OXFORD, Miss. – Success was found throughout the 2017-18 Ole Miss Athletics season, and the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation added to another strong year for the Rebels by announcing $33 million in cash donations for the fiscal year. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the foundation exceeded $30 million in cash donations.
“Once again, the strength of Rebel Nation shows in the Ole Miss Athletic Foundation’s annual report,” said Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork. “For our friends, donors and alumni to give close to $200 million over the last six years is nothing short of remarkable. The combination of our great fan base along with the hard work by Keith Carter and his staff has allowed us to build some of the best facilities in the country for our student-athletes. From capturing national championships to SEC Championships, it’s been another great year to be a Rebel. We will continue to take the positive momentum into the 2018-19 year. Hotty Toddy and Go Rebels!”
In competition, the Rebels competed against the best, and a couple ended up being the nation’s best. Arianne Hartono (women’s tennis) and Janeah Stewart (women’s track and field) captured the national championship in their respective sports.
On the team side, Ole Miss Baseball made a memorable run to win the SEC Tournament Championship. Ole Miss Volleyball, playing its first season in the newly-renovated Gillom Center, protected its home court to win the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. The men’s and women’s tennis teams advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, while playing some of their matches in the new indoor tennis center. The Rebel softball and soccer teams made the NCAA Tournament once again, while the women’s golf team advanced to the NCAA National Championships for the first time in program history.
Along with the Gillom Center renovation and debut of the indoor tennis center, the Lloyd Bell Tower was another completed project. Serving as the front door to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, the bell tower will introduce new tradition to Ole Miss Football gamedays. For the baseball team, Oxford-University Stadium and Swayze Field have undergone a $20 million renovation that will be finished by the 2019 season. The new Dugout Club opened for fans during the 2018 campaign, while the team’s new performance center is near completion. These facilities are funded by the Forward Together campaign. Out at the Ole Miss Golf Course, a project including a new driving range, a short-game practice area and a short course that features several holes is being crafted to give the men’s and women’s golf teams one of the best practice facilities in the country.
These projects and others would not be possible without the support of Ole Miss Athletics Foundation members, including Diane and J.L. Holloway who made a $1 million commitment. Another important fund that began this past year was in honor of the late Eddie Crawford. As a Rebel student-athlete, coach and senior staff member for decades, Crawford left his mark on Ole Miss. His impact led to the development of the Eddie Crawford Scholarship Endowment Fund. With pledges near $125,000, the fund will provide financial assistance to help student-athletes achieve success on the fields and courts of play as well as in the classroom.
Ole Miss Athletics continued its recent string of academic successes by yet again recording the highest Graduation Success Rate in school history for the fourth straight season. Ole Miss improved three percentage points to 84 percent in this most recent report. Four sports earned a perfect 100 percent GSR in the latest report: rifle, women’s golf, softball and volleyball. More than 50 percent of Ole Miss student-athletes have earned a 3.0 GPA or better each term during the past four years, and, most recently, 194 student-athletes were named to the SEC Honor Roll in 2017-18.
“On behalf of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, I would like to thank those who have contributed financially throughout the past year,” said Keith Carter, Deputy Athletics Director for Development and Resource Acquisition. “The support shown year in and year out allows us to enhance our facilities to help our student-athletes compete at the highest level, while also providing a high-quality gameday experience for our fans. We look forward to the upcoming year as we look to close out the Forward Together campaign and begin new endeavors.”
The upcoming year will be an exciting one for Ole Miss Athletics. A new era of Ole Miss Basketball begins with the hiring of Kermit Davis (men’s basketball) and Yolett McPhee-McCuin (women’s basketball). The men’s team will travel to Canada for a foreign tour in August, and later host Iowa State (SEC/Big 12 Challenge), Kentucky and other NCAA Tournament teams at The Pavilion, while the women’s schedule features a trip to the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ole Miss Football will kick off the 2018 campaign against Texas Tech in Houston on September 1. After the Rebels face the Red Raiders, they return to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the home opener on September 8. Tickets are still available.
The Ole Miss Athletics Foundation is looking forward to continuing momentum into this upcoming year, closing in on the $200 million Forward Together campaign goal. The campaign currently sits at $175.6 million, and the foundation is working to reach the goal this year.
For more information on the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, please visit www.givetoathletics.com or call the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at 662-915-7159.