An Independent Career Path

 

SamJudahAction

By Jacob Horton

If you’re a follower of Auburn University at Montgomery baseball, you’re probably well aware that the sport plays a huge role in assistant coach Sam Judah’s life. What you may not know is that in addition to coaching with the AUM Warhawks, Judah continues to pursue his dream of playing baseball at the professional level.

 

Judah, a native of Ozark, Alabama, graduated from Carroll High School in 2007. He signed a scholarship out of high school to play baseball at Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City, where he played from 2007-2009. Judah finished his collegiate career at Auburn University at Montgomery in 2011, and he now has served here as a volunteer assistant coach for the past two seasons.

 

Since 2011, Judah has spent his summers playing Independent League Baseball, which is very similar to minor league baseball, except the teams are not associated with a major league franchise.

 

Although teams in the independent league do not belong to a higher-level of authority, Judah will be the first to tell you that it is a professional organization nonetheless, and the competition is still fierce.

 

“Independent League Baseball is professional baseball,” Judah said. “You’re getting paid to play. It’s the guys that for some reason didn’t’ get a chance to play in a minor league organization. It’s for the people that still want to keep playing, or just haven’t gotten that right opportunity yet.”

 

This past season, Judah played for the Normal Cornbelters in Normal, Illinois, where he helped lead the team to a 48-47 record. In 94 games played, Judah batted .307 with 13 home runs and 82 runs batted in. His 82 RBI’s were good enough for 2nd in the entire league and a new single season record for the Cornbelters. Judah is also only 80 RBI’s shy of breaking the all-time record for the Normal Cornbelters.

 

Judah hopes that he can build on that momentum from last season, and finish strong in what he is claiming to be his final season playing Independent League Baseball.

 

“This will be my last year of independent league baseball, unless I get picked up by an affiliated team,” Judah said. “This offseason I’m working on keeping that same aggressive approach at the plate that helped me have so much success last season. I just want to have fun and try to win a championship ring; and if I break a few records along the way, it’ll definitely be something that I’ll hold very close to me.”

 

According to Judah, that dream of playing professional baseball has served as the driving force behind everything he does. It’s what gets him out of bed in the morning and, ultimately, it has gotten him where he is today.

 

“Growing up, I wanted to be a professional baseball player, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted and now I’m there,” Judah said. “That’s what still drives me. I’m still living my childhood dream.”

Photo Courtesy of AUM Athletics website

 

 

Contact the writer: jhorton4@aum.edu

 

 

AUMnibus Release Party

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

By Nikki Headley

AUM students gathered in Goodwyn Hall to celebrate the release of the new issue of the AUMnibus on March 16. Attendants were able to meet the AUMnibus staff members and receive merchandise if they “liked” the Facebook page or took a picture with the new issue. Fun filled the air as students got free drinks and pizza. Curtiss, our great AUM mascot, was there to support the staff. He kept everyone laughing.

The AUMnibus staff would like to thank all of the people who attended the party as well as the ones who gave some spare change in support of the publication.

Without the students, there wouldn’t be a school paper. Get involved with the AUMnibus!

Thank you,

AUMnibus staff

 

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Giagnoni

AUM Celebrates International Women’s Day

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By Latara Holloway

Members of the AUM community celebrated International Women’s Day by attending the “Make It Happen” luncheon and panel discussion held March 9. The panel featured four women from the River Region, each from different careers, to answer questions about their lives and talk about the challenges faced by women today. The speakers included Dr. Jevonnah “Lady J” Ellison, president and founder of Professional Women of Integrity; Marietta Koums, executive director of the Millbrook Chamber of Commerce; Sesi Ogunbym, Montgomery Pediatric Gastroenterologist; and Dr. Elizabeth D. Woodworth, associate professor in the Department of English and Philosophy at AUM.

The event opened with a welcome by host and member of the organizing committee Zaneta Wilson. A dance performance by student Katie Xu followed. Afterwards, Dr. Yolanda Tyre of Student Affairs introduced the panelists and moderated the discussion.

