Coach Sylvester Croom gone from Mississippi State

After its humiliating football loss to Ole Miss (45 – 0) Friday, MSU has announced the resignation of coach Sylvester Croom, the first black head football coach in the Southeastern Conference. Most MSU fans were probably happy at Croom’s decision, though many will likewise sympathize with the man. What lies ahead for the Maroon and White, and for Coach Croom? Have you a recommendation for a new head coach? Will new MSU President Mark Keenum have a say in the search and decision? Your comments welcome.

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Published in: on November 30, 2008 at 5:46 pm  Comments (2)  

Mississippi’s big-3 universities – football powerhouses not

Ole Miss won three national football championships (1959, 1960, and 1962) under the leadership of coach John Vaught. Neither Mississippi State nor Southern Mississippi has ever come close. In recent years the three programs have failed to produce teams of national note. This past weekend saw all three go down to defeat. What’s the problem? Do you think Mississippi will ever again produce a national football championship? What would you recommend the universities do to get back on the winning track?

Published in: on September 21, 2008 at 11:41 am  Comments (3)  

Should Jeff Bowers have been fired?

One of our readers is very upset with the powers at USM for their firing of football coach Jeff Bowers. She writes

 

I AM SO ANGRY AT THE FIRING OF JEFF BOWERS.  I THINK THE DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS FOR USM SHOULD BE FIRED AND USM SHOULD BEG JEFF TO COME BACK.  I THINK EVERY ALUMNI OF USM IS SO MAD RIGHT NOW AND WISH THEY COULD DO SOMETHING!!!!  JEFF BOWERS IS AN INSTITUTION IN HIMSELF!!  SEE THE EDITORIAL IN TODAYS SPORTS SECTION.

(The following is courtesy of the Vicksburg Post)

Like freshman algebra, Giannini fails miserably with Bower firing November 27, 2007 In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Southern Miss graduate, class of 1996. With the exception of freshman algebra, I never made a mistake at Southern Miss as big as the one the Golden Eagles’ athletic director made on Monday, parting ways with a ridiculously loyal coach who wins games and graduates players. Repeat after me. Jeff Bower wins games. He graduates athletes. He goes to bowl games. He rarely, if ever, attracts the attention of the NCAA, an organization that can find violations for just about everything. Now he is unemployed because, as athletic director Richard Giannini said, the fan base is divided. First off, what fan base? Most of Hattiesburg doesn’t care about the university’s football program. When Brett Favre quarterbacked the Golden Eagles, the stadium was rarely sold out. When the Eagles were ranked in the Top 25, the 33,000 seat M.M. Roberts Stadium had plenty of folks dressed as empty seats. The first game I ever saw in person in 1992 drew an exaggerated crowd total of 14,000. In the next 12 years, the school doubled its attendance per game and earned respect nationally for their willingness to play anyone anywhere. And how did Bower do it? With a shoe-string budget and an ability to attract the best possible athletes to a state that produces some fine talent, but a talent pie cut into too many pieces. Most of the best players this state produces head away, choosing Auburn or Tennessee or LSU. The second-tier, still good players would rather play for the two Southeastern Conference teams in this state. That leaves Southern Miss with the task of traveling the back roads of this state, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana looking for players who can win. And win they did. Every year since 1994 the Golden Eagles have fielded a winning team. Maybe not flashy, but consistent — a mirror of its head coach. So it boils down to this — seven or eight wins a year, every year, just couldn’t cut the mustard. That excuse would work at Alabama or LSU, but Southern Miss? Yes the Papajohns.com Bowl is as appetizing as the pizza company that sponsors it, but it is a postseason bowl, and there are a lot of schools that would love to go to a bowl game every year with a team full of players who can read and write. This will be the 10th bowl game in 11 years, by the way. But now, Giannini forced Bower from his post unceremoniously. The man gave his heart and soul to that team only to have it trampled on because of a fractured fan base that never existed in the first place. People in Hattiesburg care little about the school and as long as it is referred to, unofficially, as a commuter school, the students will be hit or miss as well. Giannini now says he will take on the search by himself, trying to find a Band-Aid big enough to rally a fan base that never existed. Meanwhile, a winning coach who stays out of trouble and takes teams to the postseason every year is looking for a job. I imagine there are plenty of athletic directors who will look at Bower’s resume, his salary requirements, his loyalty, his penchant for winning and attracting bonafide student-athletes to a school with no athletic budget and no chance at a national championship, with a quizzical look. They’ll ask, “now why were you fired?” They wouldn’t be the only ones. * 

Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post.

 

Your comments are invited.

 

Published in: on November 28, 2007 at 9:32 pm  Comments (11)  

Bulldogs crush Rebels

In spirit, anyway. The Mississippi State Bulldogs pulