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Southern Miss Golden Eagles
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles and Lady Eagles represent The University of Southern Mississippi in Division I athletics. The teams compete in Conference USA. The school's earliest nickname was Tigers. Thereafter came such nicknames as Normalites (from Mississippi Normal College, the early name of the university), Yellow Jackets, Confederates, and Southerners. Golden Eagles was selected in a student/alumni vote in the early 1972. Seymour d'Campus is the name of the modern-day mascot eagle. Southern Miss has a long history in the NCAA, and its intercollegiate sports teams operate under the auspices of the university's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors. Bowl games, conference championships, and All-American athletes have all been frequent occurrences at Southern Miss. Among notable alumni is former NFL quarterback Brett Favre and former NFL punter Ray Guy.
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles football team participates as a member of Conference USA and plays its home games in M.M. Roberts Stadium. In 2008, after 17 years at the helm of the USM Football program, Jeff Bower was replaced by Larry Fedora. The football team won two College Division national championships (as Mississippi Southern College, in 1958 and 1962), and won three of the first four Conference USA titles. Through the 2011 season, Southern Miss has posted 16 consecutive winning seasons. The program has had three undefeated seasons overall, including a 9-0 season in 1958. Thirty All-Americans have played for Southern Miss, including 12 first-team selections, and a number of players have moved on to the National Football League, most notably Dawg Pound creator and three time consecutive Pro-bowler Hanford Dixon, NFL Team of the Century punter Ray Guy and three-time NFL MVP Brett Favre. Under first year head coach Larry Fedora, the Golden Eagles posted a 7-6 record after a dismal 2-6 start. The Golden Eagles won five straight games to finish the season, including wins over 2008 C-USA champion East Carolina and a New Orleans Bowl win over Sun Belt Conference champion Troy University.