Wednesday Bulldog Update - 4/16/14

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Good day, Bulldogs.

As always, Super Bulldog Weekend was an immensely enjoyable four days and I thank you all for making it so special this year.

Over 21,000 Bulldog fans showed up at the spring football game, while you set three NCAA records at baseball (biggest overall on-campus crowd, biggest Friday crowd and biggest weekend crowd), set the MSU softball attendance record on Saturday and showed up in droves for every event over the course of the weekend.

Your support is what sets Mississippi State athletics apart and is crucial in its continued and growing success. The atmosphere across the board this weekend meant a great deal to our coaches, players and staff, and we thank you for it.

And of course, Spring isn't over! We’ve got plenty more happening on campus the next month or so, plus postseason for several of our teams begins soon.

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The Bulldog Club and Ticket Office staff is nearly two weeks into seat selection at the expanded Davis Wade Stadium. Several of you have reached out to comment on how efficient and pain-free the selection process has been. Credit is due to Mike Richey and the entire Bulldog Club staff for the job they’ve done on preparing and executing an expansive task.

A couple notes on DWS seat selection: first, the Bulldog Club priority points system that is used to determine when fans select their seats rewards those who have been loyal to MSU, benefitting members based on lifetime giving and consecutive years in the Bulldog Club. Now with over 10,000 members in the Bulldog Club, MSU is fortunate to have so many longtime, loyal Bulldogs.

Second, as the process moves along, we learn fans value different things when choosing seats. Some are focused on yard-line location, others want an aisle seat and still more choose based on where family or friends are sitting. Yet, there are those who don’t consider any of those items and select based on amenities such as proximity to restrooms and concessions.

The point is, now more than ever, there are plenty of great seats to watch a game from at Davis Wade Stadium. So we ask for continued patience and an open mind as you go about the process of deciding where you want to sit while watching the Bulldogs play this Fall.

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You probably saw the news last week that MSU Athletics had agreed to a seven-year extension that allows Adidas to continue as the official apparel and footwear provider to all 16 Bulldog sports. MSU's relationship with Adidas has grown to be very strong since we first signed on back in 2009, and as that relationship has grown so has the brand and demand for MSU apparel.

In fact, university licensing royalties have grown nearly 50 percent since the contract was originally signed, a testament to the success of our athletic programs the last five years, our growing national brand, and the quality of Adidas products.

Adidas has recognized that growth, offering and agreeing to a deal worth over four times as much annually as our original contract.

Our coaches have been impressed with the service and personal touch Adidas has provided, and as most of our coaches have experience with other providers at previous schools, I take their word to be true when they say Adidas is above and beyond the rest. We all look forward to our continued partnership.

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Over the weekend, we were able to recognize the winners of the 2014 Newsom Awards, given annually since 1990 in recognition of academic excellence by MSU student-athletes. Begun by long-time Faculty Athletic Representative, Dr. Walt Newsom, the Newsom Award is awarded to the top student-athlete in each sport. I’m proud of all of our honorees, including the overall winners John Valentine for men’s athletics and Katie Huston for women’s track and field.

Balancing academics with athletics can be an exceedingly difficult challenge. You’ll recognize several names among the winners, and all are deserving of recognition.

Baseball: Ben Bracewell
Basketball: Tyson Cunningham
Cross Country: John Valentine
Football: Taveze Calhoun
Golf: Joe Sakulpophaisan
Tennis: Malte Stropp
Track: Jason Harper

Basketball: Candace Foster
Cross Country: Emma Neigel
Golf: Rica Tse
Soccer: Mary Kathryn Taylor
Softball: Jessica Offutt
Tennis: Alexandra Perper
Track: Katie Huston
Volleyball: Alexandra Warren

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- A big, big congratulations to Coach Vann Stuedeman and the softball team for their series win over No. 2/3 Alabama over the weekend. That’s a huge victory for the program, and a record crowd was on hand Saturday night to see MSU's 4-2 victory that evened the series at a game apiece. Sunday's rubber match was scoreless for nine innings before Alabama scored three in the top of the 10th. However, the Bulldogs responded with four runs in their half of the inning. And you have to love how the team celebrated ... by running across Lakeview Drive and jumping into Chadwick Lake! It was a pretty neat moment.

- On that note, congrats to senior pitcher Alison Owen for being named SEC Pitcher of the Week. It’s the third time for Alison to earn this award and in less than two years of playing for MSU she already has 443 strikeouts, just eight shy of the all-time record.

- Men's golf continues it's own hot streak, following their win at Old Waverly last week by winning the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate earlier this week at Reunion in Madison.

- Our 23rd-ranked women's golf team is in Birmingham this weekend for the SEC Tournament at Greystone. If you're in the area, I'm sure they'd love some support on the links. Last year, Coach Ginger Brown-Lemm's club tied the program's best-ever finish at the SECs, claiming fifth.

- Celebrating their 51st-straight week in the Top 25, our No. 17 men’s tennis team begins SEC Tournament play Thursday in Nashville against either Arkansas or LSU, and today our women’s tennis team faces LSU in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Columbia, Mo. Good luck to both clubs.

- Congrats to our men’s and women’s track teams, whose seven individual wins over the weekend led to Team Mississippi beating Team Alabama in the annual Border Clash. Good luck to the squads this weekend as they split up for competitions on the road in California and Louisiana.

- I should also mention that the annual Road Dawgs Tour begins soon with the first stops on May 5. Check the schedule here and make plans to join us along the way.

Again, thanks to each of you all for making Super Bulldog Weekend so special. Hope to see you back on campus again soon. And please let me or our coaches and staff know if there's ever anything we can do to help you. Hail State!

* * *

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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