The Samford Homecoming Ball

Samford’s homecoming week is rounding the corner, and with it the Homecoming Ball is rolling in.

“The event is simply going to be even bigger and better than last time,” Catherine Guardabassi said, “and you’ll feel like a million bucks walking into that room.”

Guardabassi is Vice President for Events on the Student Executive Board, as well as the Student Consult for the Homecoming Ball. The Homecoming Ball is scheduled to take place on November 5, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Just as it was two years ago, the event will be held in Seibert Gym.

“There’s a team of people who will work their magic and completely transform the space of the basketball gym into an upscale and sophisticated ballroom,” Guardabassi said.

Besides an astonishing assortment of delectable desserts and live music by the “upscale fun band” the Atlanta Allstars, the ball will feature a bigger-than-ever dance floor and the Homecoming King and Queen coronation.

IMG_8548“I believe Samford wants us to have all the best experiences and opportunities,” Guardabassi said. “The Homecoming Ball is just one fantastic way of showing that.”

Guardabassi said that Samford hosts the ball every two years to not only broaden the students’ college experience, but also to keep such campus events “fresh and new”.

“It’s a special event we’re lucky to experience because it brings the entire campus—from athletes, Greeks, independents and every area of campus in-between—together for one amazing ball.”

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on Banner. A total of 1,000 tickets are available for the ball. “Sounds like a lot, but they go quicker than you think!” Guardabassi said.

Samford students are encouraged to dress their best and come participate in the night’s activities.

“Be sure to wear your dancing shoes!”

A Backstage Glimpse

Music. Spotlights. Deafening crowds. Cameras rolling.

To the fans that fill the auditorium, this life of entertaining in the music industry is one of pure mystery. But to Callie Phelps, daughter of gospel singer David Phelps, this life is normal.

“I know it’s not normal at all, but it’s normal to me because it’s just all I’ve known,” she explained.

Her father has been a musician since before she was born.

“I grew up on the road, took my naps in equipment boxes and behind the product table, and spent most birthdays at Chuck-E-Cheese in random towns for a really long time,” she said.

Callie Phelps is a Samford junior English major with a concentration in Creative Writing. Like the vast majority of her family—cousins included—her gifts are creatively and musically inclined.

She enjoys writing short stories and poetry, and has recently been nurturing a growing interest in interior design. To accompany these talents is her love for music, which she not only shares with the congregation some Sundays at Shades Mountain Baptist Church, but also with the world when she sings backup for her dad on his tours.

“It’s helped me become comfortable standing on stage without an instrument other than my voice.”

Phelps said she first began singing backup for her dad when her Aunt Sherri started losing her six-year battle with cancer in the fall of 2012.

In the two months preceding their aunt’s death, Phelps and her sister Maggie Beth Phelps, along with family friend Charlotte Richy, were prepped by David Phelps to stand in for his sister.

Sherri Proctor passed away in September of 2012, “and after that,” Phelps said, “we just kind of had to step up, and kept going. It’s a job,” she said.

Her father’s tours typically revolve around the seasons, the biggest ones taking place in winter and spring.

“The way he has it set up is really nice. He only tours on the weekends, and with some extension into the beginning or end of the week,” Phelps said, further relaying some variance when her father travels with the Gaither Vocal Band.

She described “a typical growing up and still typical week” for her and her siblings as one in which her dad would be home Monday through Thursday, and then gone for the weekend on tour.

“And so we homeschooled,” she said, “so we could hang out during the week and do school on the weekends when he was gone.”

As may be expected for a family of touring musicians, the Phelps family has grown especially close to each other.

Phelps considers each band member, regardless of biological relation, to be family. They often celebrate Thanksgiving together, and during Christmastime each year, host a Christmas concert on the family’s property—an old dairy farm converted into a musician’s dream studio and performance hall in Culleoka, Tennessee.

Now as autumn leaves begin to blanket the earth in preparation for the chilly days ahead, and semester finals ebb ever nearer, Phelps prepares once more for the busiest tour season.

“The world doesn’t change or stop just because you’re out on the road; if anything, it gets harder.”

Juggling academic demands with professional music responsibilities—including responsibilities toward fans, who are “constantly watching”, is not an easy task.

But as Phelps put it, “It’s a job.” And to her, it’s normal.

Samford Soccer will be the No. 1 in the SoCon Tourney

Jubo vs. Wake Forest goal

Photo by Caroline Summers.

The Samford University women’s soccer team has clinched its second straight Southern Conference regular-season championship.

Despite falling 1-0 at Western Carolina on Sunday, the Bulldogs finished the 2015 regular season with a 13-5 overall record and an impressive 8-1 SoCon mark. The goal that WCU scored was the ONLY one allowed by Samford in the SoCon regular season.

The combination of offensive production from key players and consistent goalkeeping has propelled the Bulldogs to another successful year.

On Friday, Oct. 23, the Bulldogs won 1-0 at ETSU 1-0. Junior forward Malcanisha Kelley scored with only 3:30 remaining in the game. With her goal, Kelley tied the school’s single-season record in the goals category (11) and Samford’s all-time goals record (26). Junior forward Taylor Borman tallied her 10th assist of the season, which is tied for best on the team in the assist category.

“As a team we have goals, we want to make it farther than last year,” stated Malcanisha Kelley. “We celebrate our victory of winning SoCon regular season a little but continue to stay focused on what’s ahead that’s winning a SoCon Championship and giving us a change to compete in the NCAA Tournament.”

As a team, Samford Soccer is ranked No. 10 in the nation in assists (40), No. 11 in points (120) and No.18 in goals (40).

Soccer v. S. AL 8.15

Photo by Caroline Summers.

Senior defender Hallie Georgi is second on the team with 6 goals, followed by junior forward Sara Smeltzer (5) and Borman (4). The Bulldogs will look to these key players to carry them to victory in the conference tournament.

The Bulldogs terrific season has not only been displayed by its offensive playmakers, but also by stellar goalkeeping. Sophomore goalies Anna Maddox and Katie Peters have been rotating starts and have combined to record nine shutouts, while only allowing 14 goals in 18 matches. Samford has outscored its opponents by a total of 40-14 this season.

SoCon-champion Samford will next be in action Saturday at 7 p.m. as it will host either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed in the quarterfinal round of the SoCon Tournament.

For score updates and breaking news, follow @SamfordSoccer and @Samford_Sports on Twitter.

Samford Volleyball Hosts Wofford on Friday

volleyball vs UNCG

Photos from Herb Brooks.

In 11 out of their last 13 matches, the Bulldogs have either swept opposing teams or have been swept.

On Saturday, Samford dropped a 3-0 decision to the UNCG Spartans. Throughout the match, there were a combined total of 18 ties and eight lead changes. The first set alone featured 14 ties and seven lead changes, with the Bulldogs and Spartans fighting into extra points before a result of 27-25 deferred.

Samford’s overall record is now 8-11, with a 3-6 mark in SoCon play.

Regardless of what happens this season, the Bulldogs remember to keep their wins and losses in perspective.

For one game each year, the volleyball team suits up in orange jerseys to raise awareness for leukemia. Caroline Neisler, sister of current player Kate Neisler, passed away just weeks after learning of her diagnosis. Neisler fought to ensure that people remembered her for not giving up. Fundraising efforts are included to keep Caroline’s memory alive. This year’s “Dig Orange” match will be played on Nov. 4 against Chattanooga. Fans are encouraged to wear orange themselves for the match.

Before the Chattanooga match, the Bulldogs will focus on beating Wofford.

They hope to get back on the winning track this Friday at 7 p.m.

Friday is Moe’s Southwest Grill Night in the Pete Hanna Center, where free nachos will be given to the first 100 fans. Also, prizes will be awarded for fans with the best Halloween costumes.

It’s Halloween Time, Birmingham

Birmingham has become a good place to spend a Halloween over the last few years. The city opens up major landmarks that are decorated and opened as Halloween attractions. The places recommended are either in Birmingham, Alabama or surrounding it.

If you are looking for some place to go to celebrate the holiday, here are some places to consider:

1. The Birmingham Zoo:

The Birmingham Zoo has become well known around the city for its “Boo at the Zoo” month. It is a fun, family-friendly place to go to experience Halloween.   For the majority of the month, the zoo decorates major attractions; from its trains to its Wildlife shows. The Birmingham Zoo makes a full effort to welcome the holiday while continuing to educate people about its animals. We recommend the Birmingham Zoo for your pre-Halloween night decorations and to learn about its animals in a unique and slightly scary way.

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Photo by Eden Long.

2. Sloss Fright Furnace

Sloss Furnace, in downtown Birmingham, has made a Halloween tradition of turning its furnace into a Halloween attraction. Though it may seem like a normal furnace factory from the outside, inside it is very different story during the month of October.  From its furnace flames to its Halloween zombie training, Sloss Fright Furnace is a horrifically scary place to visit. We recommend stopping by the historic landmark for some Halloween filled fun.

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Photo by Eden Long.

3. Atrox Factory:

The Atrox Factory, located in Leeds, Alabama has earned the reputation of being one of the scariest attractions not just in Alabama, but in the entire southeast. During the month of October, the factory becomes a haunted house with some of the most terrifying attractions.  Atrox is an unique attraction in the surrounding Birmingham area that fans of horror should go visit. We recommend you arriving early because this attraction gathers visitors from far and wide, but the line is definitely worth the wait.

Top-Five Upcoming Local Races


  1. Run for Down Syndrome

When: Oct. 31 at 8 a.m. (5k/10k), 9:30 a.m. (1 mile)
Where: Oak Mountain State Park

The “Boo Run Run” Alabama Down Syndrome Trail Race will take place at Oak Mountain State Park on Saturday, Oct. 31. Proceeds from the event benefit Down Syndrome Alabama. There will be a post-celebration featuring food, beverages, live entertainment and a costume contest for both runners and kids. Registration fees are $10 (mile), $35 (5k) and $40 (10k).


2. Samford University Red, White & Blue 5k/ Fun Run

When: Nov. 7 at 8 a.m.
Where: Samford University Soccer/ Track Complex

In correspondence with homecoming weekend, the Samford University Alumni and Aerospace Studies Booster Club will host a pre-Veteran’s Day 5k on Saturday, Nov. 7. The patriotic-themed race will take place on the flat, paved Lakeshore Trail, starting and ending at the university’s track and soccer facility. The registration fee, which includes a T-shirt for those pre-registered 10 days before the race, is the same for both the 5k and 1 mile fun run ($25).


  1. Vulcan Run 10k and 1 Mile Fun Run

When: Nov. 7 at 8 a.m.
Where: Birmingham City Hall

The Birmingham Track Club will host the 41st edition of the Vulcan Run 10k, one of the region’s most popular and elite races, on Saturday, Nov. 7. Serving as the state’s Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) 10k state championship race, the top 200 runners receive tech finisher shirts. A post-race party and awards ceremony will take place after the race. Registration fees are $45 (10k) and $20 (1 mile) and include a T-shirt.


  1. Magic City Half Marathon & 5k

When: Nov. 22 at 8 a.m. (Half marathon), 9 a.m. (5k)
Where: Regions Field

As part of the Ruben Studdard Celebration Weekend, the fifth edition of the Magic City Half Marathon & 5k will take place on Sunday, Nov. 22. Featuring a scenic course and post-race celebration, the race offers a prime opportunity to chase a personal record in ideal weather conditions. Registration fees for the half marathon are $80 until Oct. 31, $85 until Nov. 19 and $90 for walk-up registration. The 5k costs $42 until Nov. 19, and walk-up registration is $45. A T-shirt and swag bag are included.


  1. Sam Lapidus Montclair Run 10k & 5k

When: Nov. 26 at 8:30 a.m. (10k/5k), 10 a.m. (Fun Run)
Where: Levite Jewish Community Center (LJCC)

Benefitting the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama along with the LJCC Fitness Program, the Sam Lapidus Montclair Run gives runners a chance to begin their Thanksgiving morning by hitting the roads. In its 39th year, the event features chip-timing and clocks at the mile markers. Registration fees, which include a T-shirt, are $31 (10k/5k) and $13 (Fun Run).

Cross Country Ready to Roll at Conference

Cool, crisp air. Color-changing leaves. Pumpkin everything.

All signs point to the delayed arrival of fall in central Alabama, and for the Samford men’s and women’s cross country teams that means one thing: championship season is here.

After logging hundreds of miles, enduring tedious workouts and persevering through the wear-and-tear of a long season, the time has finally come to reap the benefits of a training cycle that began nearly five months ago.

Scheduled for the morning of Oct. 31 on the Furman University Golf Course in Greenville, S.C., the 2015 Southern Conference Cross Country Championships represent the season’s pinnacle.

“It’s always our No. 1 focus,” first-year head coach Kevin Ondrasek said. “We’ll have a couple individuals who will progress past that, and we’ll train for that, but as a unit we’re trying to put it together at conference first.”

Both teams will face a talented field when they toe the starting line for the season-defining race, as the hometown Paladins enter the meet as two-time defending champions for both the men and women.









In fact, the Furman men enter the meet with a national ranking, earning recognition in the latest poll as the No. 10 team in the country.

But that doesn’t mean the Bulldogs will be running with decreased expectations, especially on the men’s side. After tying their highest finish position in program history by placing fourth at the 2014 conference meet, the Samford men are focused on reaching new heights.

“I think if we’re not on the podium we’ve failed, or I failed, either way,” Ondrasek said. “How far up on to the podium is up to them. I don’t think Furman is necessarily in reach, just being realistic, but I’ve seen some crazy things happen. Cross country’s a crazy sport, you never know.”

Individually, the men will be led by star sophomore Arsène Guillorel, the 2015 SoCon outdoor track and field 5,000-meter champion who recently notched a 19-second cross country personal best, cruising to a fourth-place finish at Friday’s hypercompetitive Crimson Classic.

Severely affected by graduation and hampered by a mix of injury and illness, the Samford women will enter the conference meet with a slightly different approach. Though they’ll arrive in Greenville with an expectation of reaching the podium as a team, Ondrasek is placing an elevated importance on each runner’s individual performance.

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“They’re working on just finding some consistency, and just kind of celebrating improving as individuals,” Ondrasek said. “If we come out feeling good about what we’ve done as individuals, I’ll be happy with the team performance.”

The sophomore duo of Karisa Nelson and Emma Garner will set the pace for the Bulldog women, as each will look to improve upon their performances from a year ago. Both Nelson and Garner earned spots on the 2014 All-SoCon Freshman Team after placing 12th and 24th, respectively.

As the Samford men and women continue to make their final preparations for the championship meet, ensuring full health across the board, Ondrasek said he’s been pleased by each group’s collective improvement over the course of the season, fulfilling the vision established on day one.

“I mean we’ve had little hiccups here and there, but they’ve progressed along beautifully,” Ondrasek said. “They’re right where I hoped they would be.”

{Fall} In Love With Grace House Ministries

Fall is among us, and what better way to enjoy the crisp air and crunchy leaves than attending the Grace House Pumpkin Festival this Saturday, October 17th, from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Homewood Central Park. Tickets are $10 each and all proceeds go to Grace House Ministries, which hosts homes serving girls ages 6-21. The ticket allows you to get a pumpkin and unlimited access to family fun games. There will also be many tasty food trucks to choose from including Old Town Pizza, MELT, Steel City Pops and Saw’s Street Kitchen.

If you don’t have any Saturday plans yet, this is a great way to give back and enjoy the beautiful weather. Happy pumpkin picking!

For more information on Grace House Ministries visit:

Coffee Corner

With the cool weather taking Birmingham by a pleasant surprise, we have mapped out the best coffee spots around town to keep you warm (and caffeinated) during this sweater weather season. Here are the first three coffee pit stops that we think are a must.


Just across the street from Samford University in Brookwood Village is O’Henry’s Coffees. Inside, the quaint little shop is decorated with nick-nacks and cozy wall décor that will make you feel right at home. We recommend you start with the Caramel Latté. If coffee isn’t your thing, try the one-of-a-kind sweet tea, “Front Porch Estate,” paired with the Ginger Bar. You won’t regret it, we promise.





If you’re looking for something with a little more seasonal flair – then head on over to the beloved Starbucks in Mountain Brook. Just re-releasing their ever-popular Pumpkin Spiced Lattés, Starbucks has all the basic girls rejoicing with praise hands! All joking aside, this drink is “literally fall in a cup,” and if you have yet to taste this magical concoction – do yourself a favor and go try it. Right. Now.


Our recent favorite coffee spot is Revelator Coffee Company. Located in the heart of the city, Revelator gives off [I’m really cool] vibes that will make you want to stay just a moment longer. We suggest you go with their classic Mocha paired with Chocolate Chess Pie.

Go out and enjoy some coffee Birmingham.

Trader Joes Unveils Grand Opening of New Store in The Magic City

Now there is no need to visit Atlanta to encounter a Trader Joe’s. The tropical-themed grocery chain opened their doors to a new store in Birmingham, Ala. on Oct. 13.


The Summit location is in the heart of all the action and ties in local Birmingham icons to their island décor.

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They also have a lot of pumpkin items to choose from to help get you into the fall spirit including pumpkin bagels and pumpkin cream cheese muffins.


Trader Joes prides themselves on keeping their costs low and having healthier options to choose from. “I’m so excited Trader Joe’s is finally being brought to Birmingham because of their cheaper options to fit college students budgets,” said Elizabeth Goydich, Samford University Junior.