TROY—Troy University will honor three alumni and one honorary alumnus with Alumni of the Year awards at halftime of its Oct. 24 Homecoming game against North Texas.
David Morgan of Niceville, Fla., Rusty Ninas of Salem and Lloyd Taylor of Destin, Fla. will be honored as Alumni of the Year, while head football Coach Larry Blakeney will be recognized as the Honorary Alumnus of the Year. In addition to the presentation at halftime, the honorees will be recognized at an invitation-only dinner on Oct. 23 and an invitation-only breakfast reception in the Hawkins-Adams-Long Hall of Honor on Oct. 24.
The awards are presented annually by the University as a part of its Homecoming celebration. Nominations are solicited, and winners are selected by the Troy University Alumni Association’s Board of Directors based on outstanding professional accomplishments, civic achievements and loyalty and service to Troy University.
“We are pleased to honor these three alumni for their contributions to their communities and their continued support of Troy University,” said Faith Ward, director of alumni affairs. “We are also proud this year to recognize Coach Larry Blakeney as our Honorary Alumnus of the Year. Coach Blakeney is a wonderful ambassador for Troy University, and his dedication to this University and its student athletes provides a wonderful example for us all.”
Morgan, a 1968 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, is co-founder and president of Morgan Bounds Enterprises, Inc., a company selling school and graduation supplies. He previously served as principal of Niceville (Fla.) High School where, under his leadership, the school implemented the International Baccalaureate program. During Morgan’s tenure as principal, Niceville High School became one of only 13 schools recognized nationally as a U.S. Department of Education “New American High School Showcase Site” and was recognized by Newsweek Magazine as one of the best high schools in America. While serving as Niceville’s principal, Morgan received the Florida Department of Education’s Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Leadership and was inducted into the Florida Department of Education’s Hall of Fame in 1995.
In addition, Morgan served 33 years in the Alabama National Guard, retiring in 1993 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. During his service, he earned numerous awards and decorations, including the Army Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Draper Combat Leadership Award.
Morgan makes his home in Niceville with his wife Virginia, also a TROY graduate. The couple has a son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
Ninas, a 1970 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, is president and co-owner of Interstate Builder Services, Inc., a licensed residential and general contractor located in Phenix City. He is currently completing requirements for a Master of Business Administration from TROY this semester.
A member of the 1968 NAIA National Championship football team at TROY, Ninas is an active member of the TROY Alumni Association through both the Chattahoochee Valley and Letter Winner’s chapters, a founding member of the Trojan Shield Society and a member of the Trojan Warrior Club.
After graduation, Ninas became a Certified Public Accountant and served as a partner in the firm Albright, Fortenberry & Ninas, LLP, CPAs, until his retirement in 2004. He is a former member and ex-officio board member of the West Chattahoochee Development Council, a member of the Phenix City and National Home Builders Associations, a member of the East Alabama Riverfront Development Commission and past president of the Phenix City Jaycees.
Ninas and his wife Kathy, who serves as regional director of advancement at TROY’s Phenix City Campus, live in Smiths Station. He is the father of four – Jason, Daina, Katie and Clay.
Taylor is a 1962 TROY graduate and has served as a member of the Troy University Alumni Board of Directors since 2002. He is a lifetime member of the Troy University Alumni Association and was instrumental in the founding of the Emerald Coast Alumni Chapter in 1995 and the Pensacola Bay Area Chapter in 2008.
Taylor is the “Ready to Work” coordinator for the Okaloosa County (Fla.) School System. Under his direction, Okaloosa County led the State of Florida in the number of students certified as “Ready to Work,” a nationally recognized credential that helps students build relevant work skills and build a competitive advantage in the job market.
Taylor was a member of the first Destin City Council in 1984 and is a former member of the Okaloosa County Board of Education. He currently serves on the board of the Destin History and Fishing Museum, which chronicles the history of Destin and its founding families.
Taylor and his wife Sandy have a son, J.R. Taylor, and a daughter, Camella May Taylor-Watkins.
Blakeney, Troy University’s longest-serving and most successful head football coach, has led the TROY football program to an unequaled run of success that has taken the Trojans from Division II to the Football Championship Subdivision and now to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). During his 18 years at the helm, Blakeney has guided the Trojans to 11 winning seasons, including six seasons of 10 wins or more, six appearances in the Division I-AA playoffs and three FBS bowl appearances. His overall record at TROY is 145-75-1.
Blakeney has led the Trojans football team to three straight Sun Belt Conference titles and two R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl bids over the last three years. The Trojans earned the University’s first ever FBS bowl win in 2006 with a 41-17 win over Rice.
The Gordo native is the reigning Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year and, in May, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Blakeney and his wife Janice have three children and three grandchildren.