Monday, February 17, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Theatre MSU production looks back at race relations
In observance of Black History Month, Theatre MSU will present "...And the Rain Came to Mayfield" Feb. 27 through March 1. The drama set in the fictional town of Mayfield, Mississippi, in 1962 begins at 7:30 p.m. nightly in McComas Hall on the Starkville campus. Admission is $10. On the first day of the play's run, Congressional Gold Medal recipient Dr. Ernest Green will deliver a keynote address at 2 p.m. in the Colvard Student Union Ballroom. Director Dr. Donna Clevinger collaborated with WMSV 91.1 FM Station Manager Steve Ellis to select music to enhance the production. Songs by artists including Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas and Marvin Gaye will add authenticity and emotion to the story.
Higher education briefs: Lawmakers to recognize honorees
Student Association President Michael Hogan and Mississippi State mathematics instructor Kim Walters are MSU's 2014 HEADWAE student and faculty honorees. An acronym for Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence, the program has been held since 1987. Administered by the state College Board, the event annually recognizes individuals on campuses "who have made outstanding contributions in promoting academic excellence." A faculty member since 1995, Walters was selected in 2010 for the MSU State Pride Faculty Award and, in 2013, the John Grisham Master Teacher Award.
Field day focuses on farmers and schools
Fruit and vegetable growers can learn how to supply local schools with produce during a Feb. 21 field day at the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Demonstration Farm in Holmes County. Experts from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and partner organizations will walk farmers through the process required to sell their produce to schools. University of Mississippi Law School faculty and staff will offer confidential session with farmers on business advice.
Whalen honored with Mississippi consultants scholarship
Adam Whalen, a graduate student at Mississippi State University, has been awarded the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association's Outstanding Agriculture Student scholarship for 2014. "We had a number of outstanding candidates," says Clarksdale, Miss., consultant Bill Pellum, who announced the award at the organization's annual conference at Mississippi State University, "but Adam was a real standout. We believe he has a bright future in agriculture."
Mississippi State program aimed at landowners
Mississippi farmers and landowners have three opportunities to find out about the costs and benefits of implementing sustainable woodland management practices during a Lunch and Learn program available through the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Steps Toward Woodland Certification is offered from noon to 1 p.m. via webinar on Feb. 21 and 26, or through interactive video on March 4. There is no cost to attend, but preregistration is required.
Researchers looking at sugarcane hybrid as possible biofuel
A Mississippi State University professor says this winter is an excellent test for a sugarcane hybrid developed in Louisiana as a potential biofuel crop. Starkville is among six spots where hybrids dubbed "energycane" are being tested to see how much cold they can take. Brian Baldwin is keeping an eye on 300 plants from 74 strains developed at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Station in Houma. He says the last two winters were so warm that all 300 grew back, but he expects to see big differences this spring.
Anderson Regional Medical Center announces new board member
Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian is proud to announce the addition of David Vowell to its board of directors. Vowell brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ARMC. Along with his father and brother, he established Triple V, Inc. (Grocery Retail Group), where he worked for 22 years. Vowell currently serves as president of the Community Development Partnership in Philadelphia. Vowell is a graduate of Noxapater High School. He went on to receive a bachelor of science degree in math education and physical education from Mississippi State University. He also received a master's degree in secondary school administration from MSU.
House, Senate pass individual school consolidation bill substitutes
One area lawmaker says he will fight for an amendment naming Starkville School District Superintendent Lewis Holloway the county school system's conservator a year ahead of schedule after lawmakers passed two bill substitutes Thursday that stripped out the provision from original legislation. Both the Mississippi House and Senate approved substitutes that, once finalized and signed by Gov. Phil Bryant, will alter state code pertaining to 2015's state-mandated consolidation of Oktibbeha County School District and SSD. As representatives line up for a debate over Holloway's early appointment, lawmakers are also expected to address a Mississippi State University funding request that would help finance a dynamic partnership with the consolidated school system.
County administrator interviews set for Monday
Supervisors will continue their search for a new county administrator Monday by interviewing five finalists but it is unknown if the board will either make a selection or continue narrowing the field. The board meets 9 a.m. at the county courthouse. Supervisors narrowed the candidate pool to five finalists in February: Oktibbeha County Comptroller Emily Garrard, Union County Administrator Terry Johnson, former Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill, Adcare Healthcare Regional Vice President John Thomas and Ivory Williams, Jackson's former deputy housing and community development director.
