Belmont University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle (’99) and Miss USA 2007 Rachel Smith (’06) were recognized today for outstanding achievement by the Tennessee General Assembly, spearheaded by local representative, Brenda Gilmore.
Belmont president Dr. Bob Fisher, men’s basketball head coach Rick Byrd, women’s head basketball coach Tony Cross, director of events administration/commercial music coordinator Jeff Kirk and associate dean of the school of social sciences Thom Storey were in attendance as House Resolution 141 was read before the House members.
Both basketball programs reached the NCAA tournament in 2006-07, two of five Belmont teams to win Atlantic Sun Conference championships this academic year. The Belmont athletics department continues to enjoy unparalleled academic success having earned the Atlantic Sun All-Academic Trophy five years in succession.
Doolittle graduated from Belmont in 1999 with a degree in commercial voice from the School of Music. She performed in the highly regarded Commercial Music Showcase while a Belmont student. Doolittle performed in the semi-finals of the sixth season of American Idol and finished third on the top-rated reality TV show.
After graduating from Belmont in December 2006, Smith was crowned Miss USA in March. While a Belmont student, Smith served as managing editor of The Belmont Vision, Belmont’s student newspaper, interned for The Oprah Winfrey Show for eight months and traveled to South Africa to work with students at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy after graduating.