Over 140 students and faculty participated in the event. Questions ranged a multitude of topics, such as how panelists are able to balance having a family and career, overcome doubts and conquer struggles in the work place.

When asked what inspired her to create this event, ISA faculty advisor Sharon Phinney said she was motivated by seeing how the holiday was celebrated in other countries during her ten years abroad. Phinney was approached by Zaneta Wilson to host an International Women’s Day Event in 2013, and the first event was held last year. It featured Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley as the keynote speaker.

“The programming goal for 2015 was twofold,” Phinney said. “The first goal was to create an interactive program that would inspire our students to achieve their goals. The second goal was to carry out an associated service project; thus, we selected donating to the women and children of the River Region through the Montgomery Salvation Army.”

According to Wilson, about ten bags of clothing and personal hygiene items were taken up during donations.

“I feel empowered,” said freshman Sydney Kelsey after the event. “I feel that I have the confidence to be myself, and I don’t have to fit into different categories of what people want me to be. I felt like a lot of people would have benefitted from attending. It would have gained a different perspective and more insight on what being a woman is today.”

The event was sponsored by the International Student Association, Student Government Association and AUM International Student Involvement. Phinney plans on establishing the “Make it Happen” event as part of the annual programming.

Photo Courtesy of Frank C. Williams

Can Atlanta Braves Contend in NL East?

 

braves

By Jacob Horton

With the 2015 MLB season fast approaching, Atlanta Braves fans all over the country are wondering if this new-look ball club can contend for a playoff spot.

 

The 2014 regular season was a complete disappointment for Braves fans, as they saw their playoff hopes slip away in September. During that month, the Braves managed to lose 16 of the 20 games they played.

 

The 2014-2015 offseason was just as lackluster as the finish to the regular season for fans. In an attempt to stockpile young talent for 2017, the year they will open up their new $622 million stadium, the Atlanta Braves shipped off key pieces of the team’s past success. Outfielders Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, along with catcher Evan Gattis and reliever Jordan Walden, were traded away for prospects that can hopefully produce in 2017.

 

It wasn’t a complete fire sale, however, as the Braves were able to pick up a few veterans this offseason that can help mentor their young talent. Players like outfielders Johnny Gomes and Nick Markakis, Catcher AJ Pierzynski, relievers Jim Johnson and Jason Grili, infielder Alberto Callaspo and starting Pitcher Wandy Rodriguez headline Atlanta’s offseason signees. They’ve all had their fair share of success at the Major League level, and they look to lead this 2015 Braves team in the right direction.

 

With all of the offseason acquisitions and departures, is it too far-fetched to think this 2015 Atlanta Braves team can compete for a playoff berth? Notice that I said berth and not National League East pennant, because the NL East is going to be loaded with talent this season.

 

The Washington Nationals, who took home the division title last season, are the favorite to win the division again. They managed to put together a record of 96-66 last year and look to do even more damage this time. The offseason acquisition of Cy Young Award Winner Max Scherzer has solidified their starting rotation as one of the best in the MLB. Add that to virtually the same lineup from last year, and you’ve got a team that is going to be tough to dethrone from atop the NL East.

 

There are other teams as well, such as the New York Mets and Miami Marlins, who could give the Braves fits this season. The Mets have a solid lineup and one of the better pitching rotations in the league, featuring young studs like NL Rookie of the year Jacob DeGrom, Zack Wheeler and one of the best pitchers in baseball in Matt Harvey.

 

The Miami Marlins also made a few big moves this offseason, as they acquired speedster second baseman Dee Gordon, power-hitting first baseman Michael Morse, utility man Martin Prado, future hall-of-fame outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and veteran right handed pitchers Matt Latos and Dan Haren. If the Marlins are still hanging around when ace right handed pitcher José Fernandez returns from Tommy John surgery, look for this team to be a thorn in Atlanta’s side for the remainder of the season.

