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Wednesday Bulldog Update - 4/13/11

Courtesy: hailstate.com  
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THANKS TO YOU…SUPER BULLDOG WEEKEND WAS SUPER

The 26th Super Bulldog Weekend presented by Regions has come and gone, and it was once again an unqualified success.

An all-time record attendance (36,357) for the football Maroon and White game, and a top 12 all-time baseball crowd again showed the enthusiasm Bulldog fans have for this spring homecoming.  But those athletic activities were just two of the weekend’s highlights.  The Pig Cooking Competition turned the area behind McArthur Hall into a sea of activity and full of pork barbecue aroma.

There was tailgating throughout the Junction and around our athletic venues, and it was great to see Mississippi State fans having a great time.  Athletic activities involving soccer, volleyball, softball and women’s tennis just added to the full weekend.  And it was great to have several of our former football players who are currently with National Football League clubs back on our campus signing autographs at FanFair. 

Another highlight of the weekend and the spring game was the halftime unveiling of the first class to be honored with permanent signage in the football stadium.  We announced that Jackie Parker, D.D. Lewis, Johnie Cooks and Jack Cristil will have their names permanently enshrined at Davis Wade Stadium.  Each will be recognized during halftime ceremonies at games this fall.

We appreciate everyone returning for Super Bulldog Weekend XXVI.  We met this week to discuss ways we can make next year’s SBW even better!

* * * 

MEN’S TENNIS WINS SEC WEST, HOSTS OLE MISS

It didn’t happen on our campus during the Super Bulldog Weekend slate of activities, but you better believe we were following closely our men’s tennis team as it played road matches at Auburn and Alabama last week.  Wins over those two rivals, coupled with some losses around the conference, gave Coach Per Nilsson and his team a Southeastern Conference Western Division championship with one league match still remaining in the season.

And that match comes at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Pitts Tennis Centre on our campus, and it’s against in-state rival Ole Miss.  I hope that you can get to campus and join me to root our Bulldogs on to victory.  Let’s fill the Pitts Tennis Centre in maroon!

* * *

FOOTBALL BUILDING FUND-RAISING EFFORT BEGINS

As you know, we announced last week the lead, $12 million gift made by The Seal Foundation of Gulfport, Miss., toward the construction of a new football training facility.  That gift, along with those provided by 35 other individuals and families, has put us closer to our fundraising goals on this project.

We constantly receive questions about the football building. The interest in that facility is only surpassed by interest in future stadium expansion plans. These projects are being incorporated in Today. Tomorrow.  Forever - an initiative for athletic facilities at Mississippi State University.  To help answer many of the questions about the future of our football facilities, Dan Mullen and I have taped a four-part video series that discusses our needs and plans. We'll debut a new one of these videos each week for the next month. The first installment can be seen here. I hope you'll find it interesting.

All Bulldog Club members, alums, fans, and friends can now contribute to this effort through the Bulldog Club. Please follow this link for more information. 

* * *

FOOTBALL TICKET DEADLINE LOOMS, WAIT LIST GROWS

With just 20 days remaining until the football season ticket priority deadline, the renewal rate continues to grow at a rapid pace, as does the customer waiting list for any season tickets that may become available.

We are well ahead of where we were last season at this time, when we sold every available football season ticket, but the numbers indicate the next couple of weeks will be fast and furious in the ticket office.  Officially, we sold 43,387 season tickets a year ago, obviously an all-time record, and a credit to our great Bulldog fan base.

The interest is certainly unprecedented.  When you consider that we have orders from more than 800 accounts totaling in excess of 1,800 tickets from new customers or existing fans looking to increase their order, tickets will be in high demand for this coming year.  As happens every year, the rush to submit ticket orders in the final two weeks prior to the renewal deadline will logjam the ticket office.  It could be well into May or early June before we know if any season tickets were not renewed.

Remember, the season ticket order renewal deadline is the end of April (actually May 2).  You don’t want to miss that deadline this year, because any non-renewed season tickets will be sold to those on the waiting list.

* * *

FOOTBALL STADIUM RIBBON BOARDS, BANNERS

As we have mentioned previously in this column, ribbon boards will be added to both the east and west side upper level fascia at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field prior to the 2011 football season.  In fact, Capturion, Inc., which installed the large video board at the south end of the stadium above the M-Club Building, will hang the new video displays on each side of the field.

The Laurel, Miss., based company is to begin construction in mid-May and should be finished and out of the stadium well before the team reports in early August.  The ribbon boards will add to the game-day atmosphere within the facility.

Also during the off-season, we plan to replace all of the exterior banners at Davis Wade Stadium.

* * *

HUMPHREY COLISEUM SEATING ALTERATION

Following two commencements at the end of this month, we will initiate a construction project within Humphrey Coliseum that will add approximately 100 premium seats to the floor level, alter the seating arrangement in such a way as to enable current aisles to run from the inner-concourse to the playing floor, and replace the permanent floor beneath the basketball playing surface.

