The University of Southern Mississippi athletics department is expecting a number of changes in the near future. At the university's "Eagle Nation Rally" in Laurel on Tuesday night, Athletics Director Jeff Hammond announced changes pertaining to three specific areas:
The Golden Eagles' uniforms are currently provided by Nike. Once that contract expires, the university will sign with Russell Athletics. Hammond explained the deal's expected worth is $2.6 million over the next five years.
Under the new contract, Southern Miss coaches should be allowed to choose the design of their uniforms, while the athletes will still be provided footwear by Nike. And for its Military Appreciation home game, the football team will be provided with black and gold camouflage uniforms at no charge.
The field at M.M. Roberts Stadium will undergo changes very soon. Hammond announced the school will begin instillation of a new astro-turf field beginning April 15, with an expected completion date by July 15. In the meantime, USM's annual Black-Gold spring football game will be held at Petal High School on Saturday, April 20.
Golden Eagle Logo
In 2004, the University of Iowa noticed USM's Golden Eagle logo held a striking resemblance to its own "Tiger Hawk" logo. Southern Miss subsequently, and unsuccessfully tried to have the Eagle trademarked some years later. While Hammond didn't specify whether or not the legal battles with Iowa were over, he shared that the new Golden Eagle at mid-field will be required to have the words "Southern Miss" right below it.
Hammond topped everything off telling the Jones and Wayne County crowd, "Starting the next three years ahead, I can promise you that (Southern Miss) will not lose a penny. We will make money in athletics...You got my word on that."