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Good afternoon, Bulldogs.
Before I get into our usual items of news and observation, I want to take a moment to thank you all for your support of Mississippi State Athletics the last several weeks as we were fortunate enough to have a string of events on campus. Three-straight home football games, big volleyball wins, baseball, basketball and softball scrimmages, soccer matches and a host of other activities, both sporting and non, brought you to Starkville in droves and your devotion to the Maroon and White was both noticed and appreciated by our coaches, players and administration.
We, of course, have much, much more to enjoy over the coming weeks and months, as basketball seasons begin and football season continues, all of which I know will be welcomed with the usual great fanfare.
BASKETBALL TEAMS OPEN EXHIBITION SEASONS
Speaking of hoops, both Coach Ray and Coach Schaefer begin exhibition play in the next several days, with the men’s team hosting Auburn Montgomery on Sunday at 3 p.m. and the women’s team welcoming Shorter on Monday at 7 p.m.
Admission to each game is free, and we’re offering a package where you can attend both exhibitions without paying a dime at the door. All you have to do is show up.
And while we’re on the subject, now is a good time to remind you we do have season tickets remaining for both teams, available at www.hailstate.com/tickets. I’m very excited to see our basketball programs in year two under their respective coaches and it ought to be a fun winter of hoops.
HALBROOK AWARD HONORS MSU
Each year, the David M. Halbrook Award for Academic Achievement Among Athletes is presented to colleges and universities who “achieve and maintain high academic standards for student athletes, thus encouraging high graduation rates.”
We’ve always been proud here at MSU of the success our student-athletes have off the field, in addition to what they do on their respective playing surfaces, and receiving recognition from the Holbrook Award is a great reminder of the academic achievement of our Bulldogs.
Congratulations goes out to the women’s side of Bulldog athletics, who won the award for 2012-13 in the Public University Division (Women’s).
SOCCER CAPS SEASON AT OLE MISS, CONGRATS TO SULLIVAN
Coach Aaron Gordon’s soccer team has concluded its home slate, but the Bulldogs have one match remaining, playing our friends to the north on Thursday at 7 p.m. I know our ladies would love support from of any of us nearby to make the match and help them finish their season with a big SEC win.
I also need to again congratulate senior forward Elisabeth Sullivan, who last week tied the single-season goals record as she continues to build her substantial lead as the all-time points leader in MSU soccer’s history. And who knows, Elisabeth, maybe you can get the single-season record in your final match.
MULTIPLE BULLDOGS HONORED
Any coach or player will tell you they play team sports, but I do want to recognize several individuals who have received some big-time honors over the last week.
Football players Gabe Jackson, Dak Prescott, Malcolm Johnson and Jameon Lewis were all singled out by various organizations for their outstanding play in our win over Kentucky last week. It’s not the first honor for any of them, nor do I expect it will be the last.
Volleyball’s Kimmy Gardiner was, for the second time this season, named the SEC’s Co-Freshman of the Week, a great honor for an impressive young player.
And the final one isn’t technically an award, but junior golfer Ally McDonald, who seems to show up in this column a lot, begins play today in the Spirit International Amateur Golf Championships, representing not just MSU, but the entire United States in an international team competition of the world’s elite amateur golfers. Ally is the first Mississippi-born player to compete in the event, a singularity I know she appreciates.
NOTE FROM A FORMER STUDENT-ATHLETE
As I wrap this week’s column up, I wanted to pass along an email I received from Mark Melichar, a former offensive lineman under both Coach Mullen and Coach Croom and a current Bulldog living in Birmingham. Mark's e-mail talked about a speaker he listened to recently in his workplace at Merrill Lynch about motivation and business, and how his experiences as a college football player and student-athlete at MSU help him each and every day.
While it’s easy to focus on the results on the field of play, Mark’s letter is a good reminder of what all it means to be a student-athlete at Mississippi State.
Here is the letter Mark sent his former teammates, which he was kind enough to forward to me –
Guys I wanted to send y’all a couple things that I really found true, things that can be applied to every aspect of our lives. I truly feel it was such a blessing for us to all spend our college years together in Starkville, playing football in the SEC was such a blessing and taught us so much. Yes the practices were hard, studying every night after being worn out at practice never got easy, mat drills at 5:30 am weren’t very fun, the summer workouts were hot, and training camp at the Farm was a serious grind…But I thank God every single day for the life lessons it taught me. So many memories, so many friendships that will last a lifetime were made on that practice field, in the weight room and on that beautiful campus. Little did we know at the time that the football grind we endured for 4-5 years would set us up to be successful in life after college-no matter where life wants to take us. I have people at work ask me all the time what did I learn the most from college football? It made me think…a lot, actually. I kept coming back to these five things:
1.) The ability to handle and overcome adversity.
2.) Discipline & how to work hard.
3.) Time management.
4.) Attitude & effort are always under my control.
5.) When you start something, you finish.
We had a speaker come in the office a few weeks ago to coach us up on motivation, drive and how to build a great career-no matter what you do. These 4 things really can be applied anywhere in your life! No matter if you’re coaching ball, in the business world, playing in the NFL, or still in college...it does and will ALWAYS apply to us!
1. See past my excuses
2. Be a student of the game
3. Trust and believe in the process
4. Take action immediately!
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it fields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” – Hebrews 12:11
I challenge you to answer this question for yourself: In what areas of my everyday life do I have discipline? What areas do I do the “little things” right? It may be getting up and cooking breakfast, having a set workout routine, taking care of things in the office on time and efficiently, taking care of your body, getting stuff done that you really want to put off until tomorrow, etc. Maybe it’s reading your bible daily, improving your relationships, or meeting someone new and giving a quick handshake/smile to a stranger every day. Whatever it is, what areas of your life do you have discipline and routine in?
I’ll leave you with one last quote..this is on my desk so I can see it every day. The way I look at it, it’s a way of life…
“Things happen because people who care make them happen!”
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.