Freshman Twin Brothers Continue Family Legacy in Ole Miss Engineering, Athletics

August 2011 By

OXFORD, Miss. - Scott and Marni Kendricks always hoped that their twin sons, Sam and Tom, would one day attend the University of Mississippi as they did decades earlier. What the couple didn't anticipate is that each of the brothers would enter his parents' alma mater with stellar achievements in academics and athletics.

The 18-year-old brothers graduated from Oxford High School in May. Sam set school and state records in pole-vaulting, earning honors as the Gatorade Mississippi Boys Athlete of the Year and Mr. Track and Field in Mississippi. Tom won the Robert Youngblood Award for having the most varsity letters of any graduating senior in track, cross country and soccer during his high school tenure. "We are thrilled that our boys will be continuing the family legacy in engineering and in athletics," said Marni Kendricks, assistant dean in the School of Engineering. She is the daughter of Jim Reeves, who was assistant director of UM's National Food Services Management Institute and business manager for the UM Foundation Barksdale Reading Institute before his retirement.

"I think that this is exactly the right fit for each of them to earn their degrees and launch successful career paths."

A champion high school runner and founding member of the Ole Miss track program under coach Joe Walker, Scott Kendricks has been coaching OHS teams for years. "I am particularly pleased that Sam will now be coached by Joe Walker, who also coached me so many years ago," he said.

Both brothers said they are eager to begin their engineering studies.

"I've visited several other universities, but for me, Ole Miss is still the best," said Sam, a general engineering major, Army ROTC student and athletics scholar. "Ole Miss is whatever you make it to be. I'm going to spend a lot of my time here between ROTC and the track team."

"I feel like engineering is the major I've been guided to my whole life," said Tom, a mechanical engineering major, European Aeronautic Defense and Space North America scholar and co-op intern in the university's National Center for Physical Acoustics. "I love Oxford, and Ole Miss is a great school from which to earn a degree."

Both Sam and Tom will take a required engineering graphics course taught by their mother, who is known to be rigorous in the classroom.

"We had Dad for our coach for six years, so we should be able to take instruction from Mom for a semester," Sam said with a laugh.

Coaching his own sons to athletics success was a challenge, Scott Kendricks said.

"It was pretty normal the first four years, but the last two years, Sam got really good at what he does," he said. "I had to upgrade my own coaching techniques just to match his abilities. I never imagined that he would become this great in the sport."

Already envisioning their post-university careers, Sam hopes to become a civil engineering in the U.S. Army, and Tom's goal is to work as a mechanical engineer for EADS.

Such divergent choices are par for the course for the twins, their father said.

"They've always been very different from one another," Scott Kendricks said. "They shared a bedroom, a bathroom and a birthday, and that's about it."

For more information about engineering programs at UM, go to engineering.olemiss.edu.