Monday, February 10, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
 
And the beat goes on: WMSV celebrates 20 year milestone with music, memories
Station Manager Steve Ellis remembers that morning 20 years ago. The time was just before 6 a.m., March 21, 1994, and he was about to flip the switch for the first broadcast from WMSV 91.1, a new radio station on the Mississippi State University campus. It was a big moment -- the result of a student-centered movement, including a petition and referendum. An earlier campus station had been off the air for a long time; people were ready. A lot of thought went into the debut. What listeners first heard was Ellis' voice: "The next sound you hear will be one you've been waiting for for three years -- WMSV-Starkville" and then a brief clip of Pink Floyd asking the world, "Is there anybody out there?" Turns out, there was.
 
MSU's ag economics department turns 100
A leading environmental economist will be the featured speaker Feb. 13 as Mississippi State University commemorates the centennial birthday of the agricultural economics department. University alumnus Richard T. Carson, now an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, will speak at 2 p.m. in McCool Hall's Taylor Auditorium. The event is free and open to all. Led by Steve Turner, the agricultural economics department boasts more than 2,000 alumni, including MSU President Mark Keenum, state economist Darrin Webb and former TVA chair Glenn McCullough. "The department has been an asset to the state," Turner said. "Our faculty provides economic analysis on business and agri-business ventures, design enterprise scale planning budgets on a variety of crops, and estimate agricultural land values for use in tax assessments."
 
MSU Bus Service Starts New Year With A Bang
During the first three days of the 2014 spring semester, buses of the new Starkville-Mississippi State University Area Rapid Transit carried a total of 15,250 riders. S.M.A.R.T. is an expansion of an earlier shuttle system that primarily was focused on the MSU campus. The new service provides campus-to-city service from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, with a couple of routes also operating Saturdays. MSU officials said last Friday daily ridership continues to increase as the new transportation service works to carry out its mission of more easily linking a growing campus with a growing city. "We began running the entire system on Jan. 6 with one bus per route, and we rolled out all 16 buses on Jan. 13," said Mike Harris, MSU's outgoing director of parking and transit operations. Jeremiah Dumas assumes duties Monday as the system's interim director.
 
MSU Lyceum event to feature bard-inspired 'green-eyed monster'
Shakespeare's popular tragedy that plums the depths of jealously and rage launches the 2014 spring Lyceum Series at Mississippi State. "Othello" will be performed at the university Feb. 20 by veteran actors of the Virginia-based American Shakespeare Company. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium. To provide some pleasures enjoyed by playgoers of Shakespeare's time, the program will feature universal lighting that enables actors and audience members to see each other. While on campus, members of the ASC troupe also will lead workshops for students and teachers at both MSU and Golden Triangle secondary schools.
 
MSU Professor Developing Privacy Phone App
A local professor is developing a new phone app to help people protect their privacy. It's part of Mississippi State University professor Robert Crossler's "Privacy That Matters" research project, which recently won an international competition. "It's just easy with a click of a button, your information could be out there before you know it," said MSU student Alyce Turner. That's why Crossler is developing the new phone app. He wants people to be more careful protecting their privacy.
 
New degree at MSU-Meridian offers several career options
When Mississippi State University-Meridian began offering the bachelor of applied technology in healthcare services in the fall of 2013, Stephanie Felton of Meridian was the first student to enroll. This unique degree allows students who may have earned healthcare related technical credits while at a community college, to use up to 28 of those credits toward a bachelor's degree. For Felton, who was used to a smaller campus and class size first at Clarkdale and then Meridian Community College, MSU-Meridian was a perfect fit. "The campus feels like home, which made it easier for me to adjust. I've loved all my professors so far -- they've been very helpful. And I really like that going here allows me to stay home with my family and work, while still earning a degree from Mississippi State."
 