Myles hopes to remain on Starkville school board
Starkville School District Board of Trustees President Eddie Myles will submit his letter of intent to again serve on the city school board today and is expected to plead his case for reappointment to aldermen Tuesday. Myles, who has served on the school board for about a decade, says he wants to hold his seat despite missing a city-issued deadline for such notifications this month. Mayor Parker Wiseman said he will issue a directive to amend the Tuesday meeting's agenda to include interviews for Myles and Juliette Weaver-Reese, the only resident who submitted a letter of intent, provided Myles follows through with delivering his letter.
Starkville High principal Fennell leaving for Jackson State job
Starkville High School Principal Keith Fennell will leave his position for a job as Jackson State University's director of student academic services, school officials announced Thursday. Fennell's last day as SHS leader is Feb. 28. SSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway is expected to name an interim principal during Tuesday's 6 p.m. school board meeting at the Greensboro Center. The interim is expected to serve for the remainder of the academic year.
Mississippi's Robert Scribner wins 2014 Mercedes Half Marathon
Robert Scribner of Starkville, Miss., won Sunday's 2014 Mercedes Half Marathon with a finish time of 1:05:26. Coming into the race, Scribner wasn't sure what to expect. Scribner, 28, said he considered the Mercedes run as the first "real" one of his season and was, therefore, not sure of how he'd feel on the course. "The conditions were perfect today," he said. "It was a great day to race." Scribner said that the race began to take a on a different complexion at around the nine-mile mark, when another runner made his move. Scribner said that it's important to know how to respond to such a situation.
Back to basics: Starkville couple's center teaches sustainability
Sometimes, all it takes is a little push to get you where you're supposed to be in your life. In the case of Alison and Mike Buehler, that push was a 5,000-square-foot mess of a house in Starkville. Alison, a special education major with a doctorate in educational administration, and Mike were living in Knoxville, Tenn., where he was doing his residency in radiology. They knew as soon as Mike got ready to practice on his own, they would need to get close to family so they'd have help raising their young children. They chose Starkville because Mike's parents live here and it is a university town.
Tax rebates debate: Critics question them in face of other needs
One of Mississippi's newest business incentive programs has been active in its first year and has become a centerpiece in recent political skirmishes over the state's overall program of industry handouts and their effect on revenue. The Mississippi Development Authority has committed almost $160 million as part of the tourism sales tax rebate that applies to "cultural retail attractions" like the Pearl outlet mall. To go with that project, whose rebates for developers will total about $24 million, outlets in Southaven ($33 million) and D'Iberville ($96 million) and a hotel in downtown Jackson have been certified for the rebates.
Lawmakers choose small increase in financial aid
The leaders of Mississippi's universities and community colleges had plans for a major overhaul of state-funded financial aid programs before the current legislative session. But lawmakers appear likely to adopt only a portion of the plan. Lawmakers are considering only a change that would cost an additional $3 million. That means Mississippi will still give most of its limited aid to students from more affluent backgrounds, even as poorer students face costs that have risen sharply in recent years. Jennifer Rogers, director of financial aid programs for the state College Board, said aid programs haven't been adjusted since they were created in the 1990s. Then, tuition was much cheaper and federal Pell grants paid a greater portion of the cost of attending a university.
House OKs bill that would allow state Education Department restructuring
The House has approved removing central office Education Department employees from state Personnel Board protection for two years to allow restructuring. Supporters say the bill is a result of a recent report by the Legislative Watchdog PEER Committee. The report indicated MDE is inefficient at serving local school districts' needs. "The PEER report said there were 85 department heads that don't have a department over there," said House Education Chairman John Moore, R-Brandon. New state Superintendent Carey Wright said the move, which would remove about 375 employees at the department --- not schools and districts --- from the civil-service like protection, would allow flexibility to shift people around and make pay for certain positions commensurate with the expertise needed.
Some State Lawmakers See Race As A Factor In School District Consolidation Push
A bill in the House to consolidate Holmes County and Durant school districts was recently defeated 54-to-58 but not before a heated debate. Opponents of the measure, mostly Democrats and African-Americans, see race as one potential reason for the consolidations. Nearly every district the state has consolidated is majority black, but they are also districts that have been chronically failing. Republican Rep. Toby Barker of Hattiesburg says the consolidations are about bringing sensibility to the state's education system. For the last three years, the Republican-led Mississippi Legislature has been moving to consolidate districts around the state and are again targeting more.
Analysis: Voters may enshrine right to hunt, fish
Mississippi voters will decide in November whether to amend the state constitution to guarantee the right to hunt and fish. The Legislature decided 2012 to put the issue before voters, but kept it off the ballot until 2014. The 2012 ballot already had heavy constitutional and polarizing proposals -- the abortion-related "personhood" amendment, which failed, and new eminent domain restrictions, which passed. The guarantee of the right to hunt and fish needs majority support from voters in November to become enshrined in the Mississippi Constitution.
State officials lobbying for more tourism funds
With less money than any state in the South to promote tourism, officials say Mississippi and its cities are getting lost in the crowd. Mississippi Tourism Association president Lyn Fortenberry of Natchez said the tourism industry is hopeful that will change this year. MTA has been lobbying for support of a $15 million appropriation for the Mississippi Development Authority's Tourism Division. The appropriation would increase the state's current tourism budget of a little more than $6 million by nearly $9 million, said Malcolm White, director of MDA's Tourism Division.
'Super PACs' key in Senate race
Political organizations with no spending limits that have been credited with defeating incumbent U.S. senators in primary elections have Mississippi's six-term Republican in their crosshairs. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's supporters argue his finesse and long history of sending billions in federal money to Mississippi public universities, medical research and infrastructure throughout the state has led to more jobs and improvements in one of the nation's poorest states. Four PACs based in metropolitan Washington have spent at least $675,069 since October to support Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel, 41, a relatively unknown state senator until he announced in October plans to unseat the third most senior U.S. senator in the June 3 primary election. Rob Mellen, an assistant professor at Mississippi State University, researched the impact of independent expenditures during 2010 midterm elections. He said PACs, especially super PACs, can significantly influence elections.
Mississippi Senate race attracting big money
Sen. Thad Cochran raised $500,000 for his re-election over the last month during a statewide tour that included stops in Jackson, Oxford and Gulfport, his campaign said. Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cochran's top GOP challenger, also is traveling across the state and hopes to raise at least a total $2 million during his campaign. The fundraising battle is intensifying as the candidates travel the state urging voters and groups to open their wallets. But much of the spending on the closely watched race is expected to come from political action committees called super PACs that can raise unlimited amounts to run ads opposing or supporting individual candidates.
After UAW defeat, can GOP fulfill promise of jobs?
Republicans fighting a yearslong unionization effort at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee painted a grim picture in the days leading up to last week's vote. They said if Chattanooga employees joined the United Auto Workers, jobs would go elsewhere and incentives for the company would disappear. Now that workers have rejected the UAW in a close vote, attention turns to whether the GOP can fulfill its promises that keeping the union out means more jobs will come rolling in, the next great chapter in the flourishing of foreign auto makers in the South. Regardless of what political consequences, if any, Republicans would face if that fails to happen, the Volkswagen vote established a playbook for denying the UAW its goal of expanding into foreign-owned plants in the region, which the union itself has called the key to its long-term future.
Tennessee Defeat Has Labor Leaders Thinking Inward
Labor leaders are gathering in Houston this week to plot out their strategy for the year, but much of their focus will be almost 700 miles away, in Chattanooga, Tenn., where workers on Friday rejected the United Auto Workers attempt to organize under the union's label at a Volkswagen plant. Union leaders over the weekend voiced outrage about an anti-union campaign led by Republican Sen. Bob Corker, other Tennessee Republicans, and conservative lobbyists, blaming them for the defeat. But labor officials will also be looking inward over the next few days to consider whether their strategies need fine-tuning. So far, the unions' reaction to the defeat has been to fight back. The question is how labor will wage that fight. The South is clearly where labor's challenge lies.
MUW Alumni Association announces alumni award recipients
Four deserving individuals have been recognized for contributions to their respective career fields and Mississippi University for Women by the MUW Alumni Association. The award winners are Dr. Mabel M. Murphree of Tupelo and William "Peppy" Biddy of Columbus, as well as Emily Garner and Katy Pacelli, both of Jackson. Murphree graduated in 1970 from MUW and later received her master's degree and Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.
Ole Miss attempts to provide healthier campus dining options for students
In a recent effort to provide healthier on-campus options for students, Ole Miss Dining discontinued the pizza sticks served at C-Stores in Crosby and Martin/Stockard. But the effort was not well-received, as students complained on Twitter about the fried treats being replaced with healthier options. Ole Miss Dining rescinded its decision to discontinue pizza sticks along with the other deep-fried menu options on Jan. 13 but took to Twitter to defend its decision to renovate both C-Store locations. The recent change is a part of a nation-wide push toward a greater variety of healthier choices available at popular eateries.
Bennett gets update on Army ROTC criteria for Southern Miss
The University of Southern Mississippi community breathed a sigh of relief in November when the U.S. Army delayed the closure of its Army ROTC program and 12 others nationwide. Still, that two-year reprieve left unanswered questions about what criteria Southern Miss would have to follow to get off probation. Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett's visit with Army officials in Washington, D.C., also in November, failed to elicit further details about the new criteria. Bennett received an update on the criteria from the Army in early February, and he says he feels very good about how it positions Southern Miss. "I feel the best about Army ROTC since the day the rug was pulled out from under me," he said, referring to the day in October when he learned of the proposed closure.
Mississippi authors to visit the Delta
From mysterious killers to evil spirits, the Delta State University Continuing Education program and the Delta Arts Alliance are welcoming three Mississippi authors who highlight the South and the Mississippi Delta in their writing. Charlaine Harris, Dean James, and Carolyn Haines will be on campus Feb. 28 and provide lectures to students at 9 and 10 a.m. in Jobe Hall. From 1-2:30 p.m., they will participate in a panel discussion with three Delta State professors--- Dorothy Shawhan, Susan Allen Ford and Karen Bell. Delta State University President Bill LaForge believes this will be a great event for the campus and said, "It is a banner day for Delta State to have three noted authors visit our campus to share time, stories, and experiences with our students and faculty."
Alcorn State hosts listening sessions during president search
Members of a search committee tasked with finding the next president of Alcorn State University will hear from students, faculty, alumni and community leaders Wednesday at the university's Lorman campus. The discussions will center on the qualities and qualifications stakeholders believe the next president should possess. Alcorn's 18th president M. Christopher Brown II resigned in December amid an investigation into university purchasing.
More students, faculty allege former Rust College professor assaulted them
Nine former students and faculty members have joined civil lawsuits against Rust College, claiming an employee sexually assaulted or raped them during their time at the school and that the administration ignored it. An original suit alleges Rust College President David Beckley ignored numerous complaints of professor Sylvester Oliver's misconduct, and a second suit accuses Beckley of ignoring complaints of sexual misconduct by Johnny McDonald, former director of enrollment services for the college. Plaintiffs Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 allege Oliver, a 64-year-old former Rust professor, raped them in his office between 1993 and 2002 and that their reports of the incidents were ignored.
Hoover junior DuBose wins Miss University of Alabama pageant
Hoover native Danielle DuBose was crowned the 2014 Miss University of Alabama at the Bama Theater Saturday night. DuBose, a junior majoring in accounting and political science, will go on to compete in the Miss Alabama pageant on June 7. DuBose is a University of Alabama Presidential Scholar with a 4.27 GPA. She was named as the Outstanding Freshman Economics Student at UA and the Outstanding Sophomore for the Order of Omega Greek leadership organization. DuBose said she plans to take the next few months to prepare for the Miss Alabama pageant, working to prepare for the fitness category and also prepare for the interview portion of the pageant.
Alabama bill would allow agreement with colleges from other states offering online courses
Alabama lawmakers are considering legislation to allow the state's colleges and universities to participate in reciprocal online course offerings with schools in other states. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools would likely be the accrediting authority, and the agreement would be overseen by the Southern Regional Education Board, said Alabama Commission on Higher Education Director Gregory Fitch. The bill has won support from some University System of Alabama officials.
