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Football Prospects Bright as Key Players Return

Samford’s offense began hitting on all cylinders halfway through last season, and the second half of 2001 was a lot of fun. The Bulldogs averaged 35 points and 419 yards a game to win four of their last five. That enabled them to finish 5-5.

Most of that team return for 2002, including such key performers as quarterback Ramon Nelson, receiver Aryvia Holmes, running back Jason Ogletree, linebacker Derrick Wheeler and defensive back Robert Evans.

Receiver Aryvia Holmes (7) returns after catching a season-record 74 passes last year.

Head Coach Bill Gray has 53 lettermen back in all, including 10 who have started on offense and 11 on defense. So the outlook is bright.

“We have a very talented group of athletes in our skilled positions, especially in the receiving corps,” said Gray. “And we have athletes on defense who can get to the ball and make plays.”

Samford’s success, says Gray, will depend on the experienced players playing to their capabilities and younger players making contributions.

Nelson was thrust into the starting quarterback position when regular Josh Kellett broke his arm in the third play of last year’s fifth game. Nelson responded by passing for 1,466 yards and 13 touchdowns, most of it in the last five games. He set a Samford record by completing 32 passes in the season finale against Virginia Military Institute, leading a 46-32 win.

Kellett, who ranks seventh in Samford career total offense with 3,220 yards, is also back for his senior year.

Holmes enjoyed a record-setting junior season, catching 74 passes for 1,042 yards. Ogletree led the runners with 667 yards in 113 carries.

Replacing some key performers up front is a high priority. Plenty of lettermen are on hand, but not many with extensive experience. On offense, tackle Andrew Gunn and guard Mitch Welborn are proven veterans. On defense, ends Blake Hall and Darold Williams, a converted linebacker, will lead, along with tackle Ross Newton.

This is Samford’s last season as an independent, but the schedule is tough. The Bulldogs play five home games and six away, including I-A foe Baylor and perennial I-AA power Youngstown State on the road.

Gray is glad that the Bulldogs open with three of their first four games at home. He thinks that could help them start clicking on all cylinders much earlier than last year.

Samford 2002 Football Schedule

Men’s Assistant Mike Morris Named Women’s Basketball Coach

Mike Morris, who helped turn Samford men’s basketball into a winner as an assistant coach, has been named head women’s basketball coach at Samford.

Morris was named to the new position when former women’s coach Janet Cone resigned to become assistant athletics director at Samford.

Mike Morris

At Samford for the past eight years, Morris was an integral part of the Bulldog men’s team success. He was chief recruiter and an on-court assistant for Head Coach Jimmy Tillette and his predecessor, John Brady.

Samford men’s teams have won 140 games over the past eight years. Tillette’s 1999 and 2000 teams won the Trans America Athletic Conference Tournament and went to the NCAA Tournament.

Morris, 33, was an assistant three years at Belhaven College and one at Berry College before coming to Samford in 1994. He played collegiate basketball at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he was team captain and Most Valuable Player as a senior. He earned his B.A. degree from UAH in 1991.


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Maintained by University Relations. Last updated: December 11, 2002

Summer 2002
Vol. 19, No. 2

Seasons Staff

William Nunnelley
Mary Wimberley
Associate Editor
Sean Flynt
Contributing Writer
Janica York
Publications Manager
Scott Camp
Graphic Designer
Donna Fitch
Web Designer & Editor
Caroline Baird Summers

Samford University Alumni Association Officers 2002-03

Bennie Bumpers '63
Sonya Bumpers '63

Tom Armstrong '73
Vice President

Brooke Dill Stewart '95

Seasons is published quarterly by Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, Alabama 35229, and is distributed free to all alumni of the University, as well as to other friends. Samford University is an Equal Opportunity Institution and welcomes applications for employment and educational programs from all individuals regardless of race, color, age, sex, disability or national or ethnic origin.