FAIRFIELD, Ala. (WIAT/MILES ATHLETICS) — Miles capped a historic 2018-19 campaign by being named winners of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Cup for men’s sports. It is the first time in school history that the athletic program has earned the distinction, which awards overall athletic success during the academic year.
The winner of the award is determined by points earned for finishes in each individual sport, with 10 points given for first-place finish, seven points for second and four points for third. Miles finished with 28 points, with 10 points each for championships in football and men’s basketball and four points each for third-place finishes in baseball and golf. The Golden Bears shared the award with Albany State and finished just ahead of Benedict (27 points).
Miles athletic director Reginald Ruffin was pumped that the program was able to reach such a milestone.
“It’s unbelievable here for us at Miles College it’s always a great day…blessed to have a great staff blessed to have a great president, Dr. French, when you talk about Miles College and the athletic department, I am really blessed when I come to work on a daily basis. “
Ruffin got the season on a roll as head football coach, leading the Golden Bears to their third football championship with a 50-23 win over Albany State in November. That momentum carried into the winter when new head coach Fred Watson helped guide the men’s basketball team to its first SIAC title with a 79-53 blowout of LeMoyne-Owen. Miles became the first school in league history to win league championship games in football and basketball in the same academic year.
Miles had a big lead heading into spring sports but is at a bit of a disadvantage because it does not sponsor men’s track and field or tennis. Still, Leonard Smoot guided his team to a third place finish at the SIAC Golf Championship in April and Ty Roberts and the baseball team earned a third-place finish despite playing from the elimination bracket following the first game. All told, the Golden Bears enjoyed their finest collective campaign ever.
Ruffin believes that this is not the finish line, but a starting point for more success.
“We have room to improve everywhere, even in sports where we won championships. Our women’s programs are still progressing so we can be in the mix for the women’s Commissioner’s Cup. We can even get better in the classroom, even though we have held a department-wide (grade point average) over 3.0 for the past nine years,” Ruffin said.
“Our athletic department has been blessed with an opportunity to do great things for our institution, our students, and our community. If we can keep building on this, working within our community and with our corporate donors to create more resources for our student-athletes, then there will be more Commissioner’s Cups to collect in the future.”