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Mississippi State Athletic Excellence

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As the new century stretches toward the middle of its first decade, Mississippi State athletics continues to succeed at levels unmatched during its more than 100 years of existence.

MSU sports teams have qualified for NCAA postseason play 35 times over the past five seasons, nearly half of those coming in the past two years alone. A school record nine did so in 2002-03.

MSU FansThe final decade of the 20th Century brought a renaissance in the state of State with an overall level of achievement unmatched in school history. Bulldog student-athletes and their coaches won national, even international, attention and respect for MSU, for the state of Mississippi and for the Southeastern Conference.

Certainly Mississippi State has enjoyed many proud moments and great seasons through the 118 years young men and women have represented the state's largest university in athletic competition. Each new generation of Bulldogs adds more championships, bowl games, postseason tournaments, all-Americans and academic awards to the lists of honors.

Yet the 10 seasons of the 1990s were truly remarkable for the degree of overall success, both by teams and individuals. And the pace of that production has increased during the first few years of the 21st century.

While there have been other glory years for individual teams, no era has compared to the current composite successes of the entire MSU athletic department.

Achievements since 1990 have been highlighted by six football bowl games, men's basketball's trip to the 1996 Final Four, three baseball trips to the College World Series, six Southeastern Conference championships and participation in the NCAA Championships by sports teams 51 times.

State's continuing accomplishments extend beyond playing fields and arenas. For every Bulldog winning all-SEC or all-America honors, another earns recognition for academic achievement. Mississippi State can take as much pride in a team's grade point average as its win-loss record. MSU ranks second in the SEC in total number of Academic all-SEC selections over the last seven years. The image of Mississippi State University and its student-athletes has never stood higher than it does as the new millennium continues to evolve.

Larry TempletonMuch of the credit for State's winning performance is due to a university and athletic administration that provides Bulldog teams with the facilities and staff necessary to be competitive in NCAA Division I and the SEC. The greater achievement is being able to do so in uncertain financial times and still operate in the black. In fact, in the past 17 years the athletic department has not required any university operating funds to meet the demands of a $24 million athletic budget.

Mississippi State's strong athletic and fiscal positions are also results of involvement by Bulldog fans. During the last decade, football season ticket sales reached an all-time high. Basketball has broken all records for season ticket sales and attendance, and baseball continues as one of the nation's trendsetters in ticket sales and average attendance.

Those fans are rewarded with a program worth their financial and emotional involvement. State fans have had a lot to cheer about in recent years.


FOOTBALL

When Sylvester Croom was hired as Mississippi State's 31st head football coach in December 2003, it was the dawning of a new era in Bulldog football. While the long-time National Football League assistant coach earned his first collegiate head coaching assignment in Starkville, it was certainly not his first association with the college game. A former assistant at the University of Alabama, Croom will use his 26 years in the game to return the State program to past accomplishment and beyond.

Sylvester CroomIn just the few short months that Croom has resided at the head of the State football program, he has given every indication that the operation of the sport is in steady hands. He has brought at all levels a new commitment to discipline within the program and a hawkish attention to detail. His intent from the outset was to build MSU football on a solid foundation so the future achievements will have a better base upon which to stand. As spring football came to a close and the program moved into off-season conditioning, it was clear Croom was moving MSU in that direction.

Prior to Croom's arrival, Bulldog football was invited to six post-season bowls since 1990, earned a berth in the 1998 SEC Championship Game, and held national rankings during eight of the previous 13 seasons.

The most recent successes of the football program came in 2000 with the Bulldogs earning bowl eligibility for a school-record fourth straight season. Wins on consecutive weekends over SEC Divisional champions Florida and Auburn highlighted State's fourth straight winning season at 8-4, which culminated with MSU's exciting 43-41 overtime win over Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl, its sixth bowl bid in 10 years. State also challenged for the SEC Western Division title for the fourth year in a row, the only SEC team to be in position to win the West with only two games remaining in each of those years.

