Valdosta Daily Times

January 16, 2013

Parade of National Champions set for Jan. 30

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — In a 19-month span, Valdosta State University won three Division II national championships.

Now, as the athletic teams prepare for the upcoming 2013 seasons, the city of Valdosta and Lowndes County have announced plans to honor those student-athletes that achieved athletic greatness for the famed red and black.

The city of Valdosta and Lowndes County communities will host a Parade of National Champions Jan. 30 to honor the school’s past three national championship athletic teams. The event is set to begin at 4 p.m.

The parade, which will honor the 2011 men’s tennis championship team and the 2012 softball and football championship teams, will begin at Woodrow Wilson and will roll down Patterson Street, finishing at Drexel Park.

There, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle, Lowndes County Commissioner Bill Slaughter and Valdosta State University President Dr. William J. McKinney will speak, followed by all three national championship head coaches.

“The county is excited to be part of the program,” Lowndes County spokesperson Paige Dukes said. “What a wonderul contribution these ahtletes bring to our community on and off the field.”

The combination parade honoring all three championship teams comes after past parades to honor each individual teams were not made possible, largely because of summer and winter breaks for the Valdosta State student body.

Valdosta State’s string of national championships began in May 2011, when the men’s tennis team won the national championship with a win over Barry College, the reigning D-II national champion.

A year later, the softball team became the first women’s sports team in school-history to ever win a national champion. The Blazers finished the season with a 58-5 record.

Less than seven months later, the football team won its third national championship since 2004, beating Winston-Salem State 35-7 in the Division II national championship game.