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Released September 12, 2003

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HATTIESBURG - A prominent regional merchant and supporter of The University of Southern Mississippi just got a new set of wheels.

McRae's new 'Fan Van,' marked with Southern Miss images and logos and game-day caricatures, will be showing up at Golden Eagle football games and other campus events to show the department store's support of the university and entice fans to the university's home football games with free refreshments and promotional items.

"As a company, we're trying to create excitement in cities where we have stores that have universities and colleges, and to help people get involved with the university, we'll have the Fan Van out to help people get involved in the game day atmosphere, and letting the community know we support the university," said Paul Clingan, general manager of McRae's at Turtle Creek Mall.

Clingan said Southern Miss supporters can stop by the van for free hot dogs and other refreshments on game day, as well as pick up McRae's promotional items. In addition, he said plans are also being made for the Van Fan to be at Southern Miss pep rallies at the Friday at the Fountain events, in the Southern Miss homecoming parade as well as at some area high school games and other special events.

"After last year's football season, a group of Southern Miss alumni, students and staff got together to discuss ways to improve our game-day atmosphere and to create more organized activities around home football games," said Lisa Mader, director of marketing and public relations at Southern Miss. "One of the ideas that came from the brainstorming session was to acquire a Southern Miss Fan Van. The van would be used to promote Southern Miss, and to have a fun visual representation traveling around campus on game days and during Southern Miss events.

"McRae's really embraced this idea. We're thrilled with their support of Southern Miss and their willingness to get involved with the students and university activities."

Clingan said Nautica Jeans is also helping with sponsorship of the van, a promotion that begins this fall. The Southern Miss Fan Van will be one of approximately 10 Fan Vans at cities that have universities or colleges where McRae's has stores.

"It's got the (university's) athletic logos and colors and football game scenes all over it," Clingan said. "It's totally dedicated to Southern Miss."



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April 20, 2004 4:48 PM