Monday, February 20, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State research focuses on dog populations in shelters
Researchers at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine recently revealed new data focusing on canine populations in animal shelters across the country. A press release from the CVM highlights a study conducted by faculty members Kimberly Woodruff and David R. Smith, who used survey and capture/re-capture methodology to estimate the number of dogs in U.S. animal shelters, along with adoption, transfer and euthanasia rates. "For many years, people have quoted numbers of animals going in and out of shelters, but there's never really been any research behind them," Woodruff said. "Even beyond that, nobody really knows how many shelters are in the United States." Study funding was provided by the Pet Leadership Council.
 
Mississippi State Researchers: More Dogs Leave Shelters Than Earlier Thought
Two Mississippi State University researchers say that more dogs go home from animal shelters than previously thought. Veterinary Medicine professors Kimberly Woodruff and David Smith surveyed more than 400 shelters across the country. Using their findings, they estimate that shelters nationwide take in 5.5 million dogs each year. Of that total, nearly 1 million are returned to previous owners and 2.6 million are adopted by new owners. Nearly 800,000 are transferred, while about the same number of dogs are killed by shelters. Smith says shelters in the Southeast are transferring large numbers of dogs to other regions where there are fewer dogs.
 
Mississippi State researcher's book, 'School Days 101,' focuses on K-12
Mississippi State University educator Angela S. Farmer is the author of a new guide for all involved in the kindergarten-high school learning process. Her 116-page "School Days 101," a recent release of Kendall Hunt Publishing, is designed for teachers, administrators and parents and provides practical information on a range of 21st century classroom and related issues. Farmer, an assistant professor of leadership and foundations in the university's College of Education, came to MSU in 2014 after serving as educational leadership director at Mississippi University for Women.
 
Mississippi State's campus radio station rolls out upgrades
Changes are coming to a frequency near you. Mississippi State University's radio station WMSV recently implemented a wide range of upgrades to help boost its profile and coverage area. MSU said in a press release on Friday that the station at 91.1 has officially replaced the original broadcast transmitter, which has been in use since 1994. MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter, who also serves as the administrator of the station, said the change represents a generational upgrade of the university's basic radio broadcast equipment. "We're grateful to MSU President Mark Keenum for his support," Salter said. "I also appreciate Anthony Craven, David Garraway, Mike Godwin, and Barry Hughes for their hard work and leadership in this project."
 
High school students prepare for college life at Mississippi State
High school juniors and seniors from across the southeast gathered at Mississippi State for the Donald Zacharias Leadership Conference. Over the course of three days, the students go to fun sessions that teach them about leadership, what it takes to be successful in college, and get introduced to opportunities that Mississippi State offers. "It gives students the chance to see what college looks like a little bit before they get there. Obviously, this isn't college. We've got a camp atmosphere, face paint, and games. That's not what you're going to experience on a daily basis, but the problems that we are talking about, and the leaderships skills, are definitely things that apply directly to college life," said Jason Tullos, a sophomore at Mississippi State. The conference is led by sophomores and freshmen at Mississippi State.
 
Starkville-MSU Symphony honors late conductor Guy Hargrove with Saturday's concert
A longtime conductor of the Starkville-MSU Symphony will be remembered as the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra takes the Lee Hall stage at Mississippi State University Saturday, Feb. 25. A 7:30 p.m. program of masterworks will honor the late Guy Hargrove, who conducted the orchestra from 1975-1991. He passed away in September 2016. Hargrove taught voice, music history and art song repertoire among other subjects at MSU and gave numerous concerts both in the United States and abroad. Under the direction of Barry E. Kopetz Saturday, the orchestra will present works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Georges Bizet, Jacques Offenbach and Askell Masson. The program opens with "Orpheus in the Underworld" by Offenbach. The 1858 farce puts a satirical spin on the ancient Greek tale of Orpheus. As with all Starkville-MSU Symphony Association concerts, Saturday's performance is free and open to the public.
 