Removal of the original telescoping seats on the floor (the gray seats) has already occurred, and the replacement seats have been ordered.  The old tartan floor will be removed and the installation of new permanent flooring will take place.  Following that prep work, the on-site manufacture and installation of the new telescoping seating will take place.  Those old gray seats are to be replaced with black seats.

The entire process should take about three months.  It is hoped that construction will culminate by Sept. 1. 

* * *

NEARBY PRESCHOOL SHARES WHY THEY LOVE MSU

We recently received this email from Courtney Benefield, who teaches a 5-year old “soon-to-be-kindergarten class” at Aiken Village Preschool across campus.  She says:

“Our children truly love welcoming their role models, the Mississippi State Student-Athletes, into our center.  At five years old, their daily experiences and interactions are what shape and mold their personalities.  In their eyes, field trips to Dudy Noble, Holliman Athletic Center, and Palmeiro Center are larger than LIFE!  I hear them telling elaborate stories of their weekends in the Junction, Bulldog victories, hearing their appreciation for their only memories!  If ever asked by anyone outside their small world where they attend school, their answers would PROUDLY be, ‘Mississippi State!  I’m a Bulldog!’

…I recorded their answers to a very simple question, ‘Why do you LOVE being a Mississippi State Bulldog?’  Attached are their responses (keep in mind the question states nothing about athletics)…This is their way of saying ‘Thank You MSU Athletics!’

PROUD Bulldogs of MSU!              4-4-11

Atticus- We can cheer for the DaWgS!
Joseph- Football: Throw the ball! Run! Kick! Get a touchdown!
Charley- I like how the cheerleaders flip!   “Who let the dogs out? Woof Woof Woof! ”
Jenna- A bulldog that isn’t Mississippi State isn’t really a bulldog.
Sebastian- My mom takes pictures of the football fans. 
John Lewis- I love my MSU football jersey with the helmet, pads, chin thing, and # 33 on the back!
Brantley- I love football and Mississippi State because I live here.
Ian- I like his suit with the brown head, green eyes, and big brown ears. 
Simmons- I love football day, the stadium, the snow cones, the cowbells, the regular tents, the blow up stuff in the junction, and the face paint.
Hailey- I love seeing all the people on the JUMBO screen!
Jacob- I love Mississippi State because it’s my dad’s team! He trains the team and they fight DRAGONS (UAB Blazers)!
Javontae- I love the bulldogs because they are good at running!
Anthony- Sometimes bulldogs can be statues!
Taze- Bully waves to everyone!
John Robert- Mississippi State is just so special to me.  I just like how the word is made…and I DON’T LIKE OLE MISS!!!!!!! 
Eva- I like the candy at my mama’s work.  I think Mississippi State is fun and I like sitting on the bulldog.
Furkan- I like the bulldogs! They are strong and can bite you.  The Mississippi State Bulldogs always score a touchdown and run and hug each other. 
Noah- It’s really big and loud at the stadium.  The football players are really big and tough…and the huge lights help them see!  Bulldogs are kinda little dogs, but they are really mighty.
Kyn- They learned football.
Lila- Sometimes they shake their tongues!                                                         

* * *

PICKING UP BULLDOG FANS FROM OUTSIDE OUR STATE

While visiting with fans Saturday at FanFair, I was approached by a young man in a maroon MSU t-shirt who was also wearing a Kentucky hat. As we chatted, I asked him why he was wearing a UK hat.

Fan: "I'm from Bowling Green, Kentucky."

Me: "OK. Are you a student at MSU?"

Fan: "No, I'm a student at Western Kentucky."

Me (trying to figure out what this UK hat-wearing, WKU student is doing in the Junction wearing a Maroon t-shirt): "Do you have family in Mississippi?"

Fan: "No, I'm just a big college football fan, and I'm really excited about what all is going on here at State, and I love Dan Mullen."

Me: "So you have no connection to this place?"

Fan: "No sir. I just love your football program and wanted to be here for the spring game."

Me: "That's awesome. Welcome to Our State!"

Pretty cool stuff, huh? As we continue to work together, all of us in the Mississippi State family, to sell and promote our school and Our State, we'll begin seeing more and more of this type response. Even people outside of Mississippi are beginning to realize that it's a "Great time to be a Bulldog!

* * *  

MISSISSIPPI STATE WEEKEND HOME SPORTS SCHEDULE

Saturday, April 16 – Track & Field hosts the Jace Lacoste Invitational;  Men’s Tennis v Ole Miss, 1 pm

* * * 

DON’T FORGET MAROON FRIDAY, AND SATURDAY AT TENNIS

While we keep the tradition of donning our school color on Friday again this week, make sure you have another maroon shirt ready for Saturday.  Let’s paint the Pitts Tennis Centre in maroon and welcome Ole Miss to the home of the 2011 Western Division champions!  Are you in the maroon?


* * *

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.    

Go Dawgs!

Scott Stricklin



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