Graves' discovery affects Mississippi medical school's plans
Future progress for the state's longtime medical school has collided with the ghosts of Mississippi's past -- the discovery of a 1,000 bodies buried on its campus and the likelihood of more. Officials of the fast-growing University of Mississippi Medical Center had planned to build a parking garage east of the dental school, where a grove of trees now sits. But testing in the area revealed 1,000 bodies, believed to have been patients at the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum a century ago. During 2012 construction on the crossing of East University Drive and University Drive on campus, workers discovered the first of 66 pine coffins that held bodies, leading UMMC to contact state archives and Mississippi State University. Biological anthropologist Nicholas Herrmann, an associate professor at MSU, said through recent testing, they've been able to get a good idea of the location of the asylum graves. What is less certain, he said, is where other cemeteries might have been.
 
More movies coming to Mississippi
When "Mississippi Grind" starts filming in March at the IP Casino, Ryan Reynolds will join an A-list of actors who have starred in movies filmed on the Coast -- Russell Crowe and Al Pacino in 1999 and Denzel Washington in 1991. In fact, since the early days of film, movie makers have found the Magnolia State a desirable location for shooting. In more recent years, Mississippi has claimed the hit "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and the blockbuster "The Help." n 2013, production companies shot 24 projects in Mississippi, including film, television and commercials, Mississippi Film Office Director Ward Emling said. Emling said there are two-year film programs at Hinds Community College and Pearl River Community College as well as four-year programs at the University of Southern Mississippi, a documentary and film minor program at the University of Mississippi and post-production programs at Mississippi State University.
 
People on the Move: Mississippi State University
Jay McCurdy, a native of Dyer, Tenn., has joined the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station as a state turf specialist. McCurdy has worked on his family's farm, where they raised row crops, cattle and sod, and as a golf course superintendent in Hong Kong, where he performed research and designed and implemented turf grass evaluation and management techniques. He received a doctorate in agronomy and soils from Auburn University.
 
Oktibbeha supervisors taking hands-off approach to Unity Park issues
District 3 Supervisor Marvel Howard informally handed off short- and long-term Unity Park planning responsibilities to a new group of concerned citizens last Monday. The group is now assigned the tasks of planning an unveiling ceremony and deciding the criteria for future monuments. If the group is able to secure donations, members tentatively said they will honor the late Starkville-based physician, writer and civil rights leader Douglas Conner and the historic "Game of Change" when the Mississippi State University men's basketball team defied the governor by stealing away to play an integrated Loyola University team in the NCAA Tournament in East Lansing, Mich., in 1963.
 
Crushing 1994 ice storm hit economy, comfort
Twenty years ago this week, a tree-shattering, line-snapping ice storm froze northern Mississippi, an epic weather event that left much of the region paralyzed and powerless for periods ranging from a few days to several weeks. Twenty-six counties, including most of Northeast Mississippi, suffered major disruption in the Feb. 9-11 storm and 750,000 people at the height of impact were without electricity and drinkable water. The estimated damage was $1 billion, comparable to a major hurricane.
 
Review: 'Spies of Mississippi': Espionage in the heart of Dixie
"There's America, there's the South and then there's Mississippi," Lyndon B. Johnson is quoted as saying in Dawn Porter's documentary film "Spies of Mississippi." A realization of Rick Bowers' 2010 book on the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, the film premieres Monday on PBS; not coincidentally, it is Black History Month, to which public television has long been one of the most faithful and visible contributors. The voices heard in the documentary remind us that while there is a New South, even in Mississippi, the old guard has not yet passed.
 
Congressional civil rights pilgrimage to stop in Mississippi
Rep. John Lewis, a legend of the civil rights movement, will lead an annual congressional pilgrimage to the South next month that will stop in Mississippi to mark 50 years since three civil rights workers were murdered in one of the movement's defining moments. The murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in 1964 drew national attention to the brutal treatment of blacks in the South and increased support for dismantling the region's system of segregation. About 150 people, including about 25 members of Congress, are expected to make the pilgrimage hosted by the Faith and Politics Institute. The pilgrimage, from March 7-9, will include stops in Clarksdale, Money, Ruleville and Jackson.
 
McDaniel outraised, outspent Cochran early
Tea Party-backed candidate Chris McDaniel, challenging Mississippi's senior incumbent U.S. senator for the Republican nomination in the June 3 primary, welcomes earmarks more than his rhetoric suggests, just a different kind of earmark than those Thad Cochran has brought to the state. McDaniel's fundraising efforts during the three-month period ending Dec. 31 outpaced the six-term Cochran by $227,414, according to the first campaign finance reports from both candidates since the challenger entered the race in October. Both candidates have been busy raising campaign cash since the beginning of 2014, but those funds won't show up until later in Federal Election Commission financial reports.
 
Bryant eyes more access without Medicaid growth
Gov. Phil Bryant's proposals totaling more than $12 million to enhance access to health care for uninsured Mississippians are pending in the Legislature. But some question whether the governor's proposals are the most efficient use of scarce state funds. Legislation in the Senate would provide $3.2 million to provide grants to federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics while a House proposal would provide $4.8 million for the two sets of clinics designed to provide health care to the poor and indigent. Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, and others say the governor's plan is "a hodgepodge" that only maintains the status quo and does little to expand access to health care while the state is losing millions per day in federal health care funds by refusing the Medicaid expansion.
 
Analysis: House seeks to end self-destruct switch
A figurative self-destruct switch is turned on at many state agencies in Mississippi. No time bombs are ticking in the office buildings that overlook the Capitol. But laws that authorize many agencies specify a date that the law will be repealed and the agency will cease to exist. Those repealers are traditionally one of the ways that the state's powerful Legislature has kept departments and commissions on a short leash. Because agencies must return every few years to have their operating authority renewed by the Legislature, lawmakers get a guaranteed chance to make changes in an agency's mission or pressure agency heads to operate differently.
 
'Repealers' Could Be A Surprise Political Fight
Democrats and Republicans in the Mississippi Legislature are having a series of battles over an arcane legislative rule known as repealers. Democrats feel that the Republican majority is attempting to wrestle more legislative power. Bills in both chambers have been filed to remove about two dozen of these so-called repealers on everything from tax cuts, to agriculture lending programs, to the authority to regulate deer enclosures.
 
GOP skips Obama farm bill signing
Republicans skipped President Obama's signing ceremony on Friday for the $956 billion farm bill. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that 50 lawmakers including many Republicans were invited to the bill signing ceremony at Michigan State University, but no GOP members agreed to come, including Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). He was instrumental in getting more generous price-based subsidies for southern farmers and for keeping a catfish inspection program in place that critics say is meant to protect southern producers. "The new farm bill is an important achievement, particularly for the rural communities that sustain agricultural production in Mississippi and throughout the country," Cochran said.
 
Farm bill signed; USDA on the clock
Now the clock starts ticking for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. President Barack Obama on Friday signed a new five-year farm bill that will sink billions more dollars into crop insurance, provide desperately sought disaster assistance for ranchers and overhaul the way the government supports dairy farmers. "It helps rural communities grow, gives farmers some certainty [and] puts in place important reforms," Obama said, standing in front of a green John Deere tractor and a produce display, at Michigan State University. Also in tow on the trip was Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who will be in charge of prioritizing what in the 949-page bill gets implemented first and how to get the new programs up and running.
 
Farm Bureau Report Finds Need for Immigration Overhaul
Immigration reform that focuses solely on enforcement would cut agriculture production and cause a sharp rise in food prices, according to a new study released on Monday. The study -- which was commissioned by the American Farm Bureau, the nation's largest farm lobby organization -- said food prices would increase an additional 5 to 6 percent over the next five years if enforcement-only policies were put into place, because of a lack of workers to harvest crops. It would cost the agriculture sector as much as $60 billion over the same period. The study comes as Congress and the Obama administration are debating immigration overhaul proposals that would address the status of the country's estimated 11 million unauthorized workers.
 