That season's success came on the heels of one of the best years in school history. In the fall of 1999, MSU finished with a 10-2 overall record, the program's second 10-win season ever and a victory over Clemson in the Peach Bowl. Boosting the '99 mark was a school-record 8-0 start. The Bulldogs rebounded from a pair of late-regular season losses to register a dramatic 23-20 comeback win over arch-rival Ole Miss to close the year at Scott Field.

The '99 squad's successes came only one season after MSU claimed the SEC West title to earn a berth in the '98 SEC Championship Game. As a result of that appearance, State garnered a bid in the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl, its first showing in a traditional New Year's Day bowl since the 1941 Orange.

State opened the 1990s with consecutive 7-4 regular seasons and earned invitations to the Liberty Bowl in '91 and the Peach Bowl a year later. MSU fans made a statement by buying record numbers of tickets to both holiday classics. MSU posted an 8-4 mark in 1994, ending the year as runner-up in the West. The team went to another Peach Bowl, the third Bulldog bowl game in four seasons - a feat never before accomplished at the institution.

Honors continue to be earned by State's players with 14 new all-Americans and 54 all-Southeastern Conference Bulldogs named since 1990. And Bulldogs are winners in the classroom as well as on the field. For 11 of the last 12 years, Mississippi State has been recognized in the College Football Association's reports listing programs that graduated over 70 percent of their football athletes. In 2001, place-kicker Scott Westerfield became the third Bulldog to earn the SEC's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.

NFL scouts have been frequent visitors to the MSU campus in recent years with 29 Bulldogs drafted since 1990 alone and more earning free agent contracts. In 1996, MSU's Eric Moulds and Walt Harris were each taken in the first round of the NFL draft. MSU boasted two of the SEC's three first-round selections that year.


MEN'S BASKETBALL

The 1990s brought very good times back to Bulldog basketball and marked a return of MSU to the national hoops scene. And with the school's march to the 2004 SEC regular season championship, back-to-back SEC Western Division crowns the past two seasons, and its 2002 SEC Tournament title, State's men's basketball program is already excelling into the 21st century.

Head men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury, the 2004 Associated Press SEC Coach of the Year, has guided his Bulldog program to three straight NCAA Tournaments, a first in school history, while having earned an SEC championship -- overall, divisional or tournament -- during each of the past three seasons.

Two years removed from setting a new single-season school standard with 27 victories in 2001-02, last year's State squad went undefeated on the road en route to a sparkling 26-4 overall record and dominating 14-2 league mark. Along the way, the 2003-04 Bulldogs shattered all attendance marks at Humphrey Coliseum and earned the school's highest AP national rankings (fourth in the regular season and eighth in the final poll) in more than 40 years.

Stansbury's teams have also appeared in the National Invitation Tournament twice, including a quarterfinal showing in 2001. In his initial season at the helm of the program, Stansbury became the only coach in MSU history to win 20 games in his first year.

Prior to Stansbury's assumption of the program's reigns in 1998, five Bulldog teams made it to postseason tournament play in the '90s. In fact, Mississippi State began the 1990s by ending a 10-year postseason drought as the Bulldogs received a bid to the NIT, a feat they duplicated in 1994. The latter club was one of only two teams to defeat eventual national champion Arkansas.

Darryl WilsonBut the real highlights during that span were bids to the 1991, and in particular, 1995 and 1996 NCAA Tournaments. The '91 ball club made history on March 2 when it clinched a share of the SEC Championship in The Hump on the last day of the regular season, State's first conference basketball crown and NCAA bid since 1963.

The '95 Bulldogs nearly matched those feats, taking a share of the SEC Western Division crown. Advancing into the second round of NCAA Tournament play for the first time in school history, the 1994-95 MSU team went on to earn a first-ever Sweet 16 showing prior to falling to eventual national champion UCLA.

The 1995-96 team topped even those lofty accomplishments, winning a second-straight SEC Western Division title, claiming a first-ever SEC Tournament championship over top-ranked and eventual national champion Kentucky, and gaining a berth in the NCAA's national championship Final Four. That team earned its national championship ticket with impressive regional wins over perennial powerhouses Connecticut and Cincinnati. State's 26 wins that season were the most in school history at the time.


BASEBALL

The 1980s left a hard act for MSU Baseball to follow, but the Diamond Dogs of the last two decades have worked to maintain the amazing standards established by Coach Ron Polk, who returned to MSU in 2001 to begin his second stint in Starkville.

The 1990s began with State's fifth trip to the College World Series after MSU tied for the SEC Tournament title that season. Polk took his team back to regional competition again in 1996, and his 1997 team won 40 games during the regular season, earning the right to host the Mideast Regional at newly renamed Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium. The Bulldogs fought their way through the loser's bracket to win the '97 regional title. With the win, MSU advanced to the College World Series, Polk's fifth trip at MSU. The Diamond Dogs went on to finish in a national fifth-place tie.

Ron PolkIn the summer of 1997, Polk retired as the SEC's winningest baseball coach ever, but the program maintained the level of excellence he had constructed during his long and fruitful career. In its first season without Polk at the helm, MSU won yet another regional tournament Championship, a title achieved at Texas A&M. That triumph earned State a second straight College World Series appearance, the first back-to-back CWS showings in MSU's history.

The program made three straight regional showings following that 1998 CWS appearance, a streak that included Super Regionals in 2000 and 2001. Following that '01 season and a two-year stay at conference rival Georgia, Polk returned to Starkville and continues to add to his all-time SEC win record. Polk guided the MSU baseball program back to NCAA Regional play in both 2003 and 2004. The '03 club hosted a four-team post-season tournament at Dudy Noble Field/Polk-Dement Stadium for the first time since 2000.

Polk has kept MSU involved in international baseball through the years. In 1991, he coached Team USA to the bronze medal at the Pan American Games to qualify the United States team for the 1992 Olympic Games. Polk then served as an assistant coach on America's '96 Olympic baseball effort.

And the scouts have kept MSU on their itinerary each spring, with the result that in 1992, '93, '94, '97, '99 and 2003 a Bulldog pitcher was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. Meanwhile, 12 more Diamond Dogs have been named all-America.

But not all of MSU's baseball excellence has taken place on diamonds across the country. Two State baseball players have earned the Boyd McWhorter Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards, the league's most prestigious postgraduate scholarship. Burke Masters earned the award in 1990 and Jeremy Jackson duplicated the feat in 1998.


MEN'S TENNIS

One of the greatest Bulldog success stories since 1990 has been a tennis program firmly established among the nation's elite. The program has finished in the final top 25 rankings 12 times in that stretch (1990-2001) and in the top 10 seven times in that span.

Under the guidance of former Bulldog and current head coach Sylvain Guichard the past three seasons, State's netmen have continued that steadfastness in the national title hunt, making their 12th, 13th, and 14th straight appearances in the NCAA Championship, one of only seven schools nationally to have done so. State has made the round of 16 or better in the tournament in 10 of those 14 seasons, one of only nine schools nationally to do so.

Marco BaronState has also claimed one SEC title (1993), two regular season league championships and an SEC tournament crown (1996) during the past decade and a half. The Bulldogs made school-best NCAA semifinal appearances in 1994 and 1998 and have been national quarterfinalists five times. The netmen have won nearly 70 percent of their matches since 1991, scored the third-most SEC wins by any SEC member since 1990, and have been ranked as high as third in the country.

Individually, Bulldogs have been fixtures in the national rankings. Four State players have been ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles -- Daniel Courcol in 1992-93, Laurent Orsini in 1993-94, Thomas Dupr?© in 1996-97, and Marco Baron in 2000-01. Dupre was the National Player of the Year following the 1997 season, and he and Baron were SEC Players of the Year in '97 and '01, respectively. Laurent Miquelard and Joc Simmons captured the 1994 NCAA doubles championship.

Baron, Dupre, Kristian Broems and David Ruiz earned Academic all-America honors a combined seven times from 1995-2002. State's squad has earned the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Academic Team Award in each of the last five seasons.


WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

The women's basketball competition in the SEC is quite substantial, but Sharon Fanning, now in her 10th season at the head of the program, has proven that Mississippi State can compete against the nation's best as the 21st century unfolds.

When Fanning's 2003 team earned an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, it marked the sixth straight postseason appearance for the women's basketball program. Not only did the Lady Bulldogs gain entrance into the nation's most prestigious women's tournament for a second straight season, they again won a first-round tournament game. The Lady Bulldogs matched the program record for wins in a season (24) that season, posted a best-ever 10 SEC triumphs, and finished the regular season ranked in the nation's top 13.

Prior to those back-to-back NCAA appearances in 2002 and '03, Fanning took MSU to the 2001 WNIT Tournament, advancing to the semifinals of that postseason event.

State saw its best previous successes in women's basketball during the 1999-2000 season when the Lady Bulldogs earned a second straight appearance in the NCAA Championship. That year, State's Lady Bulldogs notched school records for overall (24) and SEC (8) victories and advanced to the second round of the NCAAs. Following the season, Fanning was named SEC Coach of the Year and then-freshman sensation LaToya Thomas, the first rookie ever to lead the league in scoring, was named Kodak All-America and SEC Freshman of the Year.

LaToya ThomasFor the next four years, Thomas only added to her stellar credentials. She earned Kodak and Associated Press All-America accolades in each of her four seasons, each time again leading the SEC in scoring. She is one of only six players to ever be named a four-time Kodak All-American.

The 1999-2000 season's success was on the heels of the school's first-ever team selection to a women's NCAA Championship. State earned its first winning season since 1993 in 1998-99 at 17-11 overall and earned a trip to the NCAA Midwest Regional. That team finished .500 in league play for the first time in school history.

In 1998, MSU earned a berth in the Women's National Invitational Tournament, the second in school history.

Nine Lady Bulldogs made all-conference teams 16 times in the '90s, and three did so nine times during the first four years of the new century. High academic achievement is also a standard for the program as 28 Lady Bulldogs have earned SEC Honor Roll membership since 1990.


TRACK & FIELD

Another program with a bright future on the horizon is track and field.

From 2002 through '04, the men's team garnered national rankings both during the indoor and outdoor seasons. This past spring, Al Schmidt's State team tied for 20th nationally. Decathlete Trey Hardee, who won the SEC title in his specialty, led the way, finishing second in the country as just a sophomore. But he was not the only Bulldog to make waves nationally. Jamel Ashley earned two all-America awards by finishing eighth in the 400-meter dash and running a leg of the 4x400-meter relay team. All-Americans Arthur Davis, Keston Nelson and LaChristopher Lewis joined Ashley for a third-place finish at the NCAA meet.

One year prior, Pierre Browne won the school's first indoor national championships in 26 years, taking the 60-meter dash in a school-record 6.60. Browne followed that with a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash outdoors, earning his sixth all-America award. That tied him with Festus Igbinoghene for the most individual all-America honors in a career at MSU. Browne also grabbed the 55-meter dash title at the 2003 SEC Indoor Championships. In 2002, Browne finished third in both the 100m and 200m dashes outdoors while he also placed in the 60m and 200m indoors. His four all-America awards in 2002 is a school record for one year.

Marquis Davis also left an indelible mark on Starkville. The four-time, all-American finished second in the '03 NCAA Indoor Championships' 200-meter dash for the second straight year. Davis took home two SEC crowns in the 100- and 200-meter outdoor dashes. In 2002, Browne and Davis were MSU's third and fourth athletes to earn all-America accolades both indoors and outdoors in the same season. Kelvin Harris closed out his career for State as an all-American in the 110-meter hurdles. The school's record-holder with his time of 13.73, Harris finished eighth at the NCAA Outdoors. That year, State also had its second freshman ever to score at the outdoor championships when Hardee finished fifth in the decathlon. Lewis also became an all-American for the first time that season in the 400-meter dash.

