November 21, 2014  

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Audio Interviews with Icons of Southern Miss Athletics Available from Oral History

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An interview with former Southern Miss and Oakland Raiders punter Ray Guy is just one of many in the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage’s collection with former athletes and coaches that played an important role in the growth of the university’s athletics program.

As The University of Southern Mississippi celebrates a century of intercollegiate athletic competition, its fans can now learn more about the history of its sports program through the voices of those instrumental in its development and success.

The university’s renowned Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage is making available a selection of audio interviews with some the university’s former athletic directors, coaches and student athletes through its Podcast page, which can be found online at http://www.mississippimoments.org/.

These interviews recount the great moments in the university’s sports history as told by those who participated in them, while chronicling the university’s rise to national prominence in college athletics over the last century. During that time, Southern Miss has garnered numerous awards and championships for achievements by student athletes on the field, in the classroom and through community service, earning the university an “admirable powerhouse” rating recently by the Wall Street Journal.

“The history of USM sports is a distinguished and important history,” said Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes, associate professor of history and director of the Center. “We’re pleased to play an important role in preserving that history, and provide these interviews for the listening pleasure of Southern Miss fans.”

Included are interviews with Ray Guy, a punter for the Golden Eagles in the early 1970s who was the first kicker taken in the first round of the National Football League draft; Thad “Pie” Vann, who led the football program from 1949 to 1968 while winning two small college national championships; and Reed Green, who was the university’s first official athletics director and for whom the school’s basketball facility is named.

“This is a wonderful collection that I know our fans will enjoy listening to, and is a great way to learn more about the history of our outstanding achievements in athletics over the last century,” said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Jeff Hammond. “We’re grateful to the Center’s staff for their efforts in making these available, and for all they do to document the history of our state and region.”

Through the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, Southern Miss has been collecting and preserving the stories of Mississippians since 1971. This oral history collection now contains approximately 4,000 interviews, by far the largest in the state and one of the largest in the South. The collection is available to researchers in the Mississippian Room of the McCain Library and Archives and in the Center’s offices on the Hattiesburg campus. The Center also provides access to an increasing number of its oral histories online. 

This collection has a recognized strength in the history of the civil rights movement and veterans' histories, yet the Center has collected broadly on topics encompassing the breadth of the state’s history, including more recently on the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. For more information about the Center, online visit http://www.usm.edu/oral-history.