(JACKSON, Miss.) – The Jackson City Council recognized the Jackson State University baseball team Tuesday at City Hall for representing the city in a positive manner during the 2014 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships in New Orleans and the NCAA Regional at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.
Jackson State won its second consecutive SWAC Championship on May 18 when the Tigers earned a 9-8 victory over Alabama State. The Tigers did not drop a game during the SWAC tournament. JSU then went on to play in its second straight NCAA Regional, where JSU became the first Historically Black College or University to beat the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. The Tigers knocked off tournament host Louisiana 1-0. Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns had not been shut out all season until they squared off against JSU.
Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman presented the proclamation to JSU Head Baseball Coach Omar Johnson and JSU Director of Athletics Vivian L. Fuller.
“On behalf of the city of Jackson, the great state of Mississippi, the mayor of this capital city and the city council, I humbly and proudly present this resolution to the baseball team of Jackson State University,” Tillman said.
Johnson expressed his appreciation to all the groups that helped the team recover from the May 5 fire that destroyed the team’s bus.
“In the time we needed everything to come back to being normal following the incident with the bus, we had so much support and that allowed us to just continue to focus on baseball and not worry about recovering things,” said Johnson, who lives in Ward 5. “The support that comes from the community means a lot to me and our family. To accomplish the things we have been able to accomplish, it takes a lot of support from a lot of people.”
Fuller expressed her gratitude to the city for recognizing the baseball Tigers and the entire Division of Athletics, as well as for the support of the baseball program throughout the season.
“I want to thank you for this great opportunity,” she said. “It is always a pleasure to receive an award from this great city and from your peers. This team has overcome tremendous hurdles this year. We thank everyone for your prayers and we thank all of the colleges and universities in the state of Mississippi that assisted us during our hardship.”
Fuller also highlighted the baseball program’s off-the-field excellence. The team has an overall 3.0 grade point average and has surpassed the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) benchmark of 930.
“Coach Johnson and Dr. Fuller, I’m so grateful to your commitment to this APR component,” said Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber. “Your commitment is not only to the development of the baseball team but also to developing young men towards academic excellence.”
The Tigers ended the 2014 season with a 32-25 overall record.