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Welcome to a new athletic year, Bulldogs!

Fans, students, professors, everyone who is part of the Mississippi State family – the 2014-15 year has officially begun. Coach Mullen’s football team was the first to report last week, Coach Aaron Gordon’s soccer team started practicing this week, Coach Jenny Hazelwood’s team met for the first time last night and yesterday was exactly 100 days from the tip-off of basketball season.

We’ve got a lot to look forward to in the immediate future, but we’ve stayed busy over the summer, too.

In fact, our athletic department has hired over 20 new people in the last month – from coaches and trainers to marketers and academic advisors. Some hires have been to fill vacant positions, while others have been brand new positions here in the department.

Over the last month, we’ve hired an entire four-person video department, which we’re quite excited about. I think you will all enjoy what they produce for the SEC Network and for creative pieces on our website. We’ve also hired a nutritionist for our teams and programs, working to give our student-athletes every edge and resource possible.

There are many new faces, mixed in with the old ones we already know, which ought to make for another productive and enjoyable year of Bulldog athletics.

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On August 14th, the SEC Network will officially hit the airwaves and it will do so as one of the largest launches in history, immediately available to nearly 100 million homes. That day, we’ll be hosting a launch party in The Junction and we’d love for you to be part of it. MSU will have a significant role in the first day of the Network, with reporters from ESPN here on campus and interviews with Coach Mullen and some of our guys.

The SEC Network and SEC Network+ (the online part of the channel, similar to ESPN3) will change the way we watch sports and keep track of our favorite team, and we’ve made a significant investment to ensure that we provide the best product possible to ESPN and to our fans and viewers. Most of you likely have the SEC Network available to you, but if you don’t, the time to act is soon.

One more event on campus will be our annual Fan Day, which takes place on Sunday, August 24. Gates open at 4:30, with Coach and the team arriving shortly after. What I’m sure many of you are excited for: we’ll have an open house for the new north end zone, including the Gridiron Club, new concourse and more.

We settled on this date as means of working with the football team and their schedule to make sure they could be in attendance (and also that we didn’t interrupt their preparation for Southern Miss), as well our desire to give anyone who wants the opportunity to check out expansion before the season-opener.

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Crunch time is here as the final weeks of construction are underway for the new north end zone and the completion of Davis Wade Stadium. As scheduled, DWS will be turned over to the university on August 20 and we will have our expanded and renovated stadium. The crew is working around the clock on the finishing touches, though as you may have seen from pictures, the majority of the work and most of the big pieces are finished already, including the new video board which gives us the most square footage of video board in the country, by a lot.

The next few weeks will involve the completion of some of the little things on the inside, such as the concourse, suites and similar areas. Once the firm turns over the keys, we’ll move in our final pieces, filling the kitchens with food and equipment and making sure all of our amenities are in place.

Davis Wade is hardly recognizable from where it was only a few years ago and I can’t wait to fill it with a record crowd when we open the 100th year of Scott Field on August 30. I know you will all be pleased with the results and I look forward to having an historic and impressive facility we will all be proud of.

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In addition to moving our student section into one central location in the north end zone, we’ve also moved student season ticket sales online. The athletic department has partnered with the Student Association to make student tickets as easy as possible. Season tickets will cost $50 and be available at www.HailState.com/studenttickets beginning August 20 at 8 a.m. to the general student population. Students who are members of the free HailState Rewards program can purchase their tickets beginning August 18 at 8 a.m.

In addition to moving the purchase online, student tickets will also be going paperless. Your student ID will serve as your ticket for each game.

Students will soon be receiving an email with more details, including information on limited guest tickets and the ability to transfer tickets to other students.

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As of yesterday, we had sold a school-record 45,762 season tickets for the 2014 football season. For perspective, that’s over 4,000 more than we had sold at this time last year. A big thank you to those who are continually supporting the Bulldogs. It’s your dedication which has made everything we’ve done possible.

For those who haven’t yet purchased, there are still tickets left, including a couple more affordable options.

Our $99 mini-plan gets you tickets to your choice of three games from the pool of Southern Miss, UAB, Vanderbilt, UT Martin and Arkansas.

And for our young alumni, our new section for you is open to any who have graduated in the last two years.

Tickets are available at www.HailState.com/tickets.

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I hope everyone enjoyed their summers, and I can’t wait to get this new year started. Hail State!

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We appreciate what you do for Mississippi State Athletics and want to encourage you to get others involved.  There are three things you can do to help the athletic department at Mississippi State reach its desired goals –

1.  Buy Season Tickets

2.  Financially Support the Bulldog Club

3.  Get Others To Do The Same

Thanks for taking the time to read this Update.   

Hail State!

Scott Stricklin