Late wrestling coach leaves largest-ever gift to SOU

Legendary Southern Oregon University wrestling coach Bob Riehm’s influence at SOU and within the wrestling program will continue in perpetuity, with a $3 million donation from his estate that ranks as the largest-ever single gift to the university.

The bequest was announced this past weekend by the university and Riehm’s surviving sisters at a celebration of life for Riehm, who passed away in November 2020. A third of the gift will endow the men’s wrestling head coach position at SOU, which will be named for Riehm, and two-thirds will fund scholarships for the team’s wrestlers.

“Bob Riehm inspired excellence from his student-athletes during his hall of fame career,” said SOU President Rick Bailey. “He was an exceptional leader, coach and mentor, and we are honored to celebrate his legacy today and into the future.”

Riehm, who died at age 83, coached the school’s wrestling program for 25 years beginning in 1969, winning three national championships and mentoring 100 NAIA All-Americans. He compiled a 270-71-2 career record and has been inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame, the Oregon Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the SOU Sports Hall of Fame.

“As a coach and mentor, Coach Riehm made an immeasurable impact on the lives of so many student-athletes who came through his program,” SOU Athletic Director Matt Sayre said. “His legacy, first and foremost, will always be that. This gift’s significance is an enduring reminder of his commitment to SOU, the sport of wrestling, our student-athletes and coaches. He will continue to be a positive and tangible contributor to the development of them all.”

Food Drive works to alleviate hunger on campus

Every February the SOU community comes together to organize the February Food Drive, working to alleviate hunger on campus. All food and funds raised go directly to support the SOU Student Food Pantry which serves students with unreliable access to food. The food drive is in partnership with the Governor’s State Employee Food Drive of Oregon.

One way to help is to attend the SOU Food Pantry Benefit Concert on February 8 at 7:30 PM PT—that’s tonight! In-person and livestream options available—watch the livestream here.

The SOU Food Benefit Concert is an annual event and fundraiser where SOU students collaborate and produce a free community concert with the goal of raising awareness of college student hunger needs. Admission is FREE with either a non-perishable food or monetary donation—all to benefit the SOU Student Food Pantry.

Also, you can help by donating directly to the SOU Student Food Pantry.

SOU hall-of-famer Paul Elliott named beach volleyball head coach

Southern Oregon University is welcoming back an old hall-of-fame face to lead one of its newest programs. Paul Elliott, who remains the winningest volleyball coach in SOU history after leading the team from 1991-2006, will return to become the Raiders’ head women’s beach volleyball coach.

SOU announced last fall the addition of beach volleyball along with golf, cycling, and competitive cheer and dance to the athletic department. Each program will launch in 2022-23, with beach volleyball making its competitive debut in spring 2023.

“I couldn’t be happier to be able to come back to a place I worked for 16 years and build a brand new program from scratch with the athletic department being as strong as it is today,” Elliott said. “I think Southern Oregon is the perfect place for a beach program and I look forward to working with college athletes in a sport that’s near and dear to my heart.”


SOU President Rick Bailey has arrived!

Richard J. Bailey, Jr., Ph.D., officially entered the role of SOU President starting on January 15. Get acquainted by watching President Bailey’s introduction video on the SOU website as well as listening to his recent interview on Jefferson Public Radio in which he outlines his vision for the future of SOU, and the day-to-day steps to get there.

Rick will be joining with other members of the SOU community this coming weekend as they “take the plunge” as part of the Southern Oregon Polar Plunge benefit for Special Olympics Oregon. Learn more about the event and how students from the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU have made it a tradition to participate for this great cause.

Resources for Black History Month engagement

Southern Oregon University encourages students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community to engage with learning and discussion throughout Black History Month. Here are some resources and online events:

Black History Month programming for children and adults at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Watch the film John Lewis: Good Trouble, then join a discussion facilitated by SOU’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Leadership Team on February 23 at 12:30 p.m. PT. Register for the discussion here. *Note: The date and time of the discussion may be changing, please check the registration page later this week to confirm.

Watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (PBS Documentary)

Suggested reading: Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Indigenous Gardens Network receives second Oregon Cultural Trust grant

Southern Oregon University, tribal partners, and others have received a $30,154 grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust to continue the work of the Indigenous Gardens Network—a hub for Indigenous-led land projects centering on food sovereignty, land stewardship, educational opportunities, and habitat restoration.

Dr. Brook Colley, Chair of the SOU Native American Studies program, was featured on Jefferson Public Radio this morning to discuss the Indigenous Gardens Network. Listen here.

The purpose of the Indigenous Gardens Network is to provide accessibility to land and “first foods” for tribal communities. First foods are plant and animal species that Native Americans traditionally relied upon for subsistence, medicine and ceremonial uses. The network consists of a tribal steering committee and working groups with citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.


SOU grad student is a Rosebud Superstar

Michael Surgeon is currently enrolled in Southern Oregon University’s MAT program. He’s working as a seventh-grade English teacher at Scenic Middle School while he finishes his degree and says he never wants to leave. Watch this Rosebud Superstar video.

The SOU Cheer and Dance Teams will be traveling to compete at the USA Collegiate Championships on February 26 in Anaheim, California. It’s the first time the full Cheer Team has competed and the first time the Dance Team has ever attended Nationals. This is the beginning of a new chapter for the teams as they build momentum toward their inaugural competitive season as NAIA-sponsored sports starting this fall.

All year around, Cheer and Dance support SOU athletic teams by encouraging school spirit and crowd enthusiasm. This month, to assist with the costs of traveling to Nationals, the teams are asking fans to show their enthusiasm by helping them reach their fundraising goal.

If you’d like to support Cheer and Dance, you can visit their fundraising page here.

Friends of Hannon Library Lecture Series

Oregon Center for the Arts

  • 2/11 7:30 PM PT: Tutunov Piano Series presents: Ching-Yun Hu. This performance will feature Ching-Yu performing an all Liszt concert program that will feature Six Lieder Transcriptions, Three Concert Etudes, and Spanish Rhapsody. Purchase tickets for event or livestream here.
  • 2/17 through 2/27: The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse, directed by Steven Sapp. What could go wrong when three bleeding-heart liberals undertake to mount a woke Thanksgiving play? Just about everything in Larissa FastHorse’s hilarious satire of clueless white people straining to be politically correct. Purchase tickets here.
  • 2/24 through 3/6: The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, directed by Brendan McMahon. A perpetually famished lackey schemes to double his wages by serving two masters simultaneously, and goes to increasingly desperate lengths to conceal his ruse. A zany farce featuring all the iconic characters from the world of commedia dell’arte. Purchase tickets here.

And enjoy past performances on-demand on the OCA Youtube Channel.

SOU Athletics

As we approach spring, you can find an increasing number of events to attend, including basketball, softball, wrestling, and track and field. Visit to see what’s coming, and find online streaming athletic events at the Stretch Live SOU portal.