UAW, Auto Industry Hold Breath on VW Vote
The future of the United Auto Workers union and a large swath of the U.S. auto industry may be decided this week when workers at the three-year-old Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga vote on whether they want union representation. If the UAW prevails in the vote, it would be a rejuvenating victory for an organization whose membership rolls and influence have declined steadily for 30 years as GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. struggled and downsized. It would also signal new hope for unionizing other foreign-owned plants in the South, where antiunion sentiment runs deep. The vote is being closely watched by governors and business leaders in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina, homes of other foreign-owned, nonunion plant.
 
Experts warn of coming wave of serious cybercrime
The rash of attacks against Target and other top retailers is likely to be the leading edge of a wave of serious cybercrime, as hackers become increasingly skilled at breaching the nation's antiquated payment systems, experts say. Traditional defenses such as installing antivirus software and monitoring accounts for unusual activity have offered little resistance against Eastern European criminal gangs whose programmers write malicious code aimed at specific targets or buy inexpensive hacking kits online. Armed with such tools, criminals can check for system weaknesses in wireless networks, computer servers or stores' card readers. Although experts predict that retail cyberattacks are likely to increase, the long-term forecast is a matter of debate.
 
Cybersecurity in slow lane one year after Obama order
Nearly a year after President Barack Obama issued an executive order to improve the cybersecurity of the nation's vital assets, the administration doesn't have much to show: The government is about to produce only some basic standards, with little incentive for the private sector to participate. The program's early weaknesses are a sign that -- even as high-profile breaches at Target and other retailers compromise the data of millions of consumers -- the White House and Congress have made minimal progress on the potentially more serious issue of protecting power plants, oil pipelines and major banks from a crippling cyberattack.
 
Medical marijuana gains traction in the Deep South
Medical marijuana has been a non-starter in recent years in the Deep South, where many Republican lawmakers feared it could lead to widespread drug use and social ills. That now appears to be changing, with proposals to allow a form of medical marijuana gaining momentum in a handful of Southern states. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and this year powerful GOP lawmakers in Georgia and Alabama are putting their weight behind bills that would allow for the limited use of cannabis oil by those with specific medical conditions. Other Southern states are also weighing the issue with varying levels of support.
 
Methodists in crisis over gay marriage, church law
The dispute among United Methodists over recognition of same-sex couples has lapsed into a doctrinal donnybrook, pitting clergy who are presiding at gay weddings in defiance of church law against proponents of traditional marriage who are trying to stop them. Since 2011, Methodist advocates for gay marriage have been recruiting clergy to openly officiate at same-sex ceremonies in protest of church policy. In response, theological conservatives have sought formal complaints against the defiant clergy, which could lead to church trials. One scholar has warned that Methodists are "retreating into our various camps" instead of seeking a resolution over an issue the church has formally debated since the 1970s. The intensity of the conflict was laid bare over the last several months.
 
Local officials preparing for winter weather
The threat of snow and ice accumulations in the area is causing local officials to make important safety decisions and other preparations. The question that students seem to obsess about when winter weather is forecast was heard around town yesterday: Will school be cancelled? At the time of The DM publication Sunday, no decision had been officially made. "We are watching the situation very closely," University of Mississippi Communications Director Danny Blanton said Sunday afternoon. "We are maintaining close contact with both the county and state emergency management agencies. We will probably make a decision sometime (Monday) about possibly suspending classes or canceling school altogether."
 
Ole Miss Union to begin $50 million expansion
The University of Mississippi will begin a four-year, $50 million renovation and expansion of its Student Union this summer. The Ole Miss Student Union will increase from 97,000 square feet to about 157,000 square feet, said Leslie Banahan, UM assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. "It's going to dramatically improve what we can offer our students," Banahan said. The project will add space for student work, meetings and performances, along with a student government chamber with theater seating. "This new renovated and expanded Student Union will become the true heart of the campus," Banahan said.
 
USM president talks tornado anniversary
"I remain very grateful that, as a result of an f-4 tornado, that coming through South Mississippi and Hattiesburg, that we did not have any injuries or loss of life," said Dr. Rodney Bennett, president of the University of Southern Mississippi. Parts of the Pine Belt remain affected by the tornado's wrath, almost one year after it hit on Feb. 10, 2013. The Ogletree House and the Elam Arms dormitory were badly damaged. The university's beloved rose garden was ripped away, and oak trees were uprooted. A mere three days before the tornado hit, Bennett became president of USM.
 
Cutting-edge equipment is presented at Co-Lin Community College board
Copiah-Lincoln Community College opened its first board of trustees meeting of the year with a look at cutting-edge manufacturing equipment recently purchased by the college to encourage increased interest in the field and potentially increase enrollment at the college. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant is a $14 million grant partnership with other regional colleges. Grant funds are to be allocated for specific career pathways, such as industrial information technology and cyber security.
 
LSU: Innovation put to the forefront
A team of LSU scientists thinks it is on its way to developing a pill that would block the virus that often leads to cervical cancer. They've been working on it for nearly a decade. Their problem is they're low on funding. It's a familiar roadblock for academic researchers all over the country. They come up with a concept for an invention or new technology; they conduct the preliminary tests, then can't find the money needed to get their product to the market. Closing that funding gap is something LSU President F. King Alexander has identified as a priority. Earlier this month, LSU's Board of Supervisors created a fund that would help researchers turn their ideas into something tangible that can be sold.
 
Private-Sector Housing in Fayetteville Chases U. of Arkansas Student Growth
Another round of private-sector student housing is in motion to tap the enrollment growth at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Leading the way is The Cardinal at West Center, a 471-bed project expected to open this summer at 831 W. Center St., one block south of campus. In addition to this $23 million development, plans are moving forward on four other projects that could bring a combined 1,865 beds on line by summer 2016. "You're going to see several things pop," said Seth Mims, president and partner at Specialized Real Estate Group of Fayetteville, a co-developer of The Cardinal. "There's going to be a pretty good wave in 2016."
 
U. of Arkansas Students at Fay Jones School of Architecture Getting 'The Wright Stuff'
The move of the Bachman Wilson House to the grounds of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is presenting opportunities for students of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas. The museum is collaborating with the school to involve architecture students in the relocation of the house. Students will spend three semesters not only learning about the construction procedures involved in reconstructing the house but will also design, develop and build a small architectural interpretation pavilion nearby for visitors to learn more about the house and its designer, Frank Lloyd Wright.
 
U. of Tennessee kicks off 2014 RecycleMania competition
If you want to help the University of Tennessee win a tournament this March, look for recycling bins instead of trash cans. No, not that tournament. The school is one of hundreds competing across the U.S. and Canada in the 2014 RecycleMania, a competition to see which campus can reduce, reuse and recycle the most garbage. The competition includes 11 categories, including recycling during basketball games and who can recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans and bottles. Winners are determined based on the percentage of waste reduction. "It's an opportunity to raise awareness about our campus recycling program and the 5 Rs of waste reduction: refuse what you do not need, reduce what you do need, reuse what you consume, recycle what you cannot reuse, and rot (compost) the rest," said Bea Ross of UT Recycling.
 
Colorful history of U. of Kentucky building slated for demolition sparks conversation
On Sept. 3, 1939, a German submarine torpedoed the USS Athenia, a British ship, and 1,000 passengers scrambled for safety. Among them was a young Lexington woman named Adele Headley, daughter of Keeneland founder Hal Price Headley. A yacht called the Southern Cross picked up more than 300 of the Athenia's passengers, including Adele, according to press reports. The yacht was owned by the Swedish industrialist Axel Wenner-Gren -- who, coincidentally, a year later, would fund an aeronautics laboratory on the University of Kentucky campus. That building, the iconic, curved brick Wenner-Gren Laboratory, is now slated for demolition in favor of a new science building on Rose Street, but its unique history and design have sparked a new conversation about conservation on the UK campus.
 
Texas A&M prepares to hand over student email hosting to Google
Technology giant Google is set to take over the hosting of Texas A&M student email by the end of the year. Top administrators have signed off on an email outsourcing plan that will ditch the A&M-operated email in favor of Gmail for students and Microsoft Exchange for faculty and staff. A&M Provost Karan Watson has approved the recommendation of an email committee that met last semester and was headed by Pierce Cantrell, A&M's vice president and associate provost for information. The overhaul is part of the fallout from a massive $900,000 Information Technology audit concluded last year by Omaha-based Deloitte LLC. A&M estimates the start-up costs for the email switch at about $10,000 and annual expenditures at about $340,000. Comparatively, Cantrell said, the university spends about $1.5 million a year to administer its own email.
 
Retirement of Dean Mills marks 'end of an era' for Missouri School of Journalism
The dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism announced he is retiring after 25 years at his post. But he isn't leaving campus just yet. Dean Mills announced his retirement last week in an email to journalism faculty, adding that he is accepting a part-time job as the director of the Reynolds Fellows program at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. His retirement is effective Aug. 31. During Mills' tenure as dean, the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute was launched with the help of a $31 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Since then, the programs that the institute offers have expanded, including the area that Mills will now spearhead: the fellowship program.
 
Survey suggests politicians overstate public's desire for vocational view of higher ed
Everywhere you look, politicians are asserting that the public and taxpayers are questioning the value of higher education -- and that their disappointment stems primarily from the fact that increasingly pricey degrees colleges aren't leading to jobs. A soon-to-be-released survey shows that the politicians have part of the story right: Americans are concerned about the value of a college degree. But the survey also suggests that policy makers pushing colleges to focus more on short-term job outcomes, and on science and technology disciplines over other fields, are not accurately reflecting the public's views -- at least when members of the public have spent some time thinking about higher education.
 
OUR OPINION: Farm bill wins full vote of state's delegation
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Mississippi's congressional delegation -- one Democrat and five Republicans -- all voted for passage of the new Farm Bill, a huge piece of legislation ensuring program direction and the federal government's policy role with virtually every crop, plus federal nutrition assistance, where most of the money will be spent. ...The bill doesn't fully please everyone, but the support for a broad range of programs, policies and what's called investment of federal resources helped a coalition of political interests hold together for passage. Honest compromise is increasingly rare in congressional policymaking, but the farm bill achieved that with strong bipartisan support."
 
LYNN SPRUILL (OPINION): It's smart
Starkville resident Lynn Spruill writes in the Dispatch: "I know they thought I was some crazy person. I drove slowly by a couple of times and waved so they wouldn't think I was hostile and then turned in and sat observing them for a few minutes. It was on a recent Saturday when I saw three Mississippi State University trucks near the mailbox stand on Lynn Lane. They were erecting the new bus shelter. I have been watching the progress of that construction for a couple of months because it has the distinction of being one of the few new locations for the bus stop serving the transportation project between the city of Starkville and MSU. I believe it is symbol of a significant occurrence for Starkville and by extension MSU and the county."
 
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): House speaker passes the test
The Clarion-Leger's Geoff Pender writes: "Well played, Mr. House Speaker, well played. Republican Speaker Philip Gunn last week fooled his enemies and amazed his friends as the House passed his teacher pay raise. The vote was viewed as a test of his speakershipdom. He passed. He kept his Republicans in line. He outmaneuvered the large House Democratic minority. He's gotten tacit approval from the governor, who'd been lukewarm on the raise. He's boxed Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and the Senate into a corner. A teacher pay raise, initially seen as a very long shot, now looks likely."