Photo Courtesy of Atlanta.brave.mlb.com

 

AUM Cheerleaders to Participate in First Exhibition

 

cheer34

By Haley Cotter

Probably the least talked about sports team on campus is the AUM Cheerleading Squad. The squad consists of 11 girls who have a passion for cheering. Coached by Michelle Crompton, their leader is wanting to expand and make the program bigger.

On March 7, the squad members will be heading over to the Cramton Bowl Complex in Montgomery to show a routine they have been preparing. Cheerleading squads from across the Southern States Athletic Conference will come and show their skills on this day. This is formally called the SSAC Cheerleading Exhibition.

This is the first time the AUM Cheerleaders have ever been in this kind of performance. They are looking to expand and become more competitive instead of your typical sideline squad. Beginning next year, the squad will start going to cheer camps and competing. “It will be a new experience for us, and I am confident it will be a positive one,” Crompton said.

The AUM squad will perform a two and a half minute routine, which they also performed at Homecoming on Feb. 28, that will include stunting, tumbling, cheer and dance.

The exhibition will be free for visitors interested and will be held from 12-1 p.m. “Everyone should come out and support the cheerleaders as they are trying something new, and are looking to expand,” Crompton says.

There are no standard requirements for the exhibition, besides the cheerleading by-laws that come along with the SSAC. Beginning next year, the conference is looking to actually making this a real competition.

Photo Courtesy of Michelle Crompton

Perfection no Longer a Long Shot for UK Men’s Hoops

 

 

UKBy Jacob Horton

For the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, a shot at perfection still hangs in the balance as they head down the final stretch of games for the 2014-2015 season. Through 28 games, the Wildcats remain unbeaten on the season. Of those 28 wins, 14 have come against fellow SEC opponents in conference play.

 

For every athlete that’s involved in a team-oriented sport, the perfect season has always been the ultimate goal. No matter what the sport, nothing looks better at the end of a grueling season than an unblemished zero in your loss column.

 

What makes perfect seasons so special is that they are such a rare occurrence. What the Wildcats are trying to accomplish is no small or simple task. Since the beginning of the tournament era in 1938, only seven Division I men’s basketball teams have completed a perfect regular season and NCAA Tournament. The 1976 University of Indiana Hoosiers were the last team to accomplish this feat, while the UCLA Bruins pulled off the perfect season four different times during the John Wooden era. Sports fans usually associate the perfect season with football over basketball, because it happens more often in the sport. In the previous six college football seasons, only six teams went through their entire schedule without losing a game. Three of those six teams (2013 Florida State, 2010 Auburn and 2009 Alabama) finished the season hoisting a national championship trophy. With the new college football playoff now officially in place, expect to see a significant decrease in teams that finish the entire season undefeated.

The undefeated NFL season is even more of a rarity. The Miami Dolphins stand alone in this category, as they finished the 1972 season as Super Bowl VII champions with a record of 17-0. There have been teams that have come close to sharing this accomplishment with Miami, such as the 2007 New England Patriots, whose only loss came to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. There’s just too much talent and parity in the NFL for a team to play an entire season without losing.

 

Their record might read 28-0, but it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the Wildcats on their journey to the tourney. They’ve had several scares along the way; including an 89-86 overtime thriller against Ole Miss, two tough games against Florida and Vanderbilt that weren’t decided until late in the game, and a 71-69 nail-biter against LSU that almost got away from them. You could coin them as a Goliath if you want, but rest assured that there is an army of Davids waiting to get their turn with them.

 

Let’s not take anything away from this Kentucky Wildcat team, though, as they have singlehandedly kept SEC basketball relevant this season (as they do almost every season). They’ve embarrassed top tier teams such as Kansas, North Carolina and UCLA with blowout victories. It is without question that they are the best team in the country, and barring a catastrophic meltdown, they will receive the number one overall seed for the NCAA Tournament in March.

 

Three more games stand between the Kentucky Wildcats’ and a perfect regular season. Those four wins would set the school record for most wins by a men’s basketball team in a single season. Yet, with every win, the pressure becomes greater, and the dream takes one step closer towards reality. John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats could mark themselves down in history forever with only few more victories. All that’s standing in their way is the SEC Conference

Photo Courtesy of ncaa.com

AUM Remembers Hate Crime Victims

Hate
AUM Students remember hate crime victims.

 

By Kimberly McGuinty

“Billy Jack Gaither, Lawrence “Larry” King, Mark Carson, Islan Nettles….”  The AUM Gay Straight Alliance’s Hate Crimes Vigil held on Feb. 4 begins with a solemn reading by Dr. Paul Hard of the names of victims lost to hate crimes. Hard is the group’s faculty sponsor and a local champion of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community. We have just finished watching a “Frontline” movie on the brutal slaying of Billy Jack Gaither, the man whose memory the hate crimes vigil was established in honor of, just weeks after he was killed. The documentary relates how the man was stabbed, set afire and finally bludgeoned to death with an axe handle as he tried to escape his attackers. The other attendees and myself collect ourselves and prepare for the next part of the evening. We are each provided with a picture of one of the victims and a small battery operated candle, as we file out of the building and into the rain. Conversation is muted as we walk to the flagpole where we will lay our photos. We take turns reading the name of the victim we hold, and placing our cards one by one at the base of the flagpole. Hard then asks us to share a thought or prayer for victims named, unknown and to come. We pray, and disperse.

I meet with Hard later in the week to get his thoughts on the vigil. I inquire about his first realization of hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals. “You would see kids bullied at school all the time.” Hard says. “Then hearing family members talking, even advocating gay bashing .He describes the tendency of victims to withdraw in response to these interactions, an action, which unfortunately leaves them vulnerable. I ask him what the wider community should take away from the hate crimes vigil. “There are a lot of people who would say there’s no such thing as homophobia, no such thing as hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. To the point that the legislature has resisted adding LGBTQ wording to the hate crimes bill.” Hard says that this is something the LGBTQ community considers a priority, as hate crimes carry a heavier sentence than other violent crimes. When asked what message he would leave for the world, should he be the victim of a hate crime, he replies, “In December I bought a matching grave marker. It says two things: ‘Loving husband’ and a private message to my spouse. You can be a bigot of any sort and deny that another person is of worth, claim that we are worthless or worth less, but it takes a human to have a relationship. I am a human being in relation to other human beings.”

Vigil
Candles honor the victims of hate crime.

A few days later, on Feb. 15, I attend Alabama’s sixteenth statewide hate crimes vigil downtown which is fittingly held in the civil rights museum. The vigil , too, begins with a roll call of victims. There is a decidedly less oppressive mood here, however, as the LGBTQ community has enjoyed a small victory since students at AUM gathered to remember hate crime victims. Though the gay marriage ban has been lifted, we are reminded that there are many areas in which improvements can be made. There are still many policies that purport the idea that LGBTQ individuals are less than human. Among the speakers are representatives from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign and the Alabama Legislature. Representative Patricia Todd takes the floor toward the end of the service to talk about legislation she is introducing in the upcoming session that would include LGBTQ community members in anti-discrimination legislation. Currently, there is no such protection.

The thread that connects these events seems to be one of reluctant hope. While victories are being won, there are still many areas in which the LGBTQ community is unfairly denied the same rights and protections as their fellow humans. The message echoed by many at the state vigil is tragic and clear, that we do not have to continue these vigils for new victims in the years to come.

Photo Courtesy of Kimberly McGuinty

Recapping National Signing Day 2015

signing day

 

By Jacob Horton

National Signing Day 2015 marked another great year for the state of Alabama, as both Alabama and Auburn received commitments from many sought-after high school football players.

 

For the University of Alabama, National Signing Day 2015 officially made it the fifth straight year in which Nick Saban has put together the number one recruiting class in the nation, according to two of the four major recruiting websites.

 

According to ESPN.com, the Alabama Crimson Tide’s 2015 recruiting class contains 25 commits. Of those 25 commits, 19 are ranked in ESPN’s top 300 high school players in the nation. Standouts from this class include: The number 2 ranked pro-style quarterback Blake Barnett, the number 1 ranked wide receiver in Calvin Ridley, the number 2 ranked running back Damien Harris and the number 3 and 4 ranked cornerbacks in Kendall Sheffield and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

 

Saban has always prided himself in being able to recruit the best players in the nation. His elite recruiting skills have almost singlehandedly placed him atop the Mount Rushmore of college football coaches. His process has turned the University of Alabama into the premiere college football program, and it all starts with recruiting. You’re not going to win without the best players, and they aren’t going to want to come to your program if you don’t win games. It all comes full circle, and winning breeds winning.

 

Auburn University also experienced their share of success this recruiting season. They were able to put together the seventh best recruiting class in nation, while making some big splashes on signing day.  Of their 27 players signed, 12 of them belong to the ESPN 300.

 

Of all their signees, nobody stirred up more conversation than Byron Cowart. The 6’4”, 258 pound defensive end from Seffner, Florida, headlines Auburn’s 2015 recruiting class as the number one high school football player in the nation. Cowart’s decision to commit to Auburn University on National Signing Day made headlines across the nation, putting an exclamation mark on Auburn’s 2015 class.  His presence alone helped bolster Auburn’s recruiting class from being ranked outside of the top 10 nationally to seventh in the nation.

 

In addition to signing Cowart, Auburn reeled in commitments from three other big names. The Tigers landed linebacker Jeff Holland, wide receiver Ryan Davis and cornerback Carlton Davis. Each of these three players were labeled as four-star recruits, meaning that they could have an immediate impact on Auburn’s success next season.

 

Give credit to Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Ever since he joined the team on Dec. 12, there has been a level of excitement that they haven’t felt at Auburn since their national championship season in 2010. He brought in loads of talent to the University of Florida while at the helm, and is already making strides in his first couple months at Auburn.  Muschamp’s presence on the coaching staff served as the x-factor this recruiting season, and look for it to only improve Auburn’s chances of landing big-name talent as next season unfolds.

 

National Signing Day proved that the state of Alabama still rules college football, both on and off the field. Even though a team from the state didn’t play for a national title for the first time in six years this season, it shouldn’t be much longer before the state is once again represented in NCAA championship game. Look for the success of these two teams to continue as long as they keep bringing in the big-time recruits.

Photo Courtesy of endzonenews.com

 

Contact the writer: jhorton4@aum.edu

“Fury” from the Past

Fury Movie Poster

 

By Nicky Disbrow

As I sat in the audience at the screening of “Fury” awaiting the violence and drama to ensue, Dr. Ben Severance, Professor of History at AUM, asked the same rhetorical question I had in mind: “where would Hollywood be without war movies?”

As part of the Political Film Series, Fury was introduced by an AUM faculty member who is considerably knowledgeable about the topic; Severance provided the brief introduction for Fury” and helped set the scene for it.

“Fury” is about a U.S. Army tank crew located in Germany in the final weeks of battle during World War II. With one character extremely reluctant to partake in battle, and another who uses his religious beliefs to help him get by, the movie develops a deeper tone than what I was expecting to experience. It also did an excellent job at developing characters, adding slight comedic moments to lighten the mood when need be, and it did not over-do the drama and battle scenes we often see in this genre.

While the film does contain many war-movie clichés and quotable lines, it also prompts the audience to analyze underlying themes of morality, religion, and the psychological wear that war has on soldiers. This is what sets it apart from other war movies.

After the film was over, I was fairly tired and ready to go home. Instead I decided to stay for the discussion after the film concluded, and I am glad I did. Not only did the discussion address how the film showed the typical display of American greatness, but it also focused on the accuracy of the film.

Severance explained there were several scenes that were somewhat accurate, while others were exaggerations or far from realistic. Had I not stayed for the discussion, I probably would have accepted the whole film as portraying truth and displaying a realistic picture of what happened in World War II.

I went more for the entertainment aspect, but I ended up learning more than I expected. If you’re looking for entertainment, education, or just free food and drinks, I strongly suggest attending the Political Film Series screenings..

Here are the upcoming screenings:

February 25

Film: 42 (2013; PG-13)

Room: 109 Goodwyn Hall; 7pm

Introduction: Dr. Eric Sterling

Co-sponsor: AUM Athletics

 

March 18

Film: Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katarina Gilbert (2014; PG)

Room: 109 Goodwin Hall; 7pm

Introduction: Dr. Annice Yarber

Co-sponsor: AUM’s Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs

 

April 22

Film: Extreme Realities: Severe Weather, Climate Change, and Our National Security (2014, NR)

Room: 109 Goodwyn Hall; 7pm

Introduction: Dr. Linda Dennard

Co-sponsor: AUM’s Office of Global Initiatives

 

All films are open to the public and are free of charge. For more information, contact Dr. Pia Knigge at pknigge@aum.edu.

Super Bowl XLIX has Historic Potential

aaaaaaa
By Jacob Horton

Regardless of the outcome on Feb. 1 when the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks square off in Super Bowl XLIX, we will all witness history taking place. A win for either team on Super Bowl Sunday will result in something that sportswriters and fellow members of the media will be talking about for years to come.

 

If the New England Patriots come away victorious on Super Bowl Sunday, it will mark their fourth championship in franchise history. That would be good enough to place them tied with the Green Bay Packers for third all-time in Super Bowl wins.

 

From a coaching standpoint, Bill Belichick could accomplish a major career milestone with a win next Sunday. For Belichick, he can move into a first place tie with the late Pittsburg Steeler’s coaching legend Chuck Noll for most Super Bowl wins as a head coach.

 

Aside from a few bumps in the road, with “Spygate” in 2007 and the more recent “Deflategate,” Bill Belichick has established himself as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history during his 14-year tenure in New England. The frequently hooded football mastermind had only one losing season, coming in the year 2000, which was Belichick’s first year with the organization. Therefore, the result of Super Bowl XLIX will not be a make-or-break for his career, but a win certainly wouldn’t make Belichick’s résumé any less impressive.

 

For New England’s world-renowned quarterback Tom Brady, this Super Bowl could put him into a club with elite company. A win would place Brady into a three-way tie with NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana for most Super Bowl wins as a starting quarterback. If Brady plays well enough to earn Super Bowl MVP honors, he would again be rewriting the history books. A Super Bowl MVP award next Sunday would be the third of his career, which is another record he could share with Joe Montana.

 

While Brady has put together quite a career in New England, this game will no doubt have a huge impact on his legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks. A win would give Brady an overall record of 4-2 in Super Bowls. A loss would drop Brady to 3-3 and cancel out his winning record in the big game. The fact that he’s been to these many Super Bowls is impressive, so this is a statistic that shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

 

As for the Seattle Seahawks, a victory would result in them being crowned NFL champions in back-to-back seasons. This is a feat that has not been accomplished in over ten years. “In a league featuring more parody than a “Weird Al” Yankovic album, the Seattle Seahawks managed to once again navigate their way through cutthroat NFC opponents. While teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers had huge offensive numbers this season, the Seahawks stayed true to the adage that “defense wins championships.”

 

Although both teams were successful enough to earn the number one overall seed in their division for the playoffs, this is not your typical Super Bowl matchup. Will Brady, Belichick and company mark their place on the list of all-time greats, or will the Seattle Seahawks accomplish something as a team that we may not see again for a long time? Both teams have a chance to leave us with a game filled with memories of a lifetime.

 

 

Contact the writer: jhorton4@aum.edu

Photo Courtesy of nfl.com