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Wednesday Bulldog Update - 5/18/16

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Let’s lead off this week’s Update with a big “thank you” and job well done to everyone who had a hand in putting on the SEC Softball Tournament last week. A great deal of planning, directing and working went into making the event possible, and nearly everyone on campus and in Starkville played a role in making it a successful week of action at Nusz Park.

Notes have flooded in since the tournament concluded Saturday from coaches, administrators and fans saying what a great job MSU did as host. That is a credit to our entire staff in the athletic department, the Mississippi State campus and the cities of Starkville and Columbus. So many remarks have been made about how nice Nusz Park is and how great the city and staff were to each team, and all of us send a big thank you to those who put in so many hours to make these great experiences possible.

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As many of you know, this weekend is the final regular season series for Coach Cohen and our No. 3 Bulldogs. We host Arkansas at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday nights with both games broadcast online on SEC Network+, while our Saturday game begins at 5:00 p.m. and will be shown nationally on the SEC Network.

While this weekend is our last regular season series, we are optimistic it won’t be the last time you get to see the Bulldogs play at Dudy Noble this year. As we anticipate hosting an NCAA Regional the first weekend of June, season ticket holders should have received ticket information via email this week. The deadline to purchase tickets is this Friday, May 20, by 5:00 p.m., which you can do by logging into your Dog Tag account online or by calling the ticket office at 888-GO-DAWGS.

Tickets to the general public will go on sale at a later date and we anticipate high demand.

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How ‘bout them Bulldogs! Congratulations to Coach Matt Roberts and our No. 21 men’s tennis team, who shut out No. 15 Illinois 4-0 on the road last Saturday to advance to the NCAA Round of 16, this weekend in Tulsa. The Bulldogs play the No. 2 national seed, North Carolina, this Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. CT. Making the Round of 16 in the national championship is always a big deal, and our men's tennis program has now done it 12 times in its history!

On another tennis note, we are all incredibly proud of Coach Daryl Greenan and our No. 21 women’s team for advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, dropping a close 4-2 decision at No. 16 host Texas Tech there Saturday to conclude the season. The program, which had the second-most wins in school history this season and the most-ever in SEC play, has made impressive strides under Coach Greenan the last few years and we look forward to seeing where the future takes them.

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I hope MSU fans have properly appreciated what an incredible career our track and field star Erica Bougard has had (and continues to have) over her career here in the Maroon and White. A National Champion as a sophomore, Erica is close to finishing out her time with us, and in one of her final displays, she showed out by winning her second-straight SEC Title in the heptathlon at the SEC Championships in Tuscaloosa over the weekend.

Not to be outdone, we had two more SEC titles won by great Bulldog seniors on Saturday as Brandon McBride, a former National Champion himself, won the 800-meter run and set a facility record in the process with a time of 1:45.68. Meanwhile, Marta Freitas is the new SEC Champion in the indoor mile, winning the title with a time of 4:24.00.

Now the track and field squads set their sights on the NCAA Outdoor Championships, June 8-11 in Eugene, Ore. The women are currently ranked 16th in the country, while the men are 22nd.

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As someone who came up in the world of college athletics working in media relations, it gives me great pride to see our current Bulldog staff recognized for the tremendous job they do. Last week, the Footbal Writers Association of America selected Mississippi State for it’s “Super 11” group of sports information departments deemed the best in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.

Led by Assistant AD for Media Relations Bill Martin, the talented and hard-working Bulldogs media relations staff was the lone SEC office chosen for the prestigious recognition. Criteria employed in determining the winners not only included how press boxes and media operations were operated, but also the quality and timeliness of information provided. The ratings also considered those departments that went the extra mile in servicing the media.

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Last week, long-time MSU staffer, and current Executive Associate AD, Duncan McKenzie informed me that he was retiring from the university, effective June 30.

It’s hard to put into words everything Duncan has meant to MSU Athletics. A former Bulldog football player, Duncan has served our alma mater for nearly three decades, overseeing the department’s financial operations in addition to numerous other duties. A tireless worker, and a man of great character, wisdom and humility, Duncan has been a stabilizing presence during the tenure of numerous ADs and coaches.

We have begun the challenging process of finding a new CFO for MSU Athletics. It will be difficult to replace Duncan the staff member … It will be even harder (perhaps impossible) to replace Duncan the person. Please join me in wishing Duncan and his wife Tinna the very best.

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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



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