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Released August 20, 2003


HATTIESBURG - Those who don the black and gold as members of the Golden Eagles football team's defensive unit know they have a lot to live up to. No tradition runs deeper at Southern Miss than that of aggressive, hard-nosed defensive play, a brand of take-no-prisoners football that has earned the squad a national reputation the current crop of defenders are looking to continue.

When members of the 2003 defensive unit are looking for an example of just what that tradition means, they need look no further than one of their taskmasters, Outside Linebackers Coach and Special Teams Coordinator Lytrel Pollard.

The former Golden Eagles linebacker played on some of Southern Miss' most successful teams. Like Southern Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyron Nix, he is a living, breathing example of the traditions Southern Miss defensive football is most known for.

Pollard remains constantly aware of that, and the traditions he and past teammates helped establish are a big part of what drives him to give his best coaching effort.

"My junior and senior years," Pollard said, "I was part of the first two Conference USA championships. Just to see that, to see us becoming a championship team, that has been a great experience for me.

"Me being a graduate, this being my alma mater…just seeing my university succeed, that's something that drives me to be my best. Not only do I want us to win because that's my job, but I want to see my university do well, and be known as one of the top universities in the nation."

Pollard, now in his fourth year as a full-time assistant coach, has done his part in helping make that happen. He has guided some of the defense's top talents as they've established themselves as impact players. In 2000, one of Pollard's players, Bandit end Terrell Paul, was named to the Conference USA All Freshman Team.

During the 2001 season, another player under Pollard's tutelage, linebacker Roy Magee, was named second-team All Conference USA. Pollard helped coach another linebacker to success in 2002, as Michael Boley was named to the All Conference USA first team.

It's not surprising that Pollard has been part of helping the Eagles bury opposing offenses in recent years, when one considers his professional interests outside of football. When Pollard was in high school, he worked at his uncle Jesse Crosby's funeral home in his hometown of Bay Springs.

"I learned a lot about life," Pollard said of his time working at the Bay Springs Funeral Home. "It built a strength in me spiritually. I just enjoyed it."

Pollard said that if he ever left coaching, he could see himself going back into the funeral home business. For now, he enjoys himself when he isn't coaching by taking part in other athletics-related activities.

"Me being a former athlete, I always love doing something pertaining to sports - going back home, hanging out with some of my old classmates and playing pick-up softball and basketball," Pollard said.

Pollard and his wife, Kristina, have a 6-year-old son, Tylor, who Pollard said is already a fan of Southern Miss football.

The former standout linebacker hopes plenty of others follow Tylor's lead as a new season of Golden Eagles football gets underway.

"There's nothing we would rather see than people in those stands supporting the university," Pollard said. "This is a university to be proud of, and it's going to continue to be great."


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM