Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey honored the University of Montevallo’s 2020-2021 bass fishing team during a ceremony at Beeswax Creek Park in Columbiana on July 27 for being crowned the top collegiate fishing team in the nation.
The UM bass fishing team topped more than 200 collegiate fishing programs throughout the nation during the 2020-2021 season to earn the distinction of the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia in late May.
“Well done, gentlemen. How wonderful to win a national championship in something you love to do,” Ivey said. “We have much to look forward to in this generation, as they pour their passion into learning the importance of a good work ethic and enjoying the outdoors while conserving our natural resources. Hats off to the University of Montevallo Outdoor Scholars Program for giving these students that opportunity.”
During a dominant season, the UM team, which is a part of the UM President’s Outdoor Scholars Program, took over the top ranking in the national standings in November 2020 and never relinquished its lead.
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship praised the team for representing the state well on a national level.
“To have a team from the state of Alabama win the national championship is a big deal,” he said. “The Outdoor Scholars Program at the University of Montevallo means a great deal to these young men here today and to the state of Alabama as a whole.”
Shelby County District 1 Commissioner Kevin Morris echoed Blankenship’s praise for the team.
“You are paving the way for other students at Montevallo through the Outdoor Scholars Program to be able to enhance their college careers and give back to our community,” Morris told the team members.
Montevallo, which finished second in last season’s School of the Year rankings, knocked off two-time defending national champion McKendree University of Lebanon, Illinois, and topped large universities such as the University of Tennessee, Auburn University and East Carolina University en route to this year’s national crown.
“Outdoor Scholars Director William Crawford has done an exceptional job building a premier program that has achieved national distinction. I am very proud of William, Assistant Director Scooter Stano and all of the Outdoor Scholars for the manner in which they represent us and help to extend our story around the nation,” said Dr. John W. Stewart III, UM president. “My wife Cindi and I offer our congratulations to the bass fishing team and look forward to many such successes in the future. We appreciate the high-level recognition that Governor Ivey brought to the special event today, and her support of our students throughout her term.”