Dean Pride announces departure from Southern

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On Tuesday, April 14, Talge Hall Dean Kevin Pride sent out an email to residence hall student workers announcing his departure from Southern. After serving at Southern for 12 years as an associate dean, Pride has accepted an Athletic Director position at Forest Lake Academy (FLA) in Apopka, Florida.

According to Pride, who previously worked at FLA from 1991-2007 and coached the boy’s JV and varsity teams, he had a large role in the start-up of the varsity basketball program in 1998. When asked about his initial feelings towards accepting the position, Pride said he is ecstatic about being back in athletics. 

“To make a living in the athletic field has always been a goal of mine,” Pride said. “I am looking forward to being a part, again, of something I had a role in when it began in 1997-98.”

While he is excited to be returning to his roots, Pride said what he will miss most about being a dean is the students. According to Pride, coming to work and hanging out with the students was what he looked forward to most because of the laughs and encouragement that were exchanged. 

“Over the years, a handful of students would leave me encouraging notes and Bible texts,” Pride said. “Those notes were great, and I have kept them all.”

In light of Pride’s announcement, many students have expressed sadness about his departure, but are grateful for the memories made and impact that he has had. 

According to sophomore accounting major Josh Esten, Pride’s “know-where-you-came from, have-pride-in-it, and work hard” mentality is what made him a role model for many students. 

“When you get to know him, he becomes like a father figure far from home. That’s what he was for me,” Esten said.

George Ambroise, junior health science major, said that while he is sad to see Pride go, the FLA students are lucky to have him. He also reiterated how Pride has become a father figure away from home for many. 

“I think that every guy needs a man they can look up to and rely on, and Dean Pride has definitely been that man for the guys in Talge Hall,” Ambroise said. “The thing I’ll miss the most is having someone to look up to on campus.”

While Pride says he will miss his Southern family immensely, he is grateful for the memories he will take with him back to Florida.Visits from students, developing and managing daily worship teams and the support from his Southern family are moments that Pride said he will always cherish as some of his favorite memories.

According to Pride, he is looking forward to the teachable moments when he and the coaches will have the opportunity to incorporate lessons that will apply not only to sports, but to everyday life as well.

Junior chemistry major Allan Sison, who worked as Pride’s student dean, said Pride is a coach at heart and connected a lot of life lessons to sports, which a lot of young men at Talge could relate to. While Sison expressed that Pride will be greatly missed, he believes this new position will fit him well.

“I will miss hearing his stories. He has so many with great lessons to take from them,” Sison said. “He gets to go home.” 

Dean of Students Lisa Hall, says while Pride’s departure is a definite loss, the residence hall staff are happy for him because he is returning to his passion. According to Hall, there haven’t been any considerations for a replacement yet due to the current uncertainties of the coronavirus’s effect on future enrollment.

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