*** While the year didn't produce many championships, one stands at the top. It hasn't been that often that a national champion is crowned at Ole Miss. This year there was one. And she could be in line for another.
Brittney Reese claimed a national title at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to become the first Ole Miss female to win a national championship as she posted a mark of 22-02.25 in the long jump.
In addition to her first career national title, Reese also finished third in the high jump with a mark of 6-01.25 to be named an All-American in that event.
Reese could add another national title to her growing list of accomplishments as Coach Joe Walker's Rebels and Lady Rebs compete in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships next week.
*** The late November hiring of Houston Nutt and the press conference at the Ford Center. The upcoming Presedential Debate likely won't create any more enthusiasm inside that cavernous hall than did the announcement of the Rebels' new head football coach. Nutt himself seemed surprised at the outpouring of people and passion that day.
He looked up at one point and said, "There are people everywhere," as the building was filled with fans and enthusiasm for the future of Rebel football and its new leader.
*** The 17-14 football loss at Mississippi State as the Golden Egg went back to Starkville for a year. There might possibly have been no Nutt press conference in the Ford Center had this setback not happened. We may never know for sure. But it did, and while the Egg stayed behind for this year, Rebel football moved on as Ed Orgeron was dismissed the next day after three seasons of 3-21 SEC football.
*** Baseball's continued success in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments under Coach Mike Bianco. Equally as memorable is the fact that Ole Miss was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally before losing ground as the season progressed.
The program continues to excel with its sixth straight NCAA appearance, but this season there was no Regional to host at home. The Rebels' resume' wasn't deemed good enough by the selection committee for first time since 2003. A run to Sunday in both Hoover and Miami obviously solidified the 39-win season as another success.
*** A 13-0 start for men's basketball and a national ranking of 15 as the Rebels appeared to be set to roll back into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. But some midseason SEC setbacks didn't allow them to advance to the Big Dance.
*** With those midseason losses, the Rebels found themselves in the NIT for the second straight season. This year they were a second seed as opposed to a third seed as in 2006-07. Coach Andy Kennedy's Rebels won two games at home and then upset Virginia Tech on the road to advance to the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden in NYC for the first time. The team ended the year with 24 wins, second most in UM men's hoops history.
*** Men's tennis once again continued its winning ways as the Rebels claimed second overall in the SEC regular season, a seventh straight SEC West title, the SEC Tournament Championship, hosted another NCAA Regional and finished in the Elite Eight at the NCAA Tournament in Tulsa.
Billy Chadwick's program continues to be the most consistent winner at Ole Miss in this era. Only John Vaught in football with six and Tom Swayze in baseball with four have as many SEC regular season titles as Chadwick does. He also has four.
*** Ole Miss volleyball's second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, as well as head coach Joe Getzin being named SEC Coach of the Year for the second straight year. Ole Miss set a program record for SEC wins with 14 and finished in third place overall in the league.
*** Softball's run to the SEC Tournament. Coach Missy Dickerson's Rebels appeared to be totally out of contention for the eight-team field at 1-17 in league play. But an 8-2 mark over the final 10 conference games allowed the Rebs to earn their third-straight conference tournament berth. Ole Miss' late season run included wins over No. 9 Tennessee and a pair of victories over No. 12 LSU. Sophomore infielder Lauren Grill became the program's first-ever first-team All-American.
*** Baseball's dramatic May moments. Ole Miss was able to make it to and deep into Hoover and Miami for a lot of reasons. Some memorable ones stand out. Tim Ferguson's walkoff to beat Auburn 7-6 on Friday night in Oxford. The Rebels' dramatic 11-inning 7-5 win at Kentucky the last day of the regular season. Michael Guerrero's walkoff to beat Kentucky 8-7 to give the Rebs a day off at the SEC tourney, one of five home runs hit by the junior outfielder at that event. Logan Power's grand slam (actually on June 1) to push Ole Miss past Missouri 9-6 in the NCAA Tournament and lift the Rebs to a Sunday evening showdown with Miami. And Scott Bittle, outstanding in May and throughout the season.
*** In the regular season finale, Ole Miss junior defender Austin Brown scored her first goal of the season as the Soccer Rebels clinched a berth in the SEC Tournament with a dramatic 1-0 victory over Mississippi State in Oxford. With the win, the Rebels advanced to the eight-team SEC Tournament for the 11th consecutive season under head coach Steve Holeman.
*** Your additions to the list. There are certainly more but those were some. Make a list and many of those would be on there, plus some of your own. Except for the NCAA outdoor track meet, 2007-08 is in the books. On to 08-09.
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