Thursday, June 13, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State Merchandise Sales Increase
No matter who you pull for, you've probably heard that Mississippi State is headed back to Omaha for the College World Series. People love a winner, and Starkville businesses are seeing strong sales of Bulldog merchandise. Businesses, like The Lodge in Starkville, are getting requests faster than merchandise. "We started getting phone calls wanting shirts 10 minutes after we won the game and of course we're good, but we have to get them in a few days and the website is just full of orders so it's going to be very good for us," says John Hendricks. As Mississippi State's baseball team gears up for the college World Series, many fans are heading to local stores to purchase the latest merchandise.
Road To Omaha Show To Air Thursday, Friday
The Mississippi State baseball team has had one of its best seasons in recent memory. And for the Bulldogs, the journey isn't over. WCBI's Road to Omaha Special will look back on MSU's season and preview the Bulldogs' trip to Omaha, Neb. for the College World Series. The half-hour show will feature head coach John Cohen as well as State administration. Robby Donoho and Michelle Lowe will anchor the show, which will air Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14 on WCBI following the 6 p.m. newscasts.
Homebuilders, foresters optimistic about 2013
While there is still a long way to go to full recovery, two Mississippi industries -- homebuilding and forestry -- are expecting another bounce-back year in 2013. "There certainly is no housing boom going on," said Marty Milstead, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi. "Some of our members are very, very busy; some need more work. But, at least the trend is positive. Don't get me wrong -- we'll take it. We have been on the bottom, and on the bottom for a while." David Jones, assistant forest products professor with MSU's Extension Service, said in statement that all timber products follow housing starts, and he, too, is encouraged by increased mill activity. "Mills in Mississippi have increased production, and some that were offline are operational again," Jones said. "The expansions are a significant change from the last five years, when most reports were closures."
Minority Business Expo Slated For June 18th
A new policy from the Institutions of Higher Learning makes it easier for minority-owned businesses to land contracts with Mississippi universities. To help business owners navigate the paperwork and other requirements to land contracts, a minority business expo will be held next week in Oxford. It's being put on by the online business and it will provide a forum for minority business owners to meet with leaders from both Ole Miss and Mississippi State to see what opportunities are available for vendors. Organizers say this is the first time state universities have made such an effort.
MSU to honor donation for U.S. Grant Presidential Library
The Mississippi State University Libraries will honor Jorja Lynn of Holly Springs at 3 p.m. Thursday for her contribution to the campus-based Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. The ceremony will be held in the John Grisham Room of Mitchell Memorial Library, and Lynn will formally donate a Grant collection that belonged to her late husband, Michael Edward Lynn III. All are welcome to attend. The donation includes a number of Grant busts, lithographs, framed covers of Harper's Weekly magazines, framed mixed media and a variety of curios.
Mississippi State chooses Achille Messac
Achille Messac, a New York higher education administrator and faculty member, is Mississippi State University's new engineering dean. The appointment of to lead the university's James Worth Bagley College of Engineering is pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. He will be MSU's first African American dean.
MSU researchers get new Extension Service roles
Mississippi State University has named two researchers to Extension Service appointments at the Delta Research and Extension Center. Entomologist Jeff Gore and rice agronomist Tim Walker will divide their work between the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Extension Service. MAFES, the research arm of MSU's agriculture division, is funded separately from Extension, MSU's service branch.
Scientists studying cancer in dogs; could lead to new treatments in humans
A group of veterinarians at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine is working to better understand cancer in dogs, work that will likely also advance knowledge of human cancer. MSU scientists said there is little difference between cancerous tumors found in dogs and humans, and the opportunity to help both human and canine patients is growing. "The answers may be in blood platelets. We have a lot to gain by looking at platelets and how they influence cancer and healing," said Dr. Camillo Bulla, assistant professor in the college's Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine. "The platelet is very small, but it gives us a large picture. We hope to be able to find a tumor much sooner by taking a series of blood samples to look at platelet contents."
Plant Camp educates and entertains
After a week of "Growing Future Gardeners," Plant Camp will come to a close at Conger Park in Hernando this Friday. Reminiscent of an episode of "Avatar: The Last Airbender," the day camp explored the elements Earth, Wind, Fire and Water, in addition to learning about the Sun. A total of 28 children participated in a series of hands-on activities like creating worm bins, growing a hydroponic ivy plant, making compost and making sun print T-shirts. "Yesterday we made a dirt cake for snack time," said Dr. Joy Fox Anderson, the DeSoto County Coordinator of the Mississippi State University Agricultural Extension Office. "We used Oreos, chocolate pudding and whipped cream." The camp was sponsored by the MSU Agricultural Extension office and was made possible through volunteer efforts by the MSU Master Gardeners.
MSU hosts continuing education workshops for teachers
Teachers across the state may earn continuing education units through a series of professional development workshops being offered by Mississippi State's Center for Continuing Education. The one-day sessions for kindergarten-12th grade teachers are taking place June 18, 19, 26 and July 9 at the Hunter Henry Center on the university campus. The location is subject to change based on the numbers of registrants.
Continuing education units for teachers
Teachers across the state may earn continuing education units through a series of professional development workshops being offered by Mississippi State's Center for Continuing Education. The one-day sessions for K-12 grade teachers are taking place June 18, 19, 26 and July 9 at the Hunter Henry Center on the university campus. The location is subject to change based on the numbers of registrants. Workshop registration may be completed online at or by telephoning extension associate Ashley Fremin at 662-325-1457.
CSI Mississippi educates science teachers
Middle school science teachers from across the Magnolia State are in Oxford for a two-week program at Ole Miss. "Creative Science Through Inquiry," also known as "CSI Mississippi," is helping teachers learn more about the field of science. "We provide them with all of the equipment that they need...We also provide them with materials that they can take back into their classrooms- so that they can engage their students and get them excited about the sciences," stated Katie Echols, education coordinator for Mississippi EPSCOR project.
4-H members compete in district horse show
4-Hers from 21 counties put their horse knowledge to the test at the Northeast District 4-H Horse Show in Oktibbeha County on Wednesday. Through non-riding competitions, such as horse bowl, hippology, public speaking and team demonstrations, 4-Hers showcased a set of skills they gained from hitting the books instead of the arena. LaTrell Stokes, Oktibbeha County 4-H Family Consumer Science agent, said the non-riding competitions offered an opportunity for 4-Hers to cultivate social and leadership skills they would carry forth in future endeavors.
Starkville school board approves improvement bonds
The Starkville School District Board of Trustees Tuesday approved up to $9.95 million in spending power in which at least $2 million in no-interest loans will be used for various maintenance and repair projects. The bond does require a 3-mill levy, but SSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway said its impact on the tax base will be negligible because 6 mills will roll off the books in 2015. Previously, 2 mills were retired in 2010, he said. A special referendum could be called if a petition signed by 20 percent of qualified electors residing within SSD's boundaries is filed with the district by 6 p.m. July 9.
Moreland Defends Democratic Leaders
Former Starkville mayoral candidate Dan Moreland defends three Democratic leaders in Starkville who attended a fundraiser for him during his campaign. Aldermen Henry Vaughn and Roy Perkins and Alderman-Elect Lisa Wynn attended the May 19 event at Moreland's home where Gov. Phil Bryant was also a guest. In a letter to the Democratic Executive Committee, Moreland says the three were invited to meet the governor since they will have to work with statewide elected officials in their roles as city leaders. Democrat Parker Wiseman defeated Moreland in the general election.
GOP's Backdoor Embrace of Obamacare
The Republican Party, nationally and in Mississippi, has made sport of repudiating the federal health-care law. Since the Affordable Care Act passed and President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have attempted to repeal the law more than three dozen times. Lawmakers in Mississippi have made similar attempts, although most of the bills proffered never survived the committee process. Opposition to what Republicans call Obamacare is also the reason lawmakers have not reauthorized Medicaid or debated the merits of expanding the program in the state. Quietly, though, Republicans are looking for ways to accept parts of the federal law.
Tom Vilsack urges House to plow ahead on farm bill
Mindful of Democratic resistance, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday that "it is important for us to move forward" with the House farm bill, and a controversial $20 billion cut in food stamps is certain to be reduced in final talks with the Senate and White House. "A $20 billion reduction unacceptable, and I think at the end of the day, that is not what is going to be in the bill," Vilsack told POLITICO. "But at this point in time, we just want to get the bill through the House." Vilsack's comments came as angry liberals are pressing for a special Democratic caucus on the farm bill. And if Democrats were to bolt in large numbers, it would make it easier for House Republicans to pull down the measure and shift blame from their own divisions that have stalled action for the past year.
Boehner gives farm bill a push
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday said he would vote for the House farm bill as early whip counts showed the nearly $1 trillion measure might fall short. "Doing nothing means we get no changes in the nutrition programs, and as a result, I'm going to vote for a farm bill to make sure that the good work of the Agriculture Committee ... gets to a conference," Boehner said. The announcement came as a surprise because Boehner voted against the 2002 and 2008 farm bills and is lobbying to alter the dairy program in this year's version.
Dem unpacks grocery bags on House floor to describe hunger challenge
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) on Wednesday night unpacked a few bags of groceries on the House floor to demonstrate the paltry diet he'll live by for the next week. Johnson is taking the food stamp challenge, under which he and several other members will live on just $31.50 worth of food for a week. Johnson and other Democrats are taking the challenge to highlight cuts to food stamps that are being proposed in both the House and Senate farm bill.
Out-of-state spending likely swayed some state judge elections
Nonprofits and other interest groups spent more than $11.7 million in 10 high-profile state supreme court elections in 2012 and 2013, with more than a third of the money coming from outside state lines. Out-of-state influence likely helped decide races in North Carolina, Iowa and Mississippi, according to an investigation by The Center for Public Integrity. Improve Mississippi, funded heavily by a state physicians' political action committee, state business groups and the Washington-based American Tort Reform Association, reported spending $350,000 in support of Josiah Coleman in his supreme court race against Flip Phillips in a race that's nonpartisan. Coleman's other backer, the northern Virginia-based Law Enforcement Alliance of America, didn't disclose its donors or spending. Several observers in Mississippi, including former state supreme court justices, think that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is supplying the money that's behind the law enforcement group's ads.
Navistar losses increase as sales plunge
Truck and engine maker Navistar International Corp. on Monday posted a wider loss for its fiscal second quarter compared with a year ago, when it recorded a large income tax gain. Navistar also said its sales continued to decline, as demand decreased and the company kept losing market share as it transitions to a new emissions technology. Navistar began a cost-cutting drive in 2012 as its sales went into a slump. Navistar operates an assembly facility in West Point.
Gov. praises courage, work of Evers, civil rights activists
Civil rights leader Medgar Evers helped create a more inclusive and open Mississippi by increasing black voter registration, Gov. Phil Bryant said Wednesday during a service marking the 50th anniversary of Evers' assassination. A racially diverse crowd of more than 150 people gathered outside the Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson for speeches, gospel singing and the ringing of bells to remember the NAACP leader who was killed outside his home just after midnight on June 12, 1963. Evers was 37.
Potential, challenges vast, Jackson's young political leaders say
A half century after the assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers, Mississippi is a much different place. Jackson City Hall, built by slaves, is now occupied by an African-American mayor, and the newest members of the City Council include young African-American leaders. The civil rights movement thankfully changed the culture, said one of those young leaders, Ward 4 Councilman-elect De'Keither Stamps. Stamps said he believes Jackson has vast untapped potential. But challenges remain because of divisions along political or racial lines, he said.
Hispanic population rises in South Mississippi
According to figures released today by the Census Bureau, the Hispanic population on the Coast has gone up 6 percent between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2012. Numbers of Hispanics have risen in each coastal county. Mary Townsend, immigration specialist with the nonprofit El Pueblo (The Village) in Biloxi, said there are several reasons for the increase. "The weather is good, and the personality of the Coast is welcoming," she said. "More so than other parts of the state."
Census: Rural U.S. loses population for first time
Rural America is losing population for the first time ever, largely because of waning interest among baby boomers in moving to far-flung locations for retirement and recreation, according to new census estimates. Long weighed down by dwindling populations in farming and coal communities and the movement of young people to cities, rural counties are being hit by sputtering growth in retirement and recreation areas, once residential hot spots for baby boomers. Rural areas, which include manufacturing and farming as well as scenic retirement spots, have seen substantial movement of residents to urban areas before. But the changes are now coinciding with sharp declines in U.S. birth rates and an aging population, resulting in a first-ever annual loss.
White deaths outnumber births for first time
More white people died in the United States last year than were born, a surprising slump coming more than a decade before the Census Bureau says that the ranks of white Americans will likely drop with every passing year. Population estimates for 2012 released Thursday show what's known as a natural decrease -- a straightforward calculation of births minus deaths -- of about 12,400 people among the nation's 198 million non-Hispanic whites. Although the percentage is small, several demographers said they are not aware of another time in U.S. history -- not even during the Depression or wars -- when there was such shrinkage among the dominant racial group. No other group showed a similar falloff.
USM takes time out to remember Medgar Evers
Wednesday marked the 50th Anniversary of the death of the first Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP, Medgar Evers. In honor of the civil rights leader, The Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Southern Mississippi, took the time out to salute Evers and other brave Mississippians who stood up for what was right. "We have one of the largest civil rights collections, oral history collections, to be found in the South," said USM Oral History and Cultural Heritage Sound Engineer, Ross Walton. "It's exciting to me, and it's gratifying to see, you know, the importance that USM places on preserving these histories, and so it just makes me proud to be part of this program."
USM Federal Credit Union employee charged with embezzlement
A Forrest County grand jury has indicted a woman for allegedly embezzling more than $60,000 from the University of Southern Mississippi Federal Credit Union while she was employed there as a teller. Helen A. Fitzgerald, 55, was served her indictment last week. She was initially arrested on an embezzlement charge Dec. 12, by Hattiesburg Police Department officers.
CEO Magazine ranks Else School of Management at Millsaps in top tier of MBA programs in North America
The most recent issue of CEO Magazine has ranked the Else School of Management at Millsaps College in its top tier of North American M.B.A. programs. The Else School is the only Mississippi business school listed in the top tier, which includes 20 programs. Developed by the International Graduate Forum for CEO Magazine, the rankings are based on the quality of an M.B.A. program's in-class experience and teaching faculty. Smaller class sizes, student work experience, international diversity within the classroom, faculty to student ratios and faculty qualifications, both academic and professional, are important in the rankings.
Jackson County MGCCC program helps baby boomers update work skills
Statistics project the percentage of baby boomers in the workforce to grow to 25 percent by 2020, and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is offering them the updated training they need. MGCCC recognizes a need for some boomers to update their skills and earn new degrees and certificates to be hired. The college recently was one of 36 chosen to join the Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, a national effort to train 10,000 baby boomers for new jobs in health care, education and social service occupations. Carmen Walters, vice president of MGCCC's Jackson County campus, said the program helps provide "a valuable workforce with substantial work experience, knowledge and professional maturity," along with college credentials, to area businesses and industries.
Alabama Board of Trustees to vote on 2.7% tuition increase for in-state students
The University of Alabama Board of Trustees will vote Friday on a 2.7 percent tuition increase for in-state students and a 4.4 percent increase for out-of-state students, the smallest percentage increase seen in recent years. The proposed tuition hike is estimated to raise an additional $15,775,000 annually, according to a memo from the Financial Affairs office. The proposal, to be presented and voted on Thursday and Friday at the Board's meeting in Tuscaloosa, would set tuition at $4,725 per semester for in-state students for the upcoming fall semester, up from this year's $4,600. Out-of-state students would have to pay $11,975 per semester, a $500 increase.
U. of Alabama Board of Trustees to consider tuition hike
Tuition for University of Alabama students could increase nearly 3 percent for the 2013-14 academic school year. The board of trustees of the University of Alabama will consider raising tuition for each of the system's three campuses at its meeting Friday. If approved, it would be the sixth straight year of tuition increases at the UA main campus, UAB and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. University administrators and board members have cited cuts in state funding when raising tuition in recent years.
About 75 local students in U. of Alabama summer program
More than 75 Tuscaloosa city and county high school students have been accepted into this year's CollegeFirst program at the University of Alabama. CollegeFirst is a three-week summer enrichment program that prepares upcoming juniors and seniors to take Advanced Placement classes -- college-level courses -- at their schools. The program was created by the UA Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility. "Research has shown that students who take AP classes in high school are much more successful in college," said UA program coordinator Sarah Louise Smith. Smith said the program focuses mainly on math and science but that it offers pre-AP biology, chemistry, calculus and English.
Attorneys for Harvey Updyke file objection to $1M restitution request
The attorneys representing Harvey Updyke, the former Texas state trooper who poisoned Toomer's Oaks in Auburn, are in disagreement with the state on how their client should pay restitution. In a response filed Wednesday in Elmore County, attorneys Andrew Stanley and Margaret Young Brown objected to the state's motion that Updyke, who was released from jail on Monday after serving 76 days for poisoning the trees, pay approximately $1.042 million in restitution and requested that a hearing be scheduled on the matter. In the response, Stanley and Brown called the restitution proposed by the state to be "unduly excessive, burdensome, and will result in unjust enrichment for the victim, Auburn University."
U. of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton to retire
University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton announced Wednesday that he is retiring effective Nov. 15. Deaton, who was MU chancellor for nine years, will continue to serve as chancellor emeritus with a focus on the university's role in international development. Deaton said his decision to retire did not happen quickly, but in the "absence of any major crisis" he felt it was as good a time as any to step down. Deaton also said the university was situated in such a way that MU would be able to attract many outstanding candidates for his position. Deaton also will continue as chairman of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. President Barack Obama appointed Deaton chairman of the board in 2011 and last year reappointed him for a four-year term.
U. of Missouri storm-chasers seek out severe weather around Midwest
Trevor Rice looked at the neon shape moving across the screen of his cellphone. "It's beautiful," he said. The radar showed a storm bearing down on the plains of Oklahoma, near enough to encourage members of the Mizzou Storm Chase Team to pursue it. Seven members of the team, two cars and a case of Red Bull had left Columbia at 5 a.m. April 17 to track reports of tornadoes in the Lawton area in southwest Oklahoma. The team headed first to Oklahoma City and then down two-lane highways through small towns to Lawton, chasing two storms, which occurred one after the other. Back in Columbia, the base team kept an eye out for the best roads to take and continued monitoring the storms from the basement of the MU Agriculture Building.
Texas A&M's Century Tree scholarship funded by sale of saplings
At Texas A&M, money does grow on trees. Sort of. The Century Tree, one of the most beloved pieces of Aggie lore, officially has its own scholarship -- making it perhaps the first tree to hold such an honor. The $100,000 endowed scholarship was donated by Andy Duffie, a 1979 A&M graduate. The university announced the creation of The Century Tree President's Endowed Scholarship on Wednesday. Spokeswoman Monika Blackwell with the Texas A&M Foundation said the scholarship will pay out $5,000 per year starting in fall 2014. The scholarship will be merit-based and students competing for the award must score high on the SAT or ACT.
U. of Georgia researchers examine dog deaths for clues to human health
Spayed or neutered dogs live longer than intact dogs and small dogs live longer than big ones. Just why, though, isn't clear. Researchers at the University of Georgia are beginning to crack that mystery. Digging through dog death documents, they've come up with clues they hope can eventually reveal explanations of dog death and give insight into the maladies that kill humans. In their most recent published research, geneticist Daniel Promislow and veterinarian Kate Creevy found that the average lifespan for spayed or neutered dogs was 9.4 years. The average lifespan for intact dogs is just 7.9 years.