For two straight years, State had five individual event all-Americans on the men's side at the NCAA Outdoors. In 2002, Browne and Dion Crabbe both became all-Americans in two individual events, the second and third Bulldogs to do that in one championship meet. Indoors, the team finished tied for ninth for the second straight year, scoring record-high points both times.

Tiffany McWilliamsOn the women's side, Tiffany McWilliams became the greatest female track athlete in Mississippi State history and accomplished that feat in just three years.

McWilliams won three national titles, all coming during her sophomore and junior seasons. Before turning professional following the 2004 campaign, the Red Bay, Ala., star won a pair of national championships, the outdoor 1,500 meters and the indoor mile. At the time of her wins in each event, she held the fastest time in the world. For her achievements, she was one of four national finalists for the Honda Award for Track and Field.

She won the 800- and 1,500-meter runs at the 2004 SEC Championship, claiming both titles in conference record times.

But as big as those championships were, her biggest accomplishment may have come at the Penn Relays where she won the Olympic Development Mile, defeating 13 professional milers, in the second-fastest time ever run at the Penn Relays.

McWilliams won the team's first NCAA championship in the 1,500 meters one year earlier and finished second in the indoor mile at the NCAA meet. She also won three SEC titles as a sophomore before setting the NCAA meet record in the 1,500 meters.

Elisha Williams became the first Lady Bulldog to earn indoor and outdoor all-America status in the same year in 2001. Ranked tops in the nation most of the year in the long jump, Williams took second place in the event at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Camille Harper also earned outdoor all-America accolades in the 100 meters.

Prior to those honors, LaTonya Hill earned all-America recognition in the heptathlon in 1997. April Ecke, who became the first Lady Bulldog ever named a cross country all-American in the fall of 1993, was the first to compete in the NCAA Championships. Also that year, a pair of Bulldogs, runners Aki Bradley and John Little, won all-America status, with Bradley repeating that feat in '94.


SOFTBALL

Softball began play in the spring of 1997 on the MSU campus, and State has done nothing but improve since that time posting eight straight winning campaigns, and four NCAA post-season showings in the last five years.

Karrie RiderThe program entered a new era in 2002-03 when veteran softball coach Jay Miller was hired to direct the Bulldogs. In his first season, Miller guided State to the NCAA Regional in Lincoln, Neb., finishing the year with a 34-30 record. Miller took his team back to NCAA regional competition this past spring, a return trip to the University of Nebraska.

In '97, MSU notched a 29-27 overall record in its first year of existence. A foreshadowing of greater things to come occurred in 1998 when the team advanced to the championship game of the SEC tournament in the program's second season, as MSU went 36-21.

The Bulldogs posted their third consecutive winning campaign in 1999, going 38-29, and Kellie Wilkerson became the school's first-ever, all-America selection.

In the spring of 2000, improvement was in the air again as State went 44-27 and earned its first-ever NCAA Championship appearance. The team won its first two games in the NCAA Regional at Seattle, Wash., before eventually losing to the homestanding and No. 1-ranked Lady Huskies.

The Bulldogs went 36-26 in 2001, nearly earning their second NCAA bid in as many years.

MSU was back in the NCAA Regional in 2002 and ended the campaign at 36-31. State softball players have earned all-America and all-SEC accolades 17 times (six players) in the program's eight years of existence. The team also paces the conference with 57 Academic all-SEC laurels during that time frame, leading the SEC three times.


MEN'S GOLF

The MSU men's golf program is intent on returning to the level of competition it enjoyed during the mid-1990s. New head coach Clay Homan, who was part of the Bulldogs' successes during that time, has already taken aim at reaching those achievements.

During those years, and specifically during the 1996 and '97 seasons, MSU men's golf reached a level of play in the SEC never before attained in school history. The '96 team won the university's first-ever SEC golf championship, taking the title on the tournament's final day. In addition, junior Graham Davidson, who was named the league's most outstanding player, won the league's individual medalist honors at the SEC event.

Greg Martin and Graham DavidsonThe team followed that top league finish with another conference title in '97. Like the previous year, the team won the SEC crown on the final day of the tournament. State went on to compete in an NCAA regional as a team for only the second time in school history.

In 1998, Michael Connell was named all-America for a second straight year and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Championship, a tournament appearance made by Tyler Crawford in 1995.

The Bulldogs also qualified for team NCAA regional play in '99 as State claimed the championship in three tournaments and was a top five finisher in nine of its 13 outings that year.

The team rode that success into the new millennium by reaching the final round of the 2000 NCAA Championship, the second-highest finish in school history. That success was sparked by Alex Rocha, who was named SEC Golfer of the Year.

The opening years of the final decade of the last century saw the program achieve heights never before reached by State golf. The Bulldogs scored their then-highest SEC finish ever, fourth, in 1991. A year earlier, State earned the program's first bid to the NCAA Regionals, and the Bulldogs followed by reaching the '91 NCAA Championship field, finishing 10th.


WOMEN'S GOLF

Promise in the new century is also evident on the links for Lady Bulldog golf.

Coach Christi Sanders' squad earned its first NCAA berth ever in 2000 after a solid campaign which saw MSU capture three tournament titles in the fall and end the spring with a school-record, sixth-place finish at the SEC Championship. State also had three tournament medalists to go along with those three fall wins with Anna Gertsson, Pia Josefsson and Lina Thoren all capturing tournament crowns. For her guidance efforts in 2000, Sanders was named SEC Coach of the Year, an honor she also earned in 1990.

State returned to the NCAAs in both 2002 and '03, competing in the NCAA East Regional each year. Until MSU's recent successes, Carri Wood had been the dominant figure in MSU women's golf. Her four years, 1990-93, brought one SEC individual championship in 1992 and three all-SEC selections, and also established her as State's most outstanding female athlete of the 1990s. She became the first women's golf all-American in the 15-year history of the program.

State has had three Lady Bulldog linksters qualify for the postseason in the '90s with Wood (1991-93), Amandine Vincent (1995) and Pia Josefsson (1997-99) all earning spots in NCAA competition. Wood played in the NCAA Championship finals in 1991 and 1992.


WOMEN'S TENNIS

It may not be very long before Lady Bulldog tennis joins the Bulldog netters among the country's elite programs as eighth-year head coach Tracy Lane has put State on the national map.

In 2001, the Lady Bulldogs made their third straight NCAA appearance (making the second round all three times) and finished ranked 34th nationally, their highest final ranking since 1989.

In 1999, Lane led the Lady Bulldogs to the first NCAA Team Championship berth in the program's 25-year history. In doing so, State won its first match in the NCAAs, blanking Washington State before falling to regional host Georgia the next day. State advanced to the second round of the NCAAs in each of the succeeding two seasons as well. That year, State also won the most SEC matches it had since 1991 and did not lose to a team ranked outside the top 25 the entire year.

It was 1989 when MSU had its greatest individual accomplishment in women's tennis as Lady Bulldogs Jackie Holden and Claire Pollard captured the NCAA doubles title.

Academically, the Lady Bulldog netters have been the most outstanding team on campus in recent years, earning ITA Academic Team honors in each of the last seven seasons. The award requires a team grade point average of 3.2 or higher.


VOLLEYBALL

Like football, the volleyball program entered a new era this past spring when Tina Seals was named head coach, and like men's golf, a former Mississippi State player has returned to the campus to guide a program in which the coach excelled as an athlete.

Tina Burcham Seals was named head coach of the volleyball program this past March following 12 seasons as head coach at Northwest-Shoals Community College. During her dozen years there, Seals' teams posted a 444-137 record and qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national tournament seven times. Her teams earned national top 10 rankings her final four seasons at the Muscle Shoals, Ala., based institution.

