Rock Solid: Southern Miss Football
By John W. Cox
272 pp., 80 b&w and 32 color photographs, appendices, index
Lively history and timeless photographs that cheer on ninety-two years of the Golden Eagles
In a stadium they call "The Rock," Golden Eagle fans have been roaring for a team that achieves new heights with each passing season. Legendary quarterback Brett Favre played here, as did such greats as Reggie Collier and Sammy Winder.
Now in Rock Solid: Southern Miss Football, beloved voice of the Golden Eagles John W. Cox gives fans even more to crow about. A must-have for any Golden Eagles fan, Rock Solid documents the pride and tradition of one of the nation's top college football programs from its founding in 1912 through the Conference USA championship season of 2003.
When the school set out to lay the groundwork for its football program, there were no comparable squads to take on near Hattiesburg. So the Eagles humbled local high schools. After some success in the late 1930s under the direction of coach and eventual athletic director Reed Green, the program began to soar in the post-World War II era, when Green turned the reins of the program over to Thad (Pie) Vann. Vann steered the team into the 1960s and to recognition as one of the top defensive teams in the country. Former Southern Miss standout P. W. Underwood took over the program in 1969 and led the team to one of its biggest victories, a 30-14 win over No. 4 Ole Miss in 1970, a win that ignited the drive to build a new stadium. M. M. Roberts Stadium, "The Rock," opened in 1976.
The late 1970s and the 1980s brought cries of "Eagle Fever" and "We Believe," while quarterback Collier and tailback Winder dazzled the crowd and "The Nasty Bunch" defense made its name. Later in the 1980s, Golden Eagle football also saw the arrival of Favre, who would lift the school to a new level. In the 1990s, Jeff Bower became head coach and the Golden Eagles gained membership to Conference USA. They celebrated by winning four league championships and six postseason bowl games.
Rock Solid: Southern Miss Football takes you back to the greatest moments of University of Southern Mississippi football. The stories of the struggles that fashioned Southern Miss into the successful program it is today, along with profiles of the people that keep a rich and proud tradition strong, make this book an invaluable and entertaining resource for all fans of Golden Eagles football.
John W. Cox is the director of athletic broadcasting and the "voice of the Golden Eagles" at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Photo: Brett Favre-courtesy University of Southern Mississippi272 pp., 80 b&w and 32 color photographs, appendices, index