LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss football players were on the Coast Friday evening promoting their upcoming football season. Dozens of Golden Eagle fans came out for the 16th annual Beach Bash event on the Gulf Park campus of USM.
The Beach Bash is an annual alumni scholarship rally that brings hundreds of Golden Eagle fans and students together for one night.
With the 2014 football season right around the corner, football talk was heavy among the dozens of Golden Eagles and Golden Eagle fans. Jeremy Hedman is currently a graduate student at the Gulf Park campus and says it's university events like this that he'll never stop supporting.
"I think it's important to stay engaged as an alumni and come to these sort of events to support the school, the football program and athletics in general and just stay involved," Hedman said.
Hedman was able to witness some of the destruction the Gulf Park campus suffered after major hurricanes, and it excites him to see the campus' improvements years later.
"I did see the devastation that took place, and being a Coast resident, I know a lot of hard work and effort has been put in, and it's great to see it all come back together," Hedman said.
Christy Barbee serves as the Vice President of the Gulf Coast Metro Alumni Chapter, which hosts this event each year. Their main objective is to raise money for scholarships for local students and alumni. They count on this annual fundraiser to bring in most of the money.
"Everybody loves football. We're trying to get ready for the new year, the new season, new team and just get pumped up for a great year," Barbee said.
"We've been fortunate for a long period of time to have a very successful program at Southern Miss. While we have had a couple hiccups the last couple of years, we believe we have an outstanding football coach in Todd Monken. He's recruited a great team of players who will come and really make us proud as alumni on the field this fall," said USM Alumni Executive Director Jerry DeFatta. "We feel like great days are ahead for Southern Miss and Southern Miss football in general."
The 2014 football season kicks off on August 30, at Mississippi State.