Rams Roundup : Success Breeds Success

From all over the world, well over 300 student-athletes each year choose to attend the University of Mobile to not only receive an education, but to carry on promising athletic careers that began at young ages. In the UM Athletic Department, which currently houses 21 competitive sports, student-athlete and team success is strived for, both athletically and academically. That successful nature is attracting attention, as success breeds success.

The Men’s Soccer program, led by 10th-year head coach Daniel Whelan, has put together a remarkable 68-17-7 record over the last five seasons, qualifying for the national championship tournament in the NAIA Division during each year. Whelan is a four-time Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year, including the most recent 2023 campaign which saw the team earn the SSAC Men’s Soccer Championship trophy.

The Competitive Cheer program has also been a force over the last five years, earning national qualifying bids during each year and claiming the most recent SSAC Competitive Cheer Championship in 2023.

For the Softball program, seventh-year head coach Alison Sellers-Cook has led her team to a 92-19 record over the last two seasons and is expected to be a top team once again in the NAIA at the start of the 2024 season.

The success year in and year out from just these three of the 21 athletic programs at UM has begun to multiply, with other teams joining in on the fun.

The Indoor Volleyball program, led by Jon Campbell who started the team in 2005 and will begin his 20th season in August of 2024, has qualified for the NAIA National Championship Tournament in three of the last four seasons, finishing as the runner-up in the SSAC Championship Tournament in back-to-back seasons across 2022 and 2023.

Baseball won the program’s first-ever SSAC Championship in May of 2023, qualifying for the NAIA National Tournament for the first time since 2019.

Both Men’s and Women’s Basketball began the most recent 2023-24 season as two of the top teams in the SSAC Conference, with the women’s basketball program putting together the best start through 18 games in program history under first-year head coach Sydney Westry. For men’s basketball, the team was ranked inside the NAIA Top 25 to open the year, the first national ranking in over a decade.

The team success continues to grow throughout the UM Athletic Department, and where there is team success, individual success comes, too. Multiple student-athletes from across all programs have earned NAIA All-America status athletically and academically in recent years, while adding SSAC All-Conference and All-Academic honors.

Track and Field and Cross Country programs see several NAIA National Championship qualifiers each season across different events, while the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams see standouts compete at the national tennis tournament each season.

Success at the University of Mobile is defined not only athletically, but academically as well. The University of Mobile continues to lead the SSAC Conference in Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athletes, with the Beach Volleyball team leading the entire NAIA Division in scholar-athletes in 2023.

As success on a team level and individual level continues to grow throughout the University of Mobile Athletic Department, the ultimate goal goes beyond trophies or banners. The biggest wins of all come when coaches, faculty and staff at the University of Mobile can build strong, lasting relationships with student-athletes who came to play a sport and earn a degree. The goal is to make a difference in a student-athlete’s life, setting that student up for success in life itself.

About the Author

David Haney

David Haney is director of sports information at the University of Mobile and has been with the UM Athletic Department since 2019. He is a 2016 graduate of UM. Prior to his position at UM, David spent three seasons working in professional baseball with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels AA affiliate. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family, enjoys the outdoors and watching baseball and football. He also owns a family-run business called H.I.S.S. (Haney's Independent Snake Studies), a no-kill snake relocation and rehabilitation service for wild venomous and non-venomous snakes. He and his wife, UM alumna Haley Ikner Haney, live in Semmes, Alabama, with their three cats: Moe, Mae and Missy.

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