Alumi create athletics club

With the success of a Joplin Junior College athletic reunion a couple weeks ago, came the kickoff of Missouri Southern’s Athletic Alumni Association, which will be called the Lettermen’s Club.

The Club hopes to reunite athletes with their teams, provide support for Southern’s athletics and bring alumni back to the campus.

“The Joplin Junior College group had a really good time and that’s what we want to do more of in the future,” said Lee Pound, alumni director.

Assistant athletic director Robert Corn, said one of the purposes of the organization is to have a common bind between the Joplin Junior College athletes and Southern athletes. It is open to any athlete having completed all of his or her years of eligibility at either of the two institutions.

“The first group was a tremendous success and I hope it’s a starting point for annual things to continue to grow as well,” Corn said.

Another goal of the club is to bring support to Southern’s athletic teams, said alumni relations coordinator Elisa Bryant, who played on the Lions’ soccer team.

“If we bring alumni back to the athletic department … it brings back support to the University as a whole,” she said.

With athletes coming from all over the United States and even other countries to participate in athletics at Southern, Bryant said the Club hopes to bring them back for homecoming and reunions.

“As you get older and come back to Missouri Southern, it brings back glory days and great memories of sports seasons,” Bryant said.

She said athletes are also the most difficult to keep in contact with.

“One man called me and said it made his life by reuniting him with his team,” she said.

Dues for the Letterman’s Club will be split in half between the Alumni Association and the Athletic Department to be used for scholarships and Homecoming events and necessities for the athletic department as a whole.

As for reunions, Corn said they had a successful 25th-year reunion of the 1978 conference championship basketball team in 2003.

Plans are being made to have a reunion of the 1976 conference championship football team. Also, Rocky Williams is working with Southern to have a baseball reunion this fall.

To involve Southern’s current senior athletes, Corn said hopefully they can inform the seniors about the Lettermen’s Club at the spring awards ceremony.

“One of the things is, if you don’t get involved early, it’s harder and harder to get back,” Corn said.

He hopes the athletes will realize this beforehand and get involved in the association soon after they graduate.

One of the ideas Corn hopes to put in place is an Alumni Bell on the patio by the mansion. On game days, participating athletes would come by and ring the bell to let the campus know they have a game that day.

“Any student could go by and ring the bell and that would be a way of notifying the campus community there is an activity that day and hopefully that will get a lot of people out to support it,” Corn said.

He said once the people come back to campus after being gone for a while, they should be pretty impressed with the changes that have been made.

“I’m a firm believer that if you get them back the first time, you’ll get them back the second time,” he said.

If anyone from the alumni association wants to have a reunion they may contact Pound at 625-9355 or Corn at 625-9330.

For more information on the Alumni Association contact Pound.

For more information on the Lettermen’s Club contact Bryant at 625-3068.