Civil Rights icon to attend Mississippi State panel discussion
Mississippi State's African American Studies program will welcome civil right's activist James Meredith as part of its 10th anniversary celebration. Meredith -- who was the first African-American student to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962 -- will participate in a panel discussion at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1. in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium. The title of the event is "James Meredith and the March Against Fear" and will also feature fellow activists Flonzie Brown-Wright and Hollis Watkins who participated in the major 1966 Civil Rights Movement demonstration. MSU said in a press release that the panel will be moderated by MSU associate professor of History Jason Morgan Ward, author of "Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America's Civil Rights Century."
 
Mississippi State's African American Studies hosts 'James Meredith and the March Against Fear'
Mississippi State's African American Studies program is continuing its 10th anniversary celebration with a special panel discussion. Taking place March 1 at 6 p.m. in historic Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium, "James Meredith and the March Against Fear" will feature U.S. Air Force veteran James Meredith and fellow activists Flonzie Brown-Wright and Hollis Watkins who participated in the major 1966 Civil Rights Movement demonstration. In addition to the College of Arts and Sciences' African American Studies program, the panel discussion is supported by the university's Office of Public Affairs and the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering's Office of Diversity Programs and Student Development.
 
Carthage native named Miss Maroon and White 2017
Sydney Ogletree, a freshman Elementary Education major from Carthage, was chosen out of 33 young women to be Miss Maroon and White 2017. The program was held on the Mississippi State University campus on Friday, Feb. 17 in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium. Ogletree is the daughter of Brad and Mikki Ogletree. Starkville was represented by senior Roxanne Raven, a Political Science major and the daughter of Matt Raven and Ann Rashmir-Raven and junior Mamie Coleman Rybolt, a Human Development and Family Sciences major and the daughter of Chess and Carrie Rybolt. This year's contestants also represented Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
 
Two Mississippi State employees apply for Jenny Turner's school board seat
Outgoing Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees President Jenny Turner's seat is expected to be filled by a Mississippi State University-affiliated resident Tuesday. Melissa Luckett, a project coordinator with the university's Research Curriculum Unit, and Debra Prince, an associate professor with the MSU Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations, submitted application letters to the city, a documents request shows. A third applicant -- Brig. Gen. Samuel Thomas Nichols -- could not be verified as "a resident and qualified elector," a supporting document for Tuesday's agenda states. Starkville aldermen are scheduled to interview eligible candidates before making an appointment. Earlier this month, Turner announced her intention to step away from the school board after serving a five-year term.
 
SOCSD assistant superintendent Toriano Holloway vying for boss' job
The pool of applicants to succeed Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Superintendent Lewis Holloway includes at least one internal candidate, as Assistant Superintendent for Federal Programs and Operations Toriano Holloway confirmed Thursday he applied for the upcoming vacancy. Little else is known about the applicant pool after Jim Hutto, the McPherson and Jacobson consultant leading the search, declined to comment on the number of resumes received or on potential candidates' educational and employment backgrounds. That information, he said, has not yet been presented to school board members but could be disclosed by trustees following a special-called school board meeting at noon Tuesday at the Greensboro Center.
 
Analysis: Mississippi museum directors see role as educators
The newly hired directors of two Mississippi history museums see their jobs as being educators as much as curators. The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are two entities under a single roof . They are being built near the Capitol in downtown Jackson and will open in December to culminate the state's yearlong bicentennial celebration. Pamela D.C. Junior comes to the civil rights museum from the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, just a few blocks away. Rachel Myers, 30, comes to the Museum of Mississippi History from the museums division of the Jackson-based Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. The two museums are run by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, where Myers and Junior begin work March 1. They join a longtime department employee, Cindy Gardner, who will work as administrator for the two museums.
 
Revenue boss says he's fighting law by taxing internet sales
Some tax experts and conservative groups are questioning a proposed Mississippi regulation that would require large sellers to collect taxes on internet sales. Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson agreed Friday that the rule, not yet enacted by the department, would directly challenge decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedent barring states from requiring companies with no physical location in the state to collect taxes. "The whole purpose of it is to get the issue back in court and see if the Supreme Court will look at it again," Frierson told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "What we're doing is probably unconstitutional, but we've got to do it to get another hearing."
 
Gov. Phil Bryant: Special session only after consensus on education
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he will call a special legislative session on education funding only after lawmakers reach broad agreement on the main points of a proposal. "If we call a special session only to fight for three or four days, we've wasted a lot of time," Bryant said Thursday. Bryant also said he wants the public to have a chance to review any proposed funding formula before it comes up for a vote. "I think that is the goal of the leadership here in the Legislature -- make sure everyone has the time to review it and there's no surprises," Bryant said. Estimates by The Associated Press show it would cost the state roughly $145 million more than it spends now if lawmakers adopt all other EdBuild recommendations without requiring more local tax money.
 
Speaker Philip Gunn jumps out front on education funding issue
The decision to not fund local school districts during the 2017 regular session apparently was made solely by House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton. Gunn announced last week that the House would wait until an anticipated special session to fund the bulk of public education for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. Instead of passing a $2.2 billion appropriations bill to fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program before Wednesday's deadline as is the normal process, the House would do so -- most likely in special session -- while also considering legislation to rewrite the MAEP school funding formula. The special session, which only Gov. Phil Bryant can call, could come before the regular session ends in late March. Gunn said it makes sense to couple the funding of the formula with legislation to rewrite the formula as he and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, announced in October they wanted to undertake during the 2017 session.
 
Where's Steven Palazzo? Congressmen elusive for some Coast constituents
Some South Mississippi women aren't having much luck tracking down their congressman, Rep. Steven Palazzo, even though he is supposed to be back this week for a district work week. The enterprising women are trying to smoke the 4th District Republican congressman out by putting his face on posters of the sort normally emblazoned with a photo of a missing cat or dog and stapled to a utility pole. One advises that, if found, Palazzo should be returned to the constituents of the district. You won't see these posters on poles, though; they're plastered on social media. Ashley Kittrell, who will graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi in May with a degree in accounting, has been trying for more than a week to find out what the fourth-term congressman would be doing during his district work week.
 
Ole Miss students dance in RebelTHON, to benefit Batson Children's Hospital
The University of Mississippi was packed Saturday for RebelTHON -- a 12-hour dance-off held at Turner Center on campus. All of the proceeds are going to the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. "The kids, the dancers love dancing with them and they just feed off each other's energy. It's so awesome to see them get up on stage and talk for that hour and just have fun and be a kid and not in the hospital," said Marianna Schmidt, RebelTHON's executive director. Students are participating in RebelTHON. It's all benefitting patients at the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. Dancers who joined raised $100 to participate in RebelTHON. The overall goal this year is to raise $150,000.
 
USM academic reorganization still in earliest stages
In December, top University of Southern Mississippi officials announced they were seeking plans from the campus community for a university-wide academic reorganization. The idea was for faculty and administrators to suggest ways to combine departments, colleges or research clusters to maximize resources and highlight the strengths of the university. Steven Moser, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs, said the proposals should consider where discipline clusters might be achieved. "Right now, we have 45 departments," he said. "We become much more nimble in moving resources to opportunities if we are structured differently." The deadline for submissions was moved to Feb. 17. University officials say they are still in the "earliest stages" of the academic reorganization process.
 
William Carey students move back into dorms
William Carey students moved back into campus dorms Saturday, less than a month after the deadly EF-3 tornado hit the Pine Belt. Hundreds of students were forced to relocate after the tornado ripped through the William Carey campus Jan. 21. The university said 90 percent of the campus was damaged, and the storm completely destroyed six buildings. But, with what President Tommy King called "good cooperation" between the insurance company and contractors, over 600 workers helped get facilities fixed up and ready for students before the spring trimester. "I didn't think it would be ready this quickly. But, I know people have been working really hard to get this place ready so we can go back to school," said Resident Director Thomas Roberson. "It feels like home again, coming back, being able to move everyone back in. A place you know is your home away from home."
 
Alcorn State University holds black history and scholarship banquet
Alcorn State University held its third banquet for the Northeast Mississippi Alumni chapter, which they use to raise scholarship funds. Colonel Chris Gillard, a graduate of Alcorn, and the director of Mississippi Highway Patrol was the guest speaker and given the key to the city by alumni. The chapter is also raising awareness of black history. "We have children who are growing up and do not know their history, do not know anything of their heritage. From a racial standpoint, not that it's black and white. Their father and forefathers, their parents and grandparents, some are not that many generations away from slavery. I'm only three generations away from slavery," said John H. Jones.
 
Mabus at Millsaps: Navy, Marines now 'undeniably and significantly stronger'
Ray Mabus, the former Secretary of the Navy, believes the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are different than they were eight years ago.. They are "undeniably and significantly stronger," he says. Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, Mabus served as the 75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy and had the longest tenure of anyone in that post since World War I. He was governor of Mississippi from 1988 to 1992. Mabus' remarks, delivered Friday at Millsaps College, covered the expansion of the Navy's fleet, the importance of alternative fuels and the strength of the Navy he is leaving behind. Mabus, who stepped down after President Donald Trump took office Jan. 20, also talked about the armed services' recruiting difficulties. "You want to help our military? Do a better job for public education. If you want to help our military, do a much better job with health care. That's what will help our military in our country the most," Mabus said.
 
Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus questions Russia's role in election
A former secretary of the Navy said during a speaking appearance Friday that he has questions about Russia's involvement in the presidential election. "I want to know what the Russian intelligence services had to do with our democracy," Ray Mabus said Friday at Millsaps College in Jackson. His remarks on Russia came in response to an audience question about U.S. intelligence. Mabus, who held the post from 2009 to 2017 under President Barack Obama, is the longest-serving secretary of the Navy since World War I. A Mississippi native and the state's Democratic governor from 1988 to 1992, Mabus is now a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School. "I'm worried about American democracy," he said in response to another audience question. "I'm concerned about the resiliency and strength of it."
 
Pioneering astronaut Mae Jemison to speak at U. of Alabama
Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, will be the keynote speaker March 4 at a symposium hosted by the University of Alabama's Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math initiative. Jemison, a Decatur native who is founder/president of the Jemison Group and BioSentient Corp., will join several presenters from UA who will cover topics on career, education and lifestyle issues for women in technological fields. Jemison earned an engineering degree from Stanford University and a medical degree from Cornell University before entering NASA's space program. In 1992, with six other astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, she became the first black woman in space. The symposium is free and open to all area women working or studying in a STEM discipline, as well as men who support women in STEM.
 
Auburn University hosting event to discuss adapting in era of digital fabrication
Sarina Sun has good reason for helping organize a Digital Fabrication Symposium for Designers, Makers, Users and Educators on Monday and Tuesday at Auburn University. "There's an urgent need to bridge industry and academia, bringing them closer in this time of advanced technology emergence," said Sun, an assistant professor of apparel in the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences in Auburn's College of Human Sciences. Her own research -- the application of digital technology in wearable product design -- involves such technologies as 3D printing and human-computer interaction and is considered interdisciplinary, engaging not only in apparel design, but also with areas of industrial/architecture design, materials engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical/computer engineering.
 
Interested in Louisiana's TOPS? Pivotal vote might crank up academic requirements
Leading up to a key vote, a proposal to toughen academic requirements for TOPS students has triggered controversy among state officials, parents and students. The plan is part of a series of changes that the Louisiana Board of Regents is set to consider on Friday. However, any talk of revamping TOPS -- officially the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students -- is always a hot-button topic and has been this time, too. On Jan. 9, the staff of the Board of Regents, in response to a bill by Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, released a 44-page document that offered a wide range of possible higher education changes. However, a proposal that would require TOPS recipients to earn at least 30 credit hours per academic year -- up from 24 now -- has divided state leaders and families.
 
U. of Tennessee chancellor looks forward to new home on Rocky Top
Beverly Davenport, the eighth chancellor of the University of Tennessee, as of Wednesday, Feb. 15, said she lives her life by semesters. At 62, Davenport -- who was sworn in unanimously by the UT Board of Directors in December to replace former Chancellor Jimmy Cheek -- has spent the larger part of her life on college campuses. "I'm really excited to feel the rhythms of this campus," Davenport said. "I really haven't gotten out to walk the campus yet, but I came up the elevator this morning and knew all the people in the elevator were students, and I love the feel of a campus." Davenport herself is the first female chancellor at UT Knoxville and said diversity remains at the forefront when she hires new faculty. This will be especially important during Davenport's first few months at UT when she will have to hire several top administration positions, including athletic director and provost. While hiring a diverse staff remains critical to Davenport, she said she's chiefly concerned with attracting the very best talent for UT students.
 
UGA Miracle Dance Marathon raises $1.3 million for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
UGA Miracle set a record with this year's Dance Marathon, raising $1.3 million for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. That's nearly $300,000 more than the University of Georgia student-led philanthropic organization raised with last year's marathon. The first $1 million will go straight to CHOA, and the additional $352,705.17 raised this weekend will go to CHOA's Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. The total amount of money raised is just under the $1.4 million goal that UGA Miracle had set for this year's marathon. With the grand total raised at the Dance Marathon, UGA Miracle became the largest donor to CHOA, said Jackson O'Brien, the campus relations director of UGA Miracle.
 
UGA unveils 2017 Bulldog 100 rankings; Chicken Salad Chick tops list
The University of Georgia Alumni Association recognized the 100 fastest-growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni during the eighth annual Bulldog 100 Celebration. The 2017 fastest-growing business was Chicken Salad Chick, helmed by president and CEO Scott Deviney, who received his degree in economics from UGA's Terry College of Business in 1995. The company is based in Auburn, Alabama, and was started by a stay-at-home mom and her software salesman husband after selling chicken salad at PTA meetings. To date, the company operates 62 restaurants and has sold 146 franchises in eight states, selling chicken salad in 15 flavor profiles. The average compounded annual growth rate for this year's Bulldog 100 businesses was 44 percent.
 
Next year, extra university funding in Missouri dependent on graduates' employment
Students aren't the only ones who have to take tests. So do their schools, but the schools are getting paid for it. For the past three years, higher education institutions have partaken in the Missouri performance funding model, which funds institutions based on their performance in five categories. The funding system was put into law in Senate Bill 492, and was first implemented in fall 2013. School officials say they appreciate any additional source of revenue, but because the funding can fluctuate wildly from year to year, schools can't count on it. And the formula itself will become more elaborate next year, when an additional criterion is applied that will examine whether students are getting jobs related to their education.
 
U. of Missouri's Sheena Chestnut Greitens strives to balance roles as professor, first lady, mom
Two posters hang side by side on the wall of Sheena Chestnut Greitens' University of Missouri office -- one declaring "Welcome to Pyongyang," the other commemorating North Korea's missile program. Behind her desk is a painting of women in military uniforms gathered around an issue of Workers' Daily, a North Korean newspaper. Greitens' decor embodies her research specialty: East Asia and authoritarian regimes. Books on the region, including her own published in August, fill her shelves, as well as family photos with her husband, new Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, and older son Joshua. She hasn't had a chance to print more recent photos with 8-month-old Jacob. Greitens, 34, joined MU's political science department in January 2015. After taking parental leave for part of the fall semester, along with accompanying her husband on the campaign trail, Greitens returned to the classroom at the start of the spring semester not only as a professor, but as first lady of the state.
 
AmeriCorps Joins NEH and NEA Among Programs Trump May Cut
A list of programs that could be cut in the Trump administration's forthcoming budget includes not only the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, but AmeriCorps, The New York Times is reporting. Although the aim of the cuts is to trim domestic spending, most of the targeted programs cost less than $500 million per year, a drop in the bucket for a government whose spending is likely to exceed $4 trillion. The previously reported cuts in the NEA and NEH generated a cry from advocacy groups. AmeriCorps has been a source of money for college for young people, who can receive grants for a year of service. The arts and humanities endowments help fund campus programs.
 
Study: Tuition increases are not entirely explained by state disinvestment
State disinvestment isn't the whole story behind rising tuition levels. Neal McCluskey, director of the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom, makes that argument in a new study seeking to explain increases in college and university tuition levels. It's in some ways a middle-of-the-road finding for a libertarian think tank weighing into a debate whose different sides have long been dug in behind their favorite narratives. But it is also a distinct attempt to shift the focus at a time when some believe state funding has received too much attention in the debate over college costs and tuition levels.
 
Of shortfalls, cuts, contrasting oversight, reverse repealers
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Our Legislature faces deteriorating finances as they move to fund state government for next fiscal year. ...Shortfalls and cuts this fiscal year bode ill for next year. Legislators will start with less and can expect less from next year's collections. Legislators' efforts to up revenue are meeting opposition. ...Another hit to next year's finances come as cuts to business taxes and personal income taxes, passed last year, begin phasing in. ...In the face of these financial troubles, it only makes sense for state agencies to right size staffing. The House narrowly passed and sent to the Senate a bill allowing agency heads to ignore civil service rules to streamline operations."
 
