City – growth, job creation, community integration
  • Continue to find ways for athletics and campus leadership to have national platforms and service/leadership opportunities
  • Pursue win-win partnerships on campus and in the community to promote growth for all parties
  • Refocus efforts on The Coast and Jackson markets to ensure a strong presence and grow our fan base.

The plan said it recognized it was being ambitious, but asked that USM’s constituents keep score at home and see whether the marks set out were being met.

“The initial request we would have of you is to use this strategic plan to hold us accountable to what we are laying out in this strategic plan,” said the plan. “The completion of 25 strategic initiatives within a prescribed time period is a heck of a rubric to volunteer to be graded on, but you have every right to do that, and we welcome it.”

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