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State improves, but falls short against Kentucky
John Calipari sat down and raved about Mississippi State's effort. Then for the next seven minutes he ripped into his team's lack of hustle. A 69-59 win at Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday wasn't good enough for 18th-ranked Kentucky and certainly not Calipari. Julius Randle's 16 points led a charge of nine Wildcats that scored. MSU (13-10, 3-7 SEC) had four players finish in double figures. Gavin Ware, Trivante Bloodman and Craig Sword led the way with 12 apiece. "When you play hard like that, when you have that competitive spirit you can compete against anybody," MSU coach Rick Ray said. "We're just not where we need to be as far as our bodies and our offensive skill level." Georgia, which is 1-5 on the road, comes to Starkville on Wednesday.
 
LOGAN LOWERY (OPINION): Another solid class for Mullen
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "I have to admit that national signing day was a little less chaotic for me this year. That's mostly because the previous five were spent with Rivals.com, a community of websites that specializes in football and basketball recruiting year round. My time covering recruiting also coincides with Dan Mullen's tenure at Mississippi State. I even got to peek behind the curtain to see how the machine works a couple of years ago when Mullen brought me in to interview for a recruiting coordinator position on his staff. ...I thought Mullen and his staff did a great job addressing needs and landed another solid class."
 
Utah QB coach expected to join Mississippi State staff
Utah quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson interviewed at Mississippi State on Thursday and is the school's top choice to fill a vacant coaching position, sources told The Clarion-Ledger. Mississippi State sources have said that Johnson, 26, is expected to join the Bulldogs staff. An announcement is expected later. It's unlikely Johnson would take the role as offensive coordinator, but he could work with the quarterbacks -- the position he starred at in college.
 
Business executives share their favorite reads
The Clarion-Ledger asks, "What's your favorite business book, and what did you take away from it?" John Cohen, baseball coach, Mississippi State University: "David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell.
 
Bulldogs sweep weekend softball action
The first weekend of softball for Mississippi State was pretty close to perfect. After the Bulldogs made just one error in five games, all wins, and outscoring opponents 43-3, coach Vann Stuedeman couldn't find much to complain about -- except for maybe the weather a little bit. MSU capped play in the Bulldog Kickoff Classic with an 8-0 victory in five innings over Jacksonville State Sunday. "We were excited to see the fans come out and the weather get a little bit warmer," Stuedeman said. "Friday night was really cold, but the girls responded to the conditions very well. It was nice to see the bats get hot. We had the whole staff pitch this weekend and we made one error. (I'm) really excited about our start. We'll have to dig deep and continue to work hard as we prepare for the conference season."
 
Mississippi State softball completes perfect weekend
Caroline Seitz may have been listening to the hype. A lot of the Mississippi State softball team's hopes for a successful season in softball hinge on a highly-touted freshman class. Seitz, a freshman infielder from Birmingham, is part of that class. This weekend, Seitz felt right at home as she homered in back-to-back games, helping MSU to a 5-0 start in the season-opening Bulldog Kickoff Classic. The undefeated run through the three-day event was capped by an 8-0, five-inning win over Jacksonville State Sunday at the MSU Softball Field.
 
Mizzou's Michael Sam: 'I am an openly, proud gay man'
Michael Sam is hoping to become the first openly gay NFL player. Sam, a unanimous All-American defensive end for Missouri this past season, came out to ESPN and the New York Times on Sunday night, telling his story of personal discovery and his hopes for the future. Sam told both outlets he let the team know at a meeting before the season, uncrumpling a balled-up piece of paper and telling everyone who he is: "My teammates were very supportive. They rallied around me, and they support me even now. "We are so proud of Michael for what he has accomplished at Mizzou academically, socially and competitively," athletics director Mike Alden said in a statement. "We work very hard at the University of Missouri to provide an environment that is respectful and inclusive of all people. We're pleased with the strides we've made over the years with our student-athletes, coaches and staff about respecting and celebrating our differences."



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