Mississippi College | Beacon Magazine

Choctaw Sports Round-Up

Moving from Division III to Division II

It’s Time to be II

Mississippi College athletic teams have applied to make the move to NCAA Division II play and rejoin the Gulf South Conference (GSC). MC is awaiting the NCAA’s response to the proposal, with a decision from the NCAA expected sometime in late summer.

Moving from Division III to Division II would allow MC to grant athletic scholarships to its student athletes, give the university higher visibility both inside and outside Mis- sissippi, and renew rivalries with other Division II schools, including Delta State University. The move would also reduce travel time for MC students who participate in the university’s 15 NCAA sports, and who are often required to travel long distances to play Division III competitors.

MC left Division II in 1996 following 23 seasons as a respected Division II competitor. Following a 2012 visit to the MC campus, Gulf South Conference leaders invited MC to rejoin the GSC if the NCAA approves. The GSC includes pub- lic and private universities. Other teams in the GSC include
West Alabama, North Alabama, Christian Brothers in Mem- phis, Valdosta State, Shorter University in Georgia, West Florida in Pensacola, and Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

Constituent groups at Mississippi College, including stu- dents, faculty, coaches, staff, and alumni have expressed solid support for the move. As alumnus Fred McAfee, a New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame member and former Choctaws football star, noted, switching back to Division II would provide greater media visibility to his alma mater. On cable TV, CSS airs Gulf South Conference football games of the week throughout the South.

Choctaws Kick their Way to the Top 25

An outstanding season for the MC men’s soccer team led to a conference championship and national media attention. For the first time in MC history, the Choctaws captured the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Championship and finished the 2012 season ranked in the NSCAA Division III Top 25. The Choctaws were ranked #22 in the NSCAA poll and finished at 23 in the D3Soccer.com poll. The team closed the season with a 13-5-3 record.

The season highlight came when MC soccer fans rushed onto Longabaugh Field to celebrate with the team moments after the thrilling 5-4 triumph over Texas-Dallas to win the ASC title. Kevin Johns was named ASC Coach of the Year and seven Choctaws were selected to the all-conference team, with Julio Cesar Espinal, Robert Jackson, Daniel Lang, and Brian Vasquez earning first-team honors.

Riding High with Tina Davey

Tina Davey relocated from California to become Mississippi College’s new equestrian coach in 2012, and the move has paid off both for Davey and for MC. Under Davey’s leader- ship, the Lady Choctaws were ranked third in the region entering spring competition in 2013. The former captain of the University of California at Santa Cruz equestrian team, Davey also served as the founder and coach of the Univer- sity of California-Irvine equestrian squad.

Davey’s MC equestrian team includes 24 skilled riders. Those riders and a stable of donated horses, have taken the
program to a new level in its sixth season.