HATTIESBURG, Miss (WDAM) - After 66 years, the Dixie Darlings are about to be retired.
The University of Southern Mississippi’s precision dance team that performs with the school’s marching band, “The Pride of Mississippi,” will be renamed, according to USM’s website.
An unsigned “Message from our Leadership Desk” on the Pride’s website page starts:
“The leadership of The Pride of Mississippi and all of its component performing units, in consultation with University of Southern Mississippi administrators and the Southern Miss Alumni Association’s Traditions Committee, are beginning the process of selecting a new name for the marching band’s precision dance team, known from 1954 to 2020, as the Dixie Darlings.”
The message said the change was necessary because “(i)t has become increasingly difficult for our students to focus on our core values of excellence and our faculty’s ability to provide a positive and safe environment.”
The process for determining a new name will include “current and former” members of the dance team.
“While change is not always comfortable or easy, we trust that points of discomfort can result in significant positive growth,” the message said. “We are excited to embrace that growth and look forward to taking the journey into our organization’s next century of excellence together.”
The message also said that “an original piece of music has been commissioned to use as the team’s entry music onto the field during pregame performances at (M.M. Roberts Stadium).
“These changes continue our ongoing commitment to maintaining a positive and safe environment for the students of The Pride of Mississippi.”