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Released August 19, 2003

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG - When it comes time for The University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles to hit the field or take to the court, you won't catch Susan King checking the weather forecast before heading out to watch her favorite team in action.

Just ask her friends and family who have joined her at games and have witnessed her donning a poncho and braving torrential rains and mud puddles - or anything else Mother Nature might put in her way on game day.

"I'm no fair weather fan," King proudly proclaims.

King, who has worked as an administrative assistant in the Southern Miss Department of Psychology the last 15 years, doesn't just save up her enthusiasm for Golden Eagles football. Every sport at Southern Miss receives her enthusiastic support.

To prove it, King and others get together during tailgate time prior to at least one home football game each year and treat members of each of the Southern Miss women's sports teams to refreshments and a pregame meal.

King hopes that once the fans see them during tailgating that they'll come to their games and see how hard they work. "And being a woman, I want to see them get the recognition they deserve," she said.

Southern Miss' women's basketball coach, Rick Reeves, says he's been impressed with King's support of women's athletics at Southern Miss.

"I've never known a more dedicated fan of all sports (at a university) at any time in my career as a coach (than King)," Reeves said.

King, a native of Hattiesburg, first became exposed to Southern Miss athletics when her father, Carl Langenbach Jr., helped with parking at sporting events at the university while he was a member of the Hattiesburg Jaycees, an area civic club. After coming to work at Southern Miss and earning her degree, she became an ardent supporter of the university's athletic programs, joining the Eagle Club, buying season tickets for various sports, and wearing the school's colors - black and gold - to work on Fridays before Saturday games.

"I encourage other staff and faculty to wear black and gold," she said.

On game day, King lets the Golden Eagles - and anyone within earshot - know she's behind the team, win or lose.

"I don't just sit down on my hands," she said. "If we just sit and they (team) can't hear us, they don't know if we're there."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM