Friday, February 5, 2016  SUBSCRIBE   
Reception welcomes new MSU-Meridian leader
Dr. Terry Dale Cruse formally rings in his new administration with the cowbell he received from MSU President Mark E. Keenum at his welcome reception at the MSU Riley Center Thursday. Cruse is the new administrative director and head of campus at MSU-Meridian. He is pictured with Rhonda Carr, director of the social work program at MSU-Meridian. The inscription on the cowbell reads "Ring Responsibly."
Having good internship 'really sets students apart in the eyes of employers'
College internships can land students in interesting places. And with two earlier internships under his belt, Mississippi State University electrical engineering student Hagan Walker landed an internship this past summer with Tesla, a California-based automotive and energy storage company that designs, manufactures, and sells electric cars, electric vehicle powertrain components and battery products. Walker, who recently graduated from MSU, recommends students start applying for internships early in their college career. Scott Maynard, director of the MSU Career Center, said internships and cooperative education are great ways to gain practical work experience. "It really sets students apart in the eyes of employers," Maynard said.
No records, but cattle markets offer promise
Beef cattle producers are not seeing the record high prices from a year ago, but strong export numbers are providing reasons to hope 2016 will be profitable. "Per capita consumption is predicted to be higher in 2016, beef production is expected to be up, and, most importantly, exports are projected to be significantly better than in 2015," said Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Brandi Karisch, an Extension beef cattle specialist, said cattle producers are missing the strong prices from a year ago.
'Strategic Doing' in focus during community leaders meeting
Many North Mississippi towns have issues that need to be addressed. But addressing them is another matter entirely. "And with those issues, one of the problems is there's no single organization or individual who is in charge of making that better," said Joseph Fratesi of the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University. So researchers at Purdue University in Indiana came up with an idea called Strategic Doing. It's what these leaders from North Mississippi were learning at the Idea Center in Tupelo this week. Mississippi State and the University of North Alabama sponsored the event.
It's My Job: Author and publisher Joe Lee, a Mississippi State alum
I'm Joe Lee and I'm owner and editor-in-chief of Dogwood Press in Brandon. I'm originally from Jackson and graduated from Starkville High School in 1983, and from Mississippi State University with a degree in communication with a radio/television emphasis in 1987. I launched Dogwood Press in 2002 with my first novel, the legal thriller "On The Record." I did so for two reasons: I was weary of searching for a literary agent and felt there would be an audience for the book, which is set at the Mississippi attorney general's office, and I envisioned publishing other Mississippi and regional writers as well as my own work.
Fire marshal: Smoke detectors saved Starkville renters' lives
Seven Mississippi State University students escaped a Wednesday morning blaze after smoke detectors woke up the structure's occupants. Without the warning, Starkville Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy said, those residents could have died. "There's no way they would have survived if they hadn't gone off. We want to remind owners of rental properties to keep up and maintain their smoke detectors. It's their responsibility. This story could have been tragic if they didn't work last night," he said. A smoke detector woke up an occupant, he said, and that person was able to wake up the other sleeping tenants.
Starkville Area Arts Council accepting applications this month for arts festival
The Starkville Area Arts Council will accept applications for April's Cotton District Arts Festival until Feb. 29. Entry categories include paintings, drawings, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculptures and mixed media. The CDAF draws crowds upward of 40,000 people each year from across the U.S. It was named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association, a Top 20 event in the Southeast and one of the Top 5 festivals in the state by Mississippi Magazine. Mississippi State University's Visual Arts Center Gallery, located at 808 University Drive, will host the final exhibit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 16, the day of the festival.
Reward offered after Starkville dog shot
Allen Robertson sat in the parking lot of Mississippi State University School of Veterinary Science's emergency clinic for hours last week as he decided what he might tell his four children and granddaughter about the family's dog, Ginger. Robertson, a Starkville resident, found Ginger critically wounded near his home. After rushing her to MSU, staff determined the 4-year-old dog had been shot multiple times in the face with a shotgun. Three pellets struck her beneath the eye, penetrating her brain. An additional 32 pellets were found in the back of her head and across her back. Eventually, Robertson and MSU staff decided to end Ginger's pain through euthanization. Now Robertson has partnered with two organizations in announcing a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever shot Ginger.
Borrowing, tax breaks approved for tire plant, shipyard
Mississippi lawmakers have agreed to borrow $274 million and provide millions in tax breaks to land a tire plant in Hinds County and a shipyard in Gulfport expected to create a combined 3,500 jobs. Continental Tire the Americas plans to begin in January 2018 building a $1.45 billion, 5 million-square-foot plant to make industrial tires. As part of its deal with the state, the plant off Interstate 20 between Clinton and Bolton will employ 500 people by the time it opens in 2019 and 2,500 people by 2028. "This has been a long, but successful journey, two years in the making," Bryant said Thursday of the tire plant deal. "...Continental is telling us this will be the center of Continental's universe. This will be the plant they bring their customers to see."
Mississippi lawmakers pass aid for tire plant, shipyard
Mississippi lawmakers on Thursday approved hundreds of millions of dollars of state money and incentives for a tire plant in western Hinds County and a shipyard in Gulfport. "This is a day that Mississippians who desire economic opportunity should rejoice over," said Mississippi Development Authority Director Glenn McCullough, minutes after state senators gave final approval to the package. A handful of lawmakers questioned the tax breaks, as well as the speed with which the package was moved through the Legislature in a 196-page bill. "Is there any amount of money we will not pay someone to come and put something in Mississippi?" asked Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory. Bryan voted for the bill, saying he didn't want to undermine the governor.
McCullough plays key role luring companies to state
When Glenn McCullough took over as the head of the Mississippi Development Authority in June, Project Potter was well under way. On Thursday, McCullough stood on the Senate floor accepting congratulations after the Legislature had approved a $254 million bond project to lure German tire manufacturer Continental (Project Potter) to Hinds County and Louisiana shipbuilder Chouest (Project Crawfish) to the Port of Gulfport. McCullough, the former Tupelo mayor, was quick to give credit for the economic development projects to the MDA staff, local economic developments and Gov. Phil Bryant, who appointed him MDA executive director. Bryant gave credit to the 61-year-old McCullough for pushing the projects to fruition.
Continental expands Mississippi's automotive footprint
Continental Tire coming to Mississippi would give the Magnolia State three large tire manufacturing operations -- a Yokohama Tire Corp. plant near West Point, a Cooper Tire plant in Tupelo and the new Hinds County operation. Many financial observers have noted that the tire production industry has been moving from Ohio and other areas to the Deep South, similar to the move the automotive industry has made over the last couple of decades. South Carolina, in particular, has seen a burgeoning tire production industry bring billions in investment and create thousands of jobs. In 2013, the Mississippi Legislature passed a $130 million incentives package to help land a Yokohama plant near West Point. The plant created 500 jobs initially when it opened last year and is expected to create up to 2,000 jobs over four phases of planned expansion.
Welding students excited to learn 1,000 shipyard jobs coming to Gulfport
One thousand new shipyard jobs at Topship Shipyard is big news, not only for craftsmen currently looking for employment, but also for students at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. When Jason Barker moved to the Coast, he decided to also make a career move and enrolled in MGCCC's welding program. He says learning 1,000 shipyard jobs are coming to the area affirmed his decision. "It made my hopes high and broadened my horizons knowing that there are jobs for me waiting on me when I graduate," said Barker. College officials say Mississippi can't convince new industries to locate to the state without providing an eager and capable workforce. "Again when we talk to the governor and MDA, we realize what the needs are, the kinds of industries that they're trying to recruit," said MGCCC President Dr. Mary Graham.
Small Mississippi Farmers Look To Legislators For Support
A group of small farmers from the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network gathered at the Capitol yesterday to meet with legislators, and raise awareness of buying local agriculture. Will Reed owns a farm in Tupelo, where he grows a variety of fresh vegetables. He says the current health crisis in Mississippi should be reason enough for people to buy from local farmers. Marshall Bartlett, another North Mississippi farmer, says buying from small markets could help keep Mississippi dollars in the state. That is a concept Republican State Senator Gray Tollison of Oxford agrees with. He says small farms are still a vital part of the state's economy.
Gallup: New Hampshire the least-religious state
New Hampshire is now the least-religious state in the country, according to Gallup's 2015 state-by-state-analysis released Thursday, five days before voters in both parties make their pick in the presidential primary. Based on the percentage of those describing themselves as very religious, 20 percent in New Hampshire said they were, slightly lower than the 22 percent who described themselves as such in Vermont, the home state of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. The most religious state, meanwhile, is Mississippi, at 63 percent. Alabama comes in second with 57 percent, followed by Utah at 55 percent and a host of southern states in the mid-to-low 50-percent range.
Economy added 151,000 jobs in January; unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percent
Hiring in America slowed down in January, with government data released Friday showing the economy added 151,000 jobs -- less than the blockbuster growth of recent months but enough to keep the recovery on solid ground. The data also showed a 2.5 percent spike in wages over the past year, an encouraging sign that the strength in the labor market might finally be translating into bigger paychecks. The unemployment rate also dipped to 4.9 percent, inching closer to what many economists believe is its lowest sustainable level. Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp., said January's job growth indicates the slow and steady expansion since the Great Recession remains on track. "The economy continues to muddle along, even though now and again it's prone to a misstep," he said.
Japan the focus of events at Mississippi University for Women
Mississippi University for Women's 2016 International Series will begin its focus on Japan with Tadaharu Yamamoto, president of Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, presenting the talk "Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi and Cross-Cultural Communication." The event will begin at 7 p.m. Monday in Cochran Hall. The second series event will feature Chieko Iwata, Mississippi State University Japan outreach coordinator, who will teach participants how to don and wear kimonos. The demonstration will be Tuesday, March 1 at 7 p.m., also in Cochran Hall. The series will conclude with "Ma: The Complexity of Nothing," a talk on Japanese aesthetics by W student Ashley Morgan, who studied abroad at Aichi Shukutoku University near Nagoya, Japan.
UM class featuring Game of Thrones popular
A University of Mississippi professor is using Game of Thrones to teach medieval literature this spring. Whether the students are die-hard fans of the show or taking it as a requirement to graduate, Professor Mary Hayes' approach to the series keeps it interesting. Ole Miss student Alicia Dixon said, "It makes it more interesting for sure." Dixon had never watched the series until she had to for homework, but comparing the series with medieval texts has already given Dixon a broader view on the class. Hayes said although the series can be compared to a medieval reality television show in some aspects, it gives students a chance to understand the medieval period on its own terms.
Southern Miss to Host Annual Economic Outlook Forum on Feb. 11
Economic Outlook 2016 forum set for Thursday, Feb. 11 at the Thad Cochran Center on The University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus. Hosted by the Southern Miss College of Business and the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, the event will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The First Bank of Hattiesburg is serving as the title sponsor. "This forum provides an opportunity for our region to review economic data from the past year and to look forward for projections for this year," said Dr. Faye Gilbert, dean of the University's College of Business.
USM-Gulf Park men wear high heels to raise awareness about human trafficking
On Thursday, nine male professors and students at the University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Park put on pumps and strappy sandals to spotlight what many call modern day slavery. It was a fun event with a serious message as two campus organizations hosted "Stallions in Stilettos" to raise awareness about human trafficking and domestic violence. "We wanted the guys to see from a woman's point of view," said Mary Maner, Vice President of the Women's Gender Studies Student Organization. "So our motto is, 'Take a walk in our shoes and see how we feel.'"
Meridian Community College Foundation kicks off tuition guarantee drive
Members of the board of directors the Meridian Community College Foundation took to the dance floor Tuesday to kick off their annual fundraiser for the college's Tuition Guarantee Program. The college's show choir wowed the crowd singing and dancing to Dobie Gray's song "The In Crowd." MCC Foundation Executive Director Kathy Brookshire said the song was chosen to honor this year's team captain David Quave, a 1963 graduate of what was then Meridian Junior College. "Every year I have two team captains, but this year I wanted to honor Mr. Quave for his generous donation last year of $1 million in support of MCC students," Brookshire said. "His donation is thought to be the largest sum ever provided to MCC by a single individual."
Students gain fashion sense, jobs program at Hinds Community College's Utica campus
The Clothing and Fashion Design technical program at Hinds Community College's Utica Campus is helping students achieve personal and employment goals. Program participants learn to create fashions for themselves and family members while preparing to enter the work force. The Clothing and Fashion Design program was originally started in 1969 under the name of Clothing and Textile at Utica Junior College which merged with Hinds Community College. After 45 years under the old program title, the programs name was changed in 2014 to Clothing and Fashion Design and remained at the Utica Campus. Shricker Johnson entered the program because of her daughters. She says finding the latest fashions at the right prices had to become a talent when her children developed their own tastes in clothes.
University Boulevard plan set for vote by U. of Alabama board of trustees
The University of Alabama System board of trustees will consider revised plans for a repaving project along University Boulevard on the east side of the UA campus and a new adaptive athletic facility when it meets Friday. The trustees' physical properties committee approved the resolutions on Thursday. The full board will consider agenda items approved in committee today. The project's budget would increase from $926,000 to $11.3 million. The project would be funded with $8.6 million in grants from the Alabama Department of Transportation and $2.7 million from UA. "This sucker will be a traffic problem," said trustee James Wilson III, the committee chairman, noting an anticipated detour during the work. "But it is a definite upgrade we will be proud of. We will use it as an entrance way and something exciting for the visual aspect of the university."
Committee approves adaptive athletic facility at U. of Alabama
The Physical Properties Committee of the University of Alabama System board of trustees on Thursday approved a project budget of $10 million for an adaptive athletic facility on the south side of the Student Recreation Center. The facility would be 27,036 square feet, including a 11,500-square-foot gym, a lobby and concourse, office suite, locker rooms, and weight and workout rooms. The gym includes an NCAA-sized basketball court and seating for 500. The adaptive athletics facility will provide competition space for the men's and women's wheelchair basketball teams, said Tim Leopard, associate vice president for construction at UA. The facility will also have locker, training, storage and office space for the other adaptive programs' coaches and students.
Auburn University unveils $1M supercomputer
Auburn University researchers, faculty and administrators piled into one of the most secure facilities on campus Thursday for the unveiling of the university's $1 million supercomputer. The computer, named Hopper in honor of the late Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, brought together 30 research groups on campus and is expected to draw top-notch researchers to Auburn. "This is a piece of equipment that I think is going to be of great value to the research community, and we hope it exceeds that community's expectations," said Bliss Bailey, interim CIO of the university. The process of bringing a high-performance computing system in a high-performance facility -- one that John Liu, Auburn University associate provost and associate vice president for research, said is energy-efficient, secure and reliable -- began several years ago with a smaller computing cluster.
U. of Tennessee students, faculty, staff to hold rally to protest lawmakers' 'attack' on university
The words "Our university is under attack" top posters prepared for a rally today on the University of Tennessee campus. At the bottom of the posters, a shark chases a creature. The shark is labeled, "Them. Governor & Legislature." The prey: "Us. If we do nothing." Since the legislative session started, a variety of bills related to UT have been filed in Nashville, and Gov. Bill Haslam and others continue to move forward with a plan to privatize maintenance and management of state-owned buildings, including the UT campus. The rally is in protest of the outsourcing as well as proposed cuts to diversity and sustainability programs and funding at UT.
U. of Tennessee administrators, diversity coalition meet, review demands
In chairs and on the floor, they filled the space outside a meeting room at the University of Tennessee's Frieson Black Cultural Center. The roughly 70 people were gathered for a teach-in led by members of the UT Diversity Matters coalition. One-by-one, the group of mostly students offered examples of privilege and oppression, giving their first names and preferred pronouns. Behind the crowd and behind closed doors, a smaller, more emotional meeting was happening. UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek called the meeting a positive "beginning dialogue," but students in the smaller meeting outside left as disappointed as they were after the first attempt at meeting with Cheek fell through days earlier.
Thomas Galligan new LSU Law Center chief
The next leader of LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center will be Thomas Galligan Jr., who serves as president of Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire and will be returning to Baton Rouge after having taught at the campus 18 years ago. Galligan was named dean of the LSU Law Center on Thursday and will start July 1. He was one of two finalists who visited Baton Rouge to meet with faculty, students, alumni and members of a search committee last week to interview for the job. "We are pleased to bring Thomas Galligan back to LSU as the dean of the LSU Law Center," LSU President F. King Alexander said in a statement. Former Chancellor Jack Weiss stepped down in July amid a bout of conflicts with faculty, some of whom were calling for his ouster.
Louisiana school vouchers cripple academic achievement, national report says
One of former Gov. Bobby Jindal's signature education laws is actually hurting student achievement, according to a national report that is sparking controversy. Louisiana students who get state-financed vouchers to attend private schools suffer more academically than if they had remained in a troubled public school, says a review done for the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The one-year study says achievement drops showed up in math, reading, science and social studies for students enrolled in what is officially called the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
Kentucky budget chief: Governor flexible on cuts, universities' projects
Kentucky's public universities might get flexibility to spread mandated budget cuts over 30 months and could win approval for construction projects in the two-year state budget under review by lawmakers. That was the news from state budget director John Chilton, who appeared before the legislature's post-secondary budget subcommittee Thursday to discuss Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget. That proposal includes a 4.5 percent spending cut in this fiscal year, then a 9 percent cut over the next two years. Most state agencies face similar cuts, Bevin said, in order to deal with the state's burgeoning pension crisis. Chilton also appeared to back off from some of Bevin's comments on liberal arts education.
Murder-suicide prompted changes in U. of South Carolina's campus security | The State
One year after a murder-suicide at USC's Arnold School of Public Health, university officials are confident the campus community is better equipped in case of a similar incident, spokesman Wes Hickman said. Many University of South Carolina buildings have been made more secure, more emergency management staff has been added to operate the alert systems, and USC quickly got rid of a limit to the number of emails it could send to students over the course of an hour, Hickman said. The USC community was thrown into panic last Feb. 5 after some students received text and computer alerts of gunfire at the school. In a lab inside the downtown Columbia building, USC professor Raja Fayad, 45, had been shot and killed by his ex-wife, Sunghee Kwon, 46. She then shot and killed herself. But to concerned parents and many in the campus community, it was unclear for hours whether any students were involved in the incident.
State auditor to begin performance review of U. of Missouri System operations
State Auditor Nicole Galloway will audit University of Missouri System spending and policies as part of an expanded look at higher education and how state and institution decisions impact the tuition and other fees paid by students. Galloway told an editors and publishers meeting in Jefferson City of her plans to audit the UM System, a decision that comes as lawmakers consider a bill requiring her office to audit the entire university system on an annual basis. Galloway has the authority to audit colleges and universities, but the office has not included the state schools on a regular schedule. In a statement, interim UM President Mike Middleton said the university welcomes the review and wants to be open and transparent in its operations.
Concerned Student 1950 members interrupt U. of Missouri curators to show support for Click
About two dozen demonstrators representing the Concerned Student 1950 group interrupted the University of Missouri Board of Curators meeting Thursday afternoon by reading the demands they gave school officials last fall and making statements in support of suspended Assistant Professor Melissa Click. Curators Chair Pamela Henrickson tried futilely a few times to gavel them into silence, then gave up as she and the other curators on hand listened, mostly in silence. "If we don't get it, shut it down," the students shouted after the demands, which included calls for increasing the share of black faculty members to 10 percent by the 2017-18 school year and a 10-year strategic plan due May 1 to "increase retention rates for marginalized students, sustain diversity curriculum and training and promote a more safe and inclusive campus."
Young Democrats Flock to Bernie Sanders, Spurning Hillary Clinton's Polish and Poise
Bernie Sanders is 74. He grew up playing stickball in the streets of Brooklyn and watching a black-and-white television. Yet this child of the 1940s, who says Franklin D. Roosevelt is his favorite president, has inspired a potent political movement among young people today. College students wear shaggy white "Bernie" wigs on campus, carry iPhones with his image as their screen saver and flock to his events by the thousands. And armies of young voters are turning what seemed like a long-shot presidential candidacy into a surprisingly competitive campaign. In interviews, young supporters of the Vermont senator's presidential bid almost all offer some version of the same response when asked why they like him: He seems sincere. The first group of students working to elect Mr. Sanders president sprang up at Middlebury College in Vermont. There are now similar chapters at more than 220 campuses across the country, with the biggest one at the University of California at Berkeley.
'It's Terrifying to Do Something Like This': Ex-Sorority Member Broadcasts Concerns About Greek Life
A Syracuse University senior, Alex Purdy, didn't know what to expect when she released a four-minute video explaining why she had left her sorority. In the video, Ms. Purdy describes becoming disillusioned with the sorority she joined as she observed members casually criticizing one another because of their weight and appearance. She then calls for a larger discussion of sorority life under the hashtag #sororityrevamp. The video has drawn more than 60,000 views in eight days and has attracted a fresh wave of scrutiny to organizations long criticized by some in academe as elitist and exclusionary. The Chronicle spoke with Ms. Purdy to learn more about the catalyst for the video, the reaction to it, and what's next.
Report finds poor job market for history Ph.D.s
New data from the American Historical Association add to the bad news for academic job seekers in the humanities. The number of job postings the AHA received in 2014-15 was down 8 percent from the prior year. This is the third straight year for which the association is reporting a decline. Job listings are down 45 percent from the 1,064 that the association reported in 2011-12. Not all faculty jobs are listed with disciplinary associations, but many are, and most experts on the academic job market believe that the ups and downs of disciplinary association listings are a reliable barometer of the market as a whole. In history, the situation may be especially challenging for new Ph.D.s, because their numbers have continued to grow as the market has become so tight.
Sexual assault allegation shakes student conduct group
The president-elect of the Association for Student Conduct Administration published an open letter on Twitter Wednesday evening, the first night of the organization's annual conference, in which she says she was sexually assaulted by its former president-elect and that the ASCA "has not had my back" in the incident's aftermath. In the letter, Jill Creighton, assistant director of global community standards at New York University, said Jason Casares, who had stepped down a day earlier, "took advantage of me after I had had too much to drink" at the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors December convention in Fort Worth, Tex. "I did not consent to sexual contact with Jason."

No. 11 Bulldogs defeat LSU in SEC road contest
Victoria Vivians led the way with 14 points and No. 11 Mississippi State used a smothering defense to shut down LSU 71-52 in a Southeastern Conference women's basketball game played Thursday night at Maravich Assembly Center. MSU improved to 20-4 overall and 7-3 in league play with its third straight win. The Bulldogs remain tied with Florida for second place in the conference standings with six league games remaining. Morgan William added 11 points and Dominique Dillingham added 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Offensive lull sinks LSU in blowout loss to Mississippi State
LSU's offense was efficient enough in the first and fourth quarters Thursday night. The problem was what happened in between them. After hanging around during the opening period, the Lady Tigers couldn't keep up with No. 11 Mississippi State in a 71-52 loss in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU (8-15, 2-7 Southeastern) scored only 16 points during the first and second quarters combined as the Lady Bulldogs (20-4, 7-3 SEC) built an insurmountable lead. "In the first quarter we were able to come out and show we could play with one of the best teams in the country," LSU coach Nikki Fargas said. "But it's a 40-minute game, and that level of intensity and focus has to be maintained for the entire game."