Jennifer ShupeThe volleyball program's first four-year letterman for the Lady Bulldogs, 1981-84, Seals launched her coaching career as an undergraduate assistant at MSU following her playing days.


SOCCER

The MSU soccer program has posted four winning seasons in its first nine years of existence, and the best of those campaigns came in 2001, when the Bulldogs captured the SEC's Western Division crown, the first SEC title of any kind by any MSU women's sports team ever.

Fourth-year head coach Neil McGuire, who was named the SEC Coach of the Year during that exciting effort, guided State to a 13-8 overall record in 2001, 5-4 in the SEC -- both win totals setting new school records.

In addition to several new team records that were set during that season, State also had two players - Jessi Moore and Amy Van Zandt - named all-SEC for the first time in program history. Moore's first-team accolade was the first-ever in program lore as well. Meredith Riekert was named all-SEC following the 1995 season, and Kirsten Olson was second-team in 2000.

A conference-leading 11 MSU soccer players were named Academic all-SEC in 1997 and over 70 have earned the honor in the program's eight-year history.


ACADEMICS

The 1990s saw unprecedented honors earned by State's student-athletes as well. State had over 20 student-athletes named academic all-America during the decade.

In the conference, State has been dominant. From 1998-2004, Mississippi State has placed student-athletes on the SEC Academic Honor Roll 678 times in the sports in which it competes, second-best in the league.

And in addition to baseball's Masters and Jackson and football's Westerfield earning the league's Scholar-Athlete award, three Lady Bulldogs also captured the female half of that honor: volleyball's Aimee York (1993), basketball's Tammy Newlon (1994) and track's April Ecke (1995). Their selections mark the only time the award had been claimed by the same school three straight years.


FACILITIES

The last decade-plus has also seen a building boom in Bulldog Country.

The Leo Seal M-Club Center, opened in 1990, dominates the south end of Scott Field. A gift of former State lineman Leo Seal Jr., in honor of his father, also an MSU letterman, the $1.1 million facility provides a setting for gameday gatherings and formal university functions.

A million-dollar expansion and refurbishing of the 17-year-old Shira Fieldhouse Complex was completed in 1995 after three years of work, and ground has been broken on a further expansion of the school's primary practice, training, and strength and conditioning facility. Funded by years of increased football ticket sales and bowl revenues, the initial expansion provided a new locker room, state-of-the-art weight and conditioning facilities, team meeting/video classrooms and new equipment and training rooms. The most recent construction work will provide additional locker rooms, medical training and strength and conditioning space.

Bryan BuildingThe crown jewel of State's expansions last decade opened in January 1996 when the John H. Bryan Athletic Administration Building was completed. Named in honor of longtime MSU friend and supporter John H. Bryan Sr., this showcase building houses administrative, football, ticket office, athletic development and media relations staff.

Renovation continued into 1996-97 with the completion of State's softball field and the renovation of locker rooms in Humphrey Coliseum to better accommodate MSU's commitment to gender equity.

In 1998, Humphrey Coliseum received a complete renovation adding nearly 1,000 seats and giving the facility a welcome new look. In summer 1999, the Turman Fieldhouse at Scott Field was gutted and refurbished with a new locker room for the football team and a new recruiting area was created.

Also that summer, the renovation of McCarthy Gymnasium into a two-court indoor tennis facility to accommodate State's nationally prominent net squads was completed.

Facility expansion was also completed at State's Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium in 1999, adding nearly 1,000 chairback seats in the main grandstand as well as 18 luxury skyboxes. This past spring, a state-of-the-art jumbotron scoreboard and message center was erected in right field of the baseball stadium, thanks to a gift from the Henry Mize Foundation.

A $30 million expansion at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field was finished in entirety for the final two games of the 2001 season. That East side project, which began in June 2000, includes a 1,700-seat club level seating area with a 17,000-square foot lounge, 50 skyboxes and an upper deck that mimics the facility's West side. That project, along with a permanent seating addition in the North end zone in 2002, raised capacity to 55,082.


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