Realpolitik: Partial road funding is now up to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Put all the talk of an 'impartial study' and 'two policy lanes running in the same direction' aside. Here's the bottom-line, realpolitik on funding to fix Mississippi's crumbling roads and bridges: If lawmakers don't pass the internet sales tax bill with money earmarked for roadwork this year, they're not going to do anything significant about roads and bridges before 2020. And another bit of political pragmatism: If Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves doesn't warm up to the internet sales tax bill -- and he's got a lot of 2019 politics to weigh on the issue -- nothing will happen."
 
Lessons from watching Warren Buffett, Wal-Mart, Amazon
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "The fight in Mississippi over a very straightforward decision regarding whether it's in the state's best interests to collect the same seven percent sales tax on online sales that we have forced bricks-and-mortar retailers to collect since 1932 is getting heated. Opponents of online sales tax collections want you to forget many substantive facts. ...Mississippi relies on sales tax collections for about 40 percent of the state's General Fund budget. The state has already enacted substantial tax cuts in recent years and the state's revenue stream is at best flat. Warren Buffett read the tea leaves on the future of traditional retail versus online sales and made a business decision accordingly. Mississippi's Legislature should ignore the special interests and do the same thing -- make a wise decision for stabilizing future state revenues."


SPORTS
 
Hunter Stovall, Riley Self help Mississippi State close weekend with two wins
All Mississippi State second baseman Hunter Stovall had left to show was a bit of baserunning. Entering Sunday night's game against No. 25 Texas Tech, Stovall already had shown he was one of the better hitters at Dudy Noble Field. He also had fielded his position without making an error. His chance to make an impact as a runner came in the fourth inning, when he reached third base as the go-ahead run. Shortstop Ryan Gridley's attempt at a sacrifice fly was shorter than desired, but Stovall didn't care. "I was making it," the sophomore said. "It was pretty shallow. I got to third and (MSU's third-base coach Will Coggin) was like, 'Wait, wait, wait ... do it.'" Stovall's go-ahead run set the stage for freshman pitcher Riley Self, who pitched five solid innings in relief to lead MSU to an 8-5 victory. Earlier Sunday, MSU (3-1) beat Western Illinois 10-9 in 11 innings.
 
Bulldogs win twice to wrap opening weekend
Mississippi State was able to close its four-game weekend series with a doubleheader victory on Sunday. However, things weren't easy for the Bulldogs. MSU fell behind Western Illinois 5-0 in Game 1 and trailed No. 14 Texas Tech 4-0 in the nightcap but were able to battle back for a 10-9 11-inning victory over the Leathernecks and an 8-5 win over Texas Tech. "It was a gigantic day for our program," said MSU coach Andy Cannizaro. "We had 31,000 people in the ballpark this weekend, which is the largest opening weekend crowd in Mississippi State baseball history. I thought that was pretty cool. Our guys really bounced back well tonight, picked up a lot of timely hits, defended it pretty well, and I'm really proud of our team."
 
Mississippi State gets come-from-behind win over No. 19 Texas Tech
If it's appropriate to take anything away from the opening weekend of the season, then Mississippi State showed it is an aggressive team at the plate and on the bases with an ability to mount a comeback. And all of that was enough to overcome some lackluster starting pitching that forced the bullpen to log 20 2/3 innings of the 38 total innings played over the four-game weekend. The best and latest example occurred Sunday night when the Bulldogs beat No. 19 Texas Tech 8-5 in a come-from-behind win at Dudy Noble Field. "Huge win for us tonight and a gigantic day for our program," coach Andy Cannizaro said. "Our guys really bounced back well tonight. We beat a nationally ranked team on a Sunday night after they beat us Friday night, which says a lot."
 