Arkansas Plans to Award More 2-Year Degrees
Arkansas education officials announced a plan Wednesday to award associate degrees to qualifying students who transferred from community colleges to universities but never got their diplomas. Almost half of Arkansas students who transfer from two-year schools to four-year schools don't complete enough credit hours for a bachelor's degree. But many do amass enough credit for an associate degree. Arkansas Higher Education Department Interim Director Shane Broadway said a $500,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation will enable the state to set up a system to evaluate student records from the state's community colleges and performances after the students transferred to universities. About 5,000 students transfer from community colleges to four-year schools each year in Arkansas. Some students start at community college to save money while taking lower-level classes before transferring to a university.
U. of South Alabama expands scholarship to Mississippians, other non-residents
The University of South Alabama is now extending enhanced scholarships to in- and out-of-area residents of up to $12,000 a year for tuition and are still available for 2013 high school graduates. The Mitchell-Mouton Scholarship Initiative is the result of the largest private gift in the history of Alabama higher education from Abraham "Abe" Mitchell and retiring USA President Gordon Moulton. The gift will generate a $50 million scholarship endowment that will support academic scholarships continually and is available for both resident and non-resident students. Currently, USA has about 15,000 students and more than 1,500 of those are from Mississippi. Students from George, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Perry and Stone counties receive in-state tuition rates and are eligible for these scholarships. Now, students from Mississippi outside these areas, as well as from other states nationwide, also can receive scholarships, which will help relieve out-of-state tuition costs.
UAB gun researcher gets boost from Sandy Hook parent as she nears crowdfunding goal
The University of Alabama at Birmingham scientist who took to the Internet to raise money for her gun policy research is about $3,000 away from her goal to raise $22,000. Some 248 backers, including the father of a Sandy Hook student who survived the December mass shooting, have together pledged $18,944 on a 'crowdfunding' website toward her goal of studying gun policy and gun culture. But, Bisakha Sen, associate professor in the UAB School of Health, has only three more days to meet the pledge or her web page on comes down and the fund-raising ends. "I've actually been blown away both by the response and the press coverage," Sen said.
Data Reveal a Rise in College Degrees Among Americans
The number of Americans graduating from college has surged in recent years, sending the share with a college degree to a new high, federal data shows. The surge follows more than two decades of slow growth in college completion, which caused the United States to fall behind other countries and led politicians from both parties, including President Obama, to raise alarms. The increases appear to be driven both by a sharp rise in college enrollment and by an improvement among colleges in graduating students. The trends could bring good news in future years, economists say, as more Americans become qualified for higher-paying jobs as the economy recovers.
AAUP Sees MOOCs as Spawning New Threats to Professors' Intellectual Property
Colleges broadly threaten faculty members' copyrights and academic freedom in claiming ownership of the massive open online courses their instructors have developed, Cary Nelson, a former president of the American Association of University Professors, argued here on Wednesday at the group's annual conference. In the meeting's opening address, Mr. Nelson characterized the debate at colleges over who owns the rights to faculty members' MOOCs as part of a broader battle over intellectual property that's being waged on America's campuses. At stake, he said, is not just the ability of faculty members to profit from their own writings or inventions, but the future of their profession. "If we lose the battle over intellectual property, it's over," Mr. Nelson warned. "Being a professor will no longer be a professional career or a professional identity," and faculty members will instead essentially find themselves working in "a service industry," he said.