Weatherspoon's rebounding takes off for Bulldogs in SEC play
Ben Howland didn't want Quinndary Weatherspoon to rebound on the offensive end when he first arrived on campus. The Mississippi State coach's philosophy is to have just three players crash the offensive boards, leaving the point guard and shooting guard the duty of getting back on defense. When Weatherspoon was playing one of the guard positions, he wasn't allowed to rebound. That changed quickly when Howland realized how good Weatherspoon was at crashing the offensive boards. Since Weatherspoon made the move to power forward, his rebounding ability has shined. Weatherspoon and the Bulldogs (9-12, 2-7 Southeastern Conference) travel to LSU (14-8, 7-2) 5 p.m. (ESPN2) Saturday for a showdown in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Zuppardo's strange journey to Starkville
Johnny Zuppardo's journey to Mississippi State has been a long and winding one. The Bulldogs are the fourth team Zuppardo has played for during his college career. The 6-foot-8, 226-pounder from Bay St. Louis spent a year each at Arkansas State, Southern Miss and Jones County Junior College before arriving in Starkville. "It's been a long road but it has been a good experience for me to learn from a lot of different coaches," Zuppardo said. "I've seen a lot of different things and it has exposed me to the world. I've been able to see what's really out there. It's been good to go through what I have been through because it's made me a better person."
Mississippi State's system: Transforming 3-star talent to NFL players
A pattern formed within Mississippi State's Twitter timeline during national signing day on Wednesday. Within the updates of new signees appeared retweets from NFL players. Each congratulated the members of the class and relived their highlights from their time in Starkville. Most also shared a similar signing day experience. They were overlooked. "OK y'all worried about recruiting and stars remember Me (Darius) Slay and Dak (Prescott) were 2 and 3 stars," former MSU corner and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Johnthan Banks tweeted. Dan Mullen's track record allows for a safe assumption that at least a couple of those three-star players that no one is talking about will be heard from in the Southeastern Conference and beyond.
Smith named full-time SOCSD athletic director
The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees unanimously appointed part-time athletic director Milton Smith to a full-time role Wednesday after multiple closed-door meetings this week. Smith, who was also serving as a part-time Starkville High School principal, will transition immediately to his full-time job. Before appointing Smith, the SOCSD Board of Trustees unanimously rescinded a motion advertising for the job. The board cited personnel matters and potential litigation before moving to closed session but did not address the possible litigation in regular session. School board members would not comment about if the two matters were connected.
Several USM coaches will not return
Southern Miss' transition process continued Thursday, when new head coach Jay Hopson did not retain several members of the Golden Eagle coaching staff. Tight ends coach Jon Williams, defensive line coach Justin Roberts and recruiting coordinator Dayne Brown were each informed Thursday morning of the moves. On Wednesday, Southern Miss running backs coach John Simon left the program to become wide receivers coach at Louisiana-Lafayette. Late Thursday, the Hattiesburg American confirmed Hopson will retain offensive coordinator John Wozniak and cornerbacks coach Lytrel Pollard. It is unclear whether Wozniak and Pollard will remain in those roles.
Super Bowl No-Fly Zone for Drones Extends Way Beyond the Game
Federal aviation authorities are banning drone flights in much of the Bay Area on Super Bowl Sunday in an effort to prevent potential security scares during the big game. The Federal Aviation Administration is prohibiting any aircraft from flying below about 18,000 feet within roughly 36 miles of Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., where the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos are set to play the Super Bowl on Sunday. The restricted area stretches to downtown San Francisco, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, Calif., covering all of Silicon Valley -- and one of the densest concentrations of drone users in the U.S. The ban is far larger --- and longer in duration -- than the FAA's roughly 3.5-mile, 5-hour flight ban around professional football games.

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