Southeastern Conference Celebrates 75 Years

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Diamond Anniversary Celebration Unveiled at 2007 SEC Football Media Days

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- In February 1933, the presidents of the 13 Southern Conference schools west and south of the Appalachian Mountains met on two occasions to discuss the now-historic decision to reorganize as the Southeastern Conference. 

Seventy-five years after its inaugural season in 1933, the SEC is one of the nation’s top intercollegiate conferences and its student-athletes continue to make an impact around the world.

To commemorate its 75th Anniversary, the SEC will launch a year-long observance at the start of the 2007-2008 academic year that celebrates the thousands of student-athletes who have represented the conference for eight decades.
 
“Throughout our storied history of athletic and academic achievements, the SEC has had numerous occasions to celebrate,” Commissioner Mike Slive said. “The SEC student-athlete experience has been our greatest legacy and is the focus of our 75th Anniversary celebration.  We are proud to share these remarkable stories of service, commitment, dedication, and distinction.”

The celebration entitled, “Stories of Character,” will highlight 75 former student-athletes and the contributions they have made to society since the completion of their collegiate careers, applying what they learned in the classroom and in athletic competition to make an impact in their communities and beyond.

Nominated by their respective SEC institutions and selected by a conference panel, these former student-athletes represent the diversity of the league, its women’s and men’s sports programs, and a span of generations. The list of 75 includes six individuals from each of the conference’s 12 member institutions and one each from Georgia Tech, Sewanee and Tulane, three of the original members of the conference.

Throughout the 2007-2008 academic year, the “Stories of Character” will be communicated through a multimedia initiative that includes television, radio, internet and print. Atlanta-based Creative Presence Partners (CPP) served as the SEC's Agency of Record on the project.

The stories of 12 former student-athletes (one from each of the modern-day SEC schools) will air on national and regional broadcasts by SEC television partners CBS, ESPN, Lincoln Financial Sports and FSN South, and will be told by noted “storytellers,” all of whom have an association with the school or state. Among those are former President Bill Clinton (Arkansas), actress Ashley Judd (Kentucky), bestselling authors John Grisham (Mississippi State) and Winston Groom (Alabama), Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning (Tennessee), television personalities Robin Roberts (Ole Miss) Deborah Norville (Georgia), musician Darius Rucker (South Carolina), Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines (Auburn), television commentator Steve Melnyk (Florida) and political strategist James Carville (LSU).

All 75 “Stories of Character” will be communicated through the other mediums, including a custom- designed interactive section of the SEC’s website: SECsports.com and in print publications. Veteran CBS Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist lends his voice as narrator for the radio spots that will air on the 12 institutional networks, as well as the SEC Radio Network.

During the 2007-2008 academic year, a 75th Anniversary logo will appear on the uniforms of all SEC student-athletes. The specially designed blue-and-gold emblem was created to commemorate this important milestone in the history of intercollegiate athletics.

The complete list of 75 includes:

ALABAMA
Roberta Allison (Tennis) – Invited to join Alabama men’s tennis team and became the first female to  participate in SEC men’s sports.
Bill Battle (Football) – Collegiate Licensing Corporation founder.
Barbara Mack Harding (Gymnastics) – Federal prosecutor who implemented security changes to  protect the White House.
Ozzie Newsome (Football) – First African-American general manager in the NFL.
Jerry Pate (Golf) – Professional golfer and namesake for one of the nation’s premier collegiate events.
*Bart Starr (Football) – NFL Hall of Famer and founder of the Rawhide Boys’ Ranch.
  
ARKANSAS
Gary Adams (Football) – Secret Service agent in Little Rock, Ark.
*Brandon Burlsworth (Football) – Family established a foundation in his honor that provides eye care,  scholarships and athletic camps for low-income youth.
Tom Pagnozzi (Baseball) – Pagnozzi Charities provides athletic opportunities to children in Arkansas.
Pam Pesnell (Soccer) – Missionary who works with children in Honduras.
Kattie Shepherd Allen (Swimming) - a Magna Cum Laude graduate who currently is enrolled in medical  school.
Delmonica DeHorney Hawkins (Basketball) – Juvenile probation officer in Baltimore.

AUBURN
Ruthie Bolton (Basketball) – Two-time Olympic gold medalist and a First Lieutenant in the Army  Reserves.
Kirsty Coventry (Swimming) – Her Olympic triumph helped unite her homeland of Zimbabwe.
Dave Denniston (Swimming) – Motivational speaker who inspires others to overcome obstacles.
Ed Dyas (Football) – Renowned orthopedic surgeon.
Fob James (Football) – Former Governor of Alabama who works to fight illiteracy.
*Jim Voss (Wrestling) – One of NASA’s most experienced astronauts.
  
FLORIDA
Lynn McDonnell Keefe (Gymnastics) – Community-minded pediatrician in Northwest Florida.
Megan Neyer (Diving) – Olympian who is now president and founder of a company that specializes in  optimizing performance.
Andy Owens (Basketball) – 12th Circuit Court Judge
*Deb Richard Golf – Established the Deb Richard Foundation that provides scholarships to disabled  college freshmen at University of Florida.
Ann Woods Smith (Gymnastics) - Earned numerous communication awards for national publicity  campaigns.
Danny Wuerffel (Football) – Heisman Trophy winner and Executive Director of Desire Street Ministries,  a non-profit, faith-based organization in New Orleans.

GEORGIA
Tom G. Cousins (Swimming) – Real estate developer who has donated to charities through the Cousins  Foundation.
Teresa Edwards (Basketball) – Olympian who helped popularize women’s basketball in the U.S.
Tommy Lyons (Football/Wrestling) – Renowned endoscopic gynecological surgeon.
*Kathy McMinn (Gymnastics) – Critical care and pulmonary specialist.
Billy Payne (Football) – Organizer of the 1996 Olympic Games and current Augusta National Chairman.
Sheila Taormina (Swimming) –Two-sport Olympian who founded of Friends for Athletes, which helps  Olympic athletes’ families attend the Games.

KENTUCKY
Shawnte Hall Kraft (Gymnastics) – Family medicine doctor who mentors students at a magnet school.
Jim McDonald (Basketball) – The CEO of three tech companies who is recognized by the Juvenile  Diabetes Foundation.
Jim Kovach (Football) – Played in NFL while earning his medical degree. Also obtained a law degree.
Jill Krukoski Gregory (Rifle) – Works for Exxon-Mobil finding new energy sources and endowed the  Boone Graduate Fellowship at Kentucky.
*Derrick Ramsey (Football) – Currently Kentucky’s Deputy Secretary of Commerce.
Paul Varga (Tennis) – Rose from intern at Brown-Forman to become the company’s CEO.

LSU
James Andrews (Track) – Renowned orthopedic surgeon.
Madeline Doucet West (Basketball) – New Orleans lawyer and executive member of Women of the  Storm.
Cecilia Montani Cuntz (Gymnastics) – Surgeon specializing in breast cancer treatment.
Frank Polozola (Baseball) – U.S. District judge.
*Collis Temple, Jr. (Basketball) – Helped integrate LSU’s athletic program and later founded the  Harmony Center.
David Toms (Golf) – PGA Tour golfer and founder of the David Toms Foundation assisting at-risk  youth.

MISSISSIPPI STATE
Bailey Howell (Basketball) – Basketball Hall of Fame inductee who continues to fundraise for  Mississippi State.
Rosa Mariella Jiminez Mahan (Tennis) – Executive in company working to provide energy resources to  emerging Latin and South American countries.
Tyrone Keys (Football) – Founder of the All-Sports Community Service program, helping youth secure  college scholarships.
*Burke Masters (Baseball) - Roman Catholic priest in Chicago.
Liesel Miller Richie (Track) – Researcher who specializes in disaster management.
Leo W. Seal, Jr. (Football) – Banker who has helped many through his philanthropic endeavors.

OLE MISS
*Jennifer Gillom (Basketball) – Olympian and WNBA All-Star. 
*Peggie Gillom-Granderson (Basketball) – Rebel associate head coach and member of the Mississippi  Sports Hall of Fame. 
The Gillom Sports Center on the Ole Miss campus now stands as a tribute to the sisters’  achievements.
Larry Martindale (Basketball) – Partner in hospitality management firm who endowed a scholarship at  Ole Miss and provided leadership and support in the renovation of the Martindale Student Center. 
Cary Middlecoff (Golf) – Hall of Famer who won more than 40 PGA events, including two U.S. Opens  and the Masters.
Tessie Palczynski (Volleyball) – Special education teacher in Utah.
Curtis Weathers (Football) – Director of a Memphis charter school.
Catherine Yelverton (Tennis) – Managing Director for an international bank specializing in high-yield  loans.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Bobby Dobson (Tennis) – Founder of Dobson Ministries.
Samuel R. Foster II (Track) – Real estate developer and first African-American selected to the  University of South Carolina Board of Trustees.
Stan Juk (Football) – Cardiologist in Columbia, S.C.
Martha Parker Hester (Basketball) – Family practice physician in Columbia, S.C.
Jim Schaper (Track) – CEO of one of the world’s largest business software providers.
*Tonique Williams-Darling (Track) – Olympic gold medalist who established a foundation to help  youth in her native Bahamas.

TENNESSEE
Catherine Byrne Maloney (Swimming) – Administrator for one of the nation’s top hospitals.
Charles Davis (Football) – College football commentator who works with at-risk youth at the Edgewood  Children’s Ranch.
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley (Track) – First African-American woman to win Olympic 100-meters and   President/CEO of the Women in Cable Telecommunications.
Jenny McGrath Weaver (Swimming) – Surgeon and assistant clinical professor of surgery at The  University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Heath Shuler (Football) – U. S. Congressman representing North Carolina’s 11th District.
*Tim Townes (Football) – World renowned medical researcher and Chairman and Professor of  Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at UAB.

VANDERBILT
*Lamar Alexander (Track) - Only Tennessean popularly elected both Governor and U.S. Senator.
Cathy Bender-Jackson (Basketball) – Involved in the Nashville community through her charitable  works.
Charles Davis (Basketball) – Founder of the Charles Davis Foundation to help the youth of Nashville’s  impoverished areas.
John Hall (Football) – Former head of Ashland Oil who serves as an advocate for education.
Ann Price (Tennis) – Executive Director for the Department of Medical Alumni Affairs at Vanderbilt.
Perry Wallace (Basketball) – First African-American basketball player in the SEC and currently serves  as Professor of Law at American University.

GEORGIA TECH
Clint Castleberry (Football) – Finished third in Heisman Trophy voting as a freshman and as an Army  Air Corps pilot was killed during World War II.

SEWANEE
Clayton Lee Burwell (Tennis) – Rhodes Scholar and noted international tennis player who served as a  Lieutenant Commander in the U. S. Navy, and as a government official / aviation law specialist.

TULANE
Max McGee (Football) – Caught first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history and later founded national  research center for juvenile diabetes.

*Denotes former student-athlete who will be featured in television spot.

About the SEC
The Southeastern Conference consists of 12 member institutions: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The league currently sanctions championship play in nine men's sports and 11 women's sports. During the 2006-07 academic year conference teams captured eight national titles and five national runner-up finishes. The SEC also became the first conference ever to win national championships in football and men’s and women’s basketball in the same school year. Student-athletes around the league continue to excel in the classroom, as well, with over 2,000 earning recognition on the SEC Academic Honor Roll.  Its headquarters has been located in Birmingham, Ala., since 1948. For more on the conference, visit www.secports.com.

About CPP
Creative Presence Partners, Inc. (CPP) is an Atlanta-based integrated marketing firm whose services include strategy, concepting, visual identification and branding, creative, national retail promotions, advertising, sampling, interactive, and large-scale event productions. CPP’s clients include The Coca-Cola Company, TBS-Atlanta, The NCAA, Blender Magazine, The Southeastern Conference, Sports Illustrated and Nissan. CPP has captured national awards such as the Adweek BUZZ Award, AMY Award, the Horizon Award, the EX Award and the Min Award for integrated marketing programs and events.  Find out more about CPP at www.cppatl.com.

 

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