U. of Georgia navigator program tries to avoid controversy
The University of Georgia health navigator program has been keeping a low public profile since opponents of the Affordable Care Act held a protest at a navigator event in Coweta County in November. Sheri Worthy, a UGA official, said the Coweta meeting and those scheduled after that were canceled because Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that opposes the ACA, posted the navigators' events on its website and encouraged protests at them. The protesters who showed up in Coweta rallied peacefully outside the county Extension Service office, calling on UGA to stop supplying navigators to help people sign up for insurance coverage under the ACA, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.
U. of Florida admits 44 percent of applicants this year
Valentine's Day was one of joy for nearly 13,000 high school students who learned they had been admitted to the University of Florida. For another 16,000 applicants, it was a day of heartbreak. In a rare twist of scheduling fate, Decision Day fell on Valentine's Day this year. Students who applied for the 6,400 enrollment slots available for the Summer B and Fall 2014 semesters went online to see if they had been admitted. Another 530 students have been admitted to the Innovation Academy next spring. For the first time, all entering freshmen will be required to carry health insurance. Zina Evans, the associate provost and vice president for enrollment management, had high praise for the Class of 2018.
'Bambooville' on U. of Florida campus to be uprooted again
A year after reviving his unauthorized bamboo art installation at the University of Florida, Jon Anderson will soon have to take it all down again. Anderson, 67, had turned the area by the greenhouse behind Carr Hall on Newell Drive into a place he called "Bambooville," decorating it with neon-colored birdhouses, painted bamboo and places for visitors to sit and take it all in. UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said Friday that the university's grounds crew found the artwork about two to three weeks ago and brought it to the university's attention.
U. of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor Attacks Red Ink With Balanced Budget Plan
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences had an operating loss of $27.8 million in the first six months of its current fiscal year, a dramatic downturn from an $8.5 million operating gain during the same period a year earlier. Dr. Dan Rahn, the chancellor of UAMS, said he has a multi-point strategy to increase revenue and slash expenses that should generate about $40 million for UAMS during the next 18 months. "We're dealing with some fundamental changes," Rahn told Arkansas Business last week during an interview in his office at the UAMS Medical Center. "The financial model that we've relied upon for the past decades is changing, and we're going to have to change."
Vanderbilt gets $1.4M for AIDS research
The National Institutes of Health has given Vanderbilt University a $1.4 million grant to continue its research into the treatment and the development a vaccine to prevent the virus that causes AIDS. Vanderbilt doctors say that while people with AIDS are living longer with better treatments, they're still facing a number of health problems including chronic inflammation that increases the risks of stroke, heart attack and other deadly diseases. Doctors say new and better treatments are important, but it's imperative to develop a vaccine.
U. of Missouri chancellor sets sights on filling vacancies, AAU status
The bow tie is ready for business. Two weeks after starting as University of Missouri chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin met with reporters yesterday and fielded questions about his priorities for the university, the provost search and his role in the Association of American Universities. "It would be premature to announce anything in particular," Loftin said about his priorities, adding that "there are many, but not all formed yet." Among his priorities are filling administrative roles that are currently vacant, including the vice chancellor for research, provost, vice chancellor for administrative services and assistant to the chancellor for University Affairs. The vice chancellor for research and provost are especially important, he said.
U. of Missouri history professor named finalist for $50,000 book award
University of Missouri history professor Jeffrey L. Pasley was named one of three finalists for the George Washington Book Prize Sunday. The $50,000 annual prize is awarded to authors of books on the United States' early history. Finalists are announced each year on President's Day, Feb. 17, and the winner will be named at a ceremony at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate near Alexandria, Va., May 20. Pasley authored "The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy." Pasley said the 1796 election was interesting because neither candidate campaigned directly to the public, and much of the campaign occurred out of public view.
Survey suggests a smaller science-religion divide than many perceive
Headlines regularly illustrate divides between science and religion over issues such as evolution, which many evangelicals reject. But poll results presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggest that the divide may be less absolute than many imagine (at least if you go beyond issues such as evolution). A researcher at Rice University conducted a poll of 10,000 people -- grouped as the American general public, scientists and evangelical Protestants. While some people imagine scientists to be godless, the poll found that scientists are only slightly less religious than the American public, which itself isn't terribly observant by many measures. And many scientists do have faith of various types.
JIMMIE GATES (OPINION): Debate over bill showed respect
The Clarion-Ledger's Jimmie Gates writes: "People can have differences of opinion, and we have to use our own life experiences to try to decide what is right in our opinion. That was the case for me last week during the debate in the Senate over a bill that would provide publicly funded vouchers up to $6,000 annually to parents of special-needs children. Under the bill, taxpayers' money could be used to pay for private schooling, home schooling or even sending the kids to special classes in neighboring states. ...During the debate, no one was against the notion of helping special-needs children, but the questions were whether the bill, as written, is the best way to do it."
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): Community college access considered
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Tuition guarantee programs that pay community college tuition for recent high school graduates have caught on in 20 of Mississippi's 82 counties. Now, the Legislature is looking to make the program available across the state. Tennessee and Oregon also are considering statewide programs. ...Started at Meridian Community College, the tuition guarantee program began to spread several years ago when the CREATE Foundation helped fund the program for students in 16 of its 17 counties who attend Itawamba, Northeast, and East Mississippi Community Colleges. Since then East Mississippi expanded its program to all its counties, and Jones County Community College started the program in two counties. Legislation to create the Mississippi plan was introduced by Republican state Rep. Jerry Turner of Baldwyn. It passed the House by a vote of 115 to 4 last week."
FRANK CORDER (OPINION): Thad Cochran has built a political fortress around his reelection
On, Frank Corder writes of the Senate Republican primary contest between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel: "Contrast the list of Cochran endorsements with that on McDaniel's own campaign site and you will see the chasm he has to cross. A handful of current and former state legislators, a mayor, a police chief, and a handful of local Tea Party groups pales in comparison to the political fortress Cochran had established within about 24 hours of his announcement. That's just reality. For all of the national groups and pundits that see excitement in the race, it's pretty apparent that they haven't factored in the weight of folks from across the conservative spectrum in Mississippi that have irrevocably thrown their hat in the ring with Cochran... and they can't afford to be wrong."
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Nothing changes with schools, politics
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "The strongest lobby at the Mississippi Capitol is the status quo, and it won again last week as the House defeated yet again a move to appoint, rather than elect, school superintendents. ...Mississippi is one of the last states to still have elected superintendents. Given our educational track record, one would figure state leaders would be willing to wee-wee on a spark plug, as the saying goes, if it would help improve things. But the status quo appears to be holding."

Mississippi State coach John Cohen picks up 500th career win
Jordan Baker Cohen wasn't going to miss it. So she hopped in her car and drove the 703 miles to see her father, Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen, pick up one of his biggest career milestones Sunday -- win No. 500. "My daughter drove all the way from Lexington, Va., ...out of the 16 inches of snow there to surprise me. I was talking to Jeff Brantley and my daughter walked up," John Cohen said in a release. "It was great to see her. That was a lot of fun." She wasn't alone, though, a crowd of 8,061 in Starkville witnessed Cohen's 500th career victory as Mississippi State's offense drove in five runs with two outs in the third inning en route to a 7-2 series-clinching win against Western Carolina at Dudy Noble Field.
Milestone win: Dogs take series, give Cohen his 500th victory
Sunday's 7-2 baseball victory over Western Carolina not only secured the opening series for Mississippi State, but it was also a milestone win for its head coach. John Cohen earned his 500th career victory, 179 of which have come at his alma mater. "All that means is I'm getting older," said Cohen, who's 47. "I've been around some great players and some great coaches and I'm advancing in age." The Diamond Dogs took two of three from Western Carolina on the weekend after its initial four-game series with Hofstra was canceled due to weather.
Cohen records 500th career victory in Mississippi State win
Mississippi State scored five runs with two outs in the third inning en route to a 7-2 series-clinching win over Western Carolina on Sunday. The crowd of 8,061 in Starkville witnessed John Cohen's 500th victory as a head coach (500-328-1) and his 179th as the Mississippi State head coach (177-132). Preseason All-SEC first baseman Wes Rea was hit with the bases loaded, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. Then senior second baseman Brett Pirtle drilled a bases-clearing triple down the right-field line, extending the lead to 4-0. Senior C.T. Bradford added the final run of the inning when he laid down a squeeze bunt for a single, driving in Pirtle.
Six years ago, Mississippi State coaches John Cohen, Dan Mullen began a bond that still continues
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen stood at the podium moments after his team's Liberty Bowl victory in December. Mississippi State had just soundly won the third bowl game of his tenure. But Mullen's final words to the Liberty Bowl Stadium crowd during the postgame celebration had nothing to do with his team. He gave a shoutout to the Bulldogs baseball program. "We'll see you in Omaha!" Mullen yelled out, in reference to another College World Series trip for Mississippi State's baseball program. Mullen's respect for the baseball program goes beyond its on-field success. It starts with MSU's baseball coach.
Alwal delivers upset for Mississippi State
A Martha Alwal layin with 3.3 seconds left Sunday afternoon helped the Mississippi State women's basketball team to its biggest victory of the season. The final shot lifted the Bulldogs over No. 16 Vanderbilt, 64-62. "I went up there and tried to be tough," said Alwal. "I just wanted to take the ball in there and try to score." Alwal tied her conference high with 23 points, including 18 in the second half and 14 of her squad's final 21 points. "Super proud of the kids," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "I love how competitive they have become. I love how they fought in the second half. ...This team beat us by 51 last year, so to come out and compete this way is great."
Mississippi State upsets Vanderbilt women
Martha Alwal's jumper with 3.3 seconds left gave her 23 points and Mississippi State a 64-62 upset of No. 16 Vanderbilt on Sunday. Katia May drove to the basket and dished off to Alwal, who scored over Rayte'a Long. The Bulldogs then intercepted the inbounds pass to end it. "You don't want a game to come down to the last possession on the road," Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said in a press release on the school's website. "When it does, it's not going to be in your favor." Breanna Richardson added 16 points for the Bulldogs (17-9, 4-8 SEC).
Michael Sam Prompts ADs, Coaches to Review Policy
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has coached gay players before during his 20-year career. Though Freeze declined to name the two players he coached before arriving on the University of Mississippi's campus because of privacy, he said there is no exact protocol for how to handle a situation like the one that arose with Michael Sam. Among the questions facing athletic directors, coaches and administrators in the wake of Sam's announcement is how to teach tolerance and acceptance of gay athletes within the athletic department. "It does cause you to go back and evaluate," said Troy AD John Hartwell. "One of the first things I did was go back to our senior staff and say, 'OK, let's look at our policy. Let's make sure we don't have any issues here.'" Like many of the 10 athletic directors who responded to inquiries by The Associated Press, Hartwell said Troy believes in nurturing diversity and fostering respect for every individual.
Former Missouri star feels support as hundreds turn out to 'Stand with Sam'
Hundreds of people -- University of Missouri students, administrators and Columbia residents -- gathered on the roadsides around Faurot Field Saturday to show their support for former MU football player Michael Sam, who came out a week ago Sunday, and to drown out a protest by a group from Kansas. MU students Kelaney Lakers and Alix Carruth organized the event when they heard members of the Westboro Baptist Church planned to come to Columbia to protest Sam yesterday afternoon. Fourteen Westboro members showed up in Columbia yesterday afternoon. But they were far outnumbered by Sam supporters, who made a half-mile-long "human wall" along Stadium near Faurot Field. Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor for student affairs, attended the event and said she was impressed that so many students came out in the cold to show their support for Sam.
Ice storm claims Augusta National landmark
Somewhere Dwight Eisenhower is smiling. That infernal loblolly pine off the 17th fairway at Augusta National, the one with such an appetite for Eisenhower's tee ball, the one whose very name paid lasting tribute to a Presidential pull hook, is sawdust. What Ike couldn't do over nearly two terms in office, the ice did overnight. Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne announced Sunday that the iconic Eisenhower Tree was felled, a victim of last week's ice storm. Damage around the rest of Augusta National was minimal, Payne said, doing nothing to interfere with preparations for April's Masters.

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