Hunter Stovall 'perfect' as nine-hole hitter for Mississippi State
Hunter Stovall first met Andy Cannizaro in Syracuse, New York, at an East Coast Pro showcase a few years ago at a time when Stovall was in high school and Cannizaro was a scout for the Yankees. The Mississippi State sophomore second baseman and graduate of Pelham High in Alabama was immediately impressed with the hands-on training he received then with Cannizaro as one of his coaches at the event. "I knew the guy wasn't a joke," Stovall said. "I knew he knew what he was talking about. There was no doubt in my mind that this guy right here wasn't just telling me something that wasn't going to work." That's why four days into Cannizaro's tenure as MSU's new baseball coach in November, Stovall didn't second-guess the former big-leaguer when Cannizaro offered an approach to avoid hitting balls in the air.
 
No. 3 Mississippi State moves closer to SEC regular-season women's basketball title
Victoria Vivians scored 25 points and No. 3 Mississippi State avoided an upset with a 72-67 victory over No. 23 Texas A&M on Sunday. The Aggies (19-8, 9-5 SEC) led by seven points in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs (27-1, 13-1) charged back, highlighted by Teaira McCowan's two field goals in the paint in the last 1:17. McCowan had 16 points for the Bulldogs A&M had a seven-point lead with seven minutes remaining, but Vivians scored 10 points the rest of the way to key the comeback. With the comeback victory, MSU locked up one of the top two seeds in the SEC Tournament that starts March 2 in Greenville, South Carolina.
 
Texas A&M women hold late lead, can't hold on against No. 3 Mississippi State
Mississippi State's Vic Schaefer had a memorable first victory at Reed Arena as a head coach, one his mentor, Gary Blair, wants to move forward from quickly, though it'll be tough. Schaefer, who graduated from Texas A&M in 1984, led his third-ranked Bulldogs to a thrilling 72-67 Southeastern Conference victory over the 23rd-ranked Aggies on Sunday. Mississippi State (27-1, 13-1) lost a seven-point lead in the first half, then a nine-point lead in the second half, but with the game in the balance, the Bulldogs rallied from a seven-point deficit to inch closer to the program's first league title. Mississippi State closed the game with a 13-2 run, taking a 68-67 lead with 1:17 left on a short jumper by Teaira McCowan.
 
Bulldogs take another top 25 opponent to the wire
There are only three Southeastern Conference teams ranked in the top 25 and Mississippi State has taken all of them to the wire. But the outcome for the Bulldogs continues to remain the same. After losing to No. 13 Kentucky by six and No. 21 South Carolina by four, MSU dropped a 57-52 decision to 15th-ranked Florida on Saturday. "We're the youngest team in the country and we're right there with nationally ranked teams," said MSU coach Ben Howland. "We just need a little more to get over the hump." Mississippi State continues its homestand with in-state rival Ole Miss Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
 
U. of Kentucky plans $4 million upgrade to men's basketball locker room
The University of Kentucky plans to spend about $4 million to upgrade the men's basketball program's practice locker room at the Joe Craft Center, according to a proposal approved by the UK Board of Trustees athletics committee early Friday. It was approved by the full board Friday afternoon. The upgrades will "renovate and improve the existing player locker and shower space, lounge area, and team meeting room into one multi-functional space," according to the proposal. It will also include a "supplementation and nutrition fueling station, as well as a hydration station." The project will be paid for by private donors, including a $1.5 million gift from UK alumnus Davis Marksbury. UK has legislative approval to spend up to $5 million but said the project will cost closer to $4 million. Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said the upgrade is part of a more comprehensive look at the 10-year-old Craft Center.
 
New Toomer's Oaks planted at Auburn
Charles Israel of Auburn stood on College Street with his 4-year-old daughter Anna, as they both watched one of the old Toomer's Oaks be uprooted on Saturday. The two live oaks on Toomer's Corner mean a lot to Israel. "I have an older son, and we came down here with him for the 2010 championship, and it's a fun place to be," he said. "I hope these [trees] work." The two oak trees on Toomer's Corner were replaced Saturday after the Magnolia Avenue tree was damaged by a fire late last year. Jochen Wiest damaged the tree by setting fire to the toilet paper hanging from the branches after Auburn defeated LSU in September. Davis Woodruff of Decatur was on his way to breakfast with his wife Lynn when they decided to take a moment to glare at the tree removal process. The Toomer's Oaks are a part of his family's tradition. "Our grandchildren love to come to the corner after games," he said.



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