GULFPORT — Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis spoke at an Eagle Club luncheon in Gulfport Wednesday, and he touched on a wide variety of topics.
I'll have a full story on the event in Thursday's paper, but here are some quick hits:
* McGillis said that USM has put in a bid to host this season's Conference USA baseball tournament, and that the odds are high that the school will win the right to host.
That's going to be a close call, McGillis said. I think we're going to get it, but it's voted on by all the athletic directors in the conference.
* McGillis said that he will begin to focus on the future of the school's sports logo in November.
A three-judge panel in the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled in 2011 that USM's eagle head logo is too similar to Iowa's Tigerhawk emblem.
The eagle head logo has been largely fazed out in recent years, only appearing on merchandise while accompanied by Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
McGillis said that he would look at USM's options on the matter, whether it involves designing a new logo or seeing if there is another legal option.
* One of the new athletic director's main goals is moving forward with plans to renovate Reed Green Coliseum, which was built in 1965.
I think it's something we need to get to now in terms of drawings, plans and a funding model, McGillis said. We need to assess all of that beginning this fall.
Due to the fact that there is no other arena available for the men's and women's basketball programs in Hattiesburg, McGillis said that the renovation would likely take two years. The work would have to be done in the offseason in order to make the coliseum available during the season.
* While there was no major football scheduling news to announce, McGillis said that he hopes to bring more prominent programs to Hattiesburg while also setting up a more favorable slate for the team.
McGillis hopes to schedule one FCS-level program every year.