Cutting the Guv some slack | Joe Rogers (Opinion)
Columnist Joe Rogers writes in The Clarion-Ledger: "I'm inclined to give Gov. Phil Bryant a slide on his comment about women in the workplace. That's partly because my charitable interpretation is that he did not intend to say working mothers are to blame for substandard literacy among children. Among his tangled words was the argument that assorted factors -- economic or otherwise -- decreasing the time available for parents to spend with their children are part of the overall education problem. I was surprised by his answer, however. Not by the inelegant delivery -- here's a man who apparently could stand toe-to-toe with Cliff Finch in that regard. But the fact is, before this latest instance Bryant had followed a more conventional pattern in his utterings."

Reality of Omaha trip has yet to sink in
Mississippi State's players were decked out in College World Series apparel on Wednesday, but it hadn't fully sunk in that they were going to Omaha. On Saturday, the No. 14-ranked Bulldogs (48-18) open CWS play at TD Ameritrade Park against No. 4 Oregon State (50-11), with a 2 p.m. scheduled first pitch. "We kind of decided on the bus on the way home that I don't think it's going to sink in until we walk on that field for the first time," pitcher Ben Bracewell said. "I guess the opening ceremonies, that's when it's really going to sink in, seeing all those people in the stands and all the other teams there."
Diamond Dogs prepare for ninth College World Series appearance
After sweeping the Virginia Cavaliers in the Charlottesville super regional last weekend, the Mississippi State Bulldogs returned to Starkville to begin preparation for this week's trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. MSU head coach John Cohen said Wednesday at his press conference that his squad has been preparing for their opening game against Oregon State, which will be played Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs also reviewed Indiana and Louisville, who are also in MSU's bracket, and have been considering the first few games in the CWS as a three-team regional.
F-U-N key part of Cohen's game plan for Bulldogs
After 22 years of coaching college baseball, Mississippi State University coach John Cohn spells w-i-n a different way: F-U-N. In past years, the word "grind" has been a key ingredient to the former All-Southeastern Conference player's approach on the field. Cohen, who played at MSU from 1988-90, always has taken a blue-collar mentality that has led some to believe his attitude caused his talented teams to play tight because they didn't want to experience a tirade by Cohen. This season, the 2013 MSU Bulldogs (48-18) have shown Cohen the importance of building team chemistry and enjoying their time at the ballpark and how that enables the team to play for its coach, not to spite him. MSU will get its next chance to play for Cohen and the rest of the coaching staff at 2 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 national seed Oregon State University (50-11).
Cohen builds blue-collar Bulldogs into winners
It's taken just five years for John Cohen to revitalize Mississippi State's baseball program and return the Bulldogs to championship contention. The journey hasn't been easy. But a remade roster constructed with Cohen's ideals of hustle, intensity and just enough talent have led the Bulldogs to the College World Series for the first time since 2007. It's only their second trip since 1998. This group of blue-collar Bulldogs also have a healthy sense of humor. "We're just 27 dumb guys," Mississippi State pitcher Luis Pollorena said. "But once you put us all together, you won't beat us."
SEC schedule prepared Mississippi State for postseason
All of the Mississippi State University baseball team's fans -- and even some of the Bulldogs' coaches -- complained about the program's Southeastern Conference schedule in 2013. Following MSU's 6-5 victory against No. 6 national seed University of Virginia on Monday in the NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional, MSU coach John Cohen admitted the SEC's most difficult slate prepared his club for the postseason. "Two years ago, I got our schedule for this (2013) season, and usually it doesn't matter, except we just got our 13th and 14th members of our league," Cohen said. "I said, 'My goodness.' (I knew we were) going to be playing the most difficult schedule in our league."
MSU players go from juco rags to CWS riches
When Brett Pirtle stood on the diamond at Panola College in Texas, the 10 players on the field nearly surpassed the number of fans in the stands. Halfway across the country, Alex Detz had the same experience at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif. "Coming from a junior college, there's 50 people at the game, tops," Detz said. "And they're all parents." Fast forward to late April this year, when Detz and Pirtle took the field in front of 14,562 fans at Dudy Noble Field. "It's something unreal. The first couple game of this year, it was difficult to get used to," Pirtle said. "But after one or two games it set in. It was easier to focus. I'd rather play in front of 14,000 instead of 15."
Pride of East Central heads to Omaha with Mississippi State
Mississippi State senior Trey Porter is the type of player that Gary and Bo Long hold up as the standard of what they expect in the East Central baseball program. Gary Long was Porter's head coach at East Central and Bo Long, who took over the East Central program this year, was an assistant coach during Porter's time there. Both men heaped praise this week on Porter, who also happens to be Gary Long's nephew and Bo Long's first cousin. "He's very unique," said Gary Long, who now is the athletic director at East Central. "He's the hardest worker I've ever seen. Plus, he's a 4.0 student. He's done it right. He's not taken any short cuts. He's a great character kid, that's for sure." As of Wednesday, both Gary and Bo Long were trying to work out the details on a trip to Omaha, Neb., to watch Porter and the rest of the Bulldogs compete in the College World Series.
Renfroe, Turner on All-American first team
Baseball America put out its All-American team Wednesday, and the first team included Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner. MSU closer Jonathan Holder made the second team. Renfroe, a junior who was selected by San Diego in the first round of the MLB Draft, is batting .360 with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs. The strong-armed right fielder also has six outfield assists. His Bulldogs open the College World Series on Saturday versus Oregon State.
Bulldogs have good chance at Omaha | Stan Caldwell (Opinion)
The Hattiesburg American's Stan Caldwell writes: "They called it a Bulldog-pile when Mississippi State celebrated its two-game sweep of Virginia earlier this week at the NCAA Super Regional. The celebration came with a sense of relief after the Bulldogs nearly choked away a three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning of the second game of the series. But all's well that ends well, and MSU closer Jonathan Holder got the final out to send State on its merry way to Omaha for the College World Series. State will go into Saturday's World Series opener against Oregon State with a 48-18 record that was forged against what most believe was one of the toughest schedules of any team in the country."
Stadium officials warn fans to stay off field in Omaha
Channeling his best Clint Eastwood, the head of the agency that operates the College World Series stadium issued a warning Wednesday to fans tempted to dash onto the field during play: "Get off my lawn." Roger Dixon, president of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, said security personnel have made it a priority this year to keep fans from disrupting games at TD Ameritrade Park. Officials for decades have winced at beach balls floating out of the stands onto the field. But they want to nip what has been an increasing number of fan-on-the-field incidents in recent years. The breaking point came last year when several young fans hopped the 8-foot outfield fence in the seventh inning of Game 1 of the finals. According to media reports, six people were ticketed, including a 17-year-old girl who patted the backsides of two players while grounds crew members and security personnel chased her.
Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama have strong academic showings
All of the athletic programs at Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Alabama exceeded the NCAA's baseline Academic Progress Rate level for the 2011-12 academic year, the NCAA announced Tuesday. Each of MSU's 16 athletic team scored above the NCAA's baseline Academic Progress Rate level for the 2011-12 academic year. A minimum four-year average score of 900, or 930 over the most recent two years, is required for postseason participation. The minimum required APR scores will increase to 930 for four years or 940 for two years, starting with the 2014-15 postseason. The cutoff is equivalent to a 50-percent graduation rate. The men's tennis team posted a perfect score of 1,000 during the 2011-12 reporting period to lead all sports and was recognized by the NCAA for earning a multi-year APR in the top 10 percent of teams around the nation with that mark.
U. of Florida University Athletic Association's approves 3.5 percent raises for its 325 employees
For the first time in four years, the University of Florida's athletic staff will get a raise. The University Athletic Association's board of directors on Wednesday approved a $100.5 million budget for 2013-14 -- 3.83 percent more than the current approved budget. The additional $3.6 million in expenditures includes a $2.6 million increase in salaries, a figure that includes guaranteed raises in several coaches' contracts and a 3.5 percent across-the-board increase for all 325 association employees. "This budget continues to allow us to run a first-class athletic program," said Jeremy Foley, UF's athletic director. "This is the first time in four years we are able to offer raises to our employees, consistent with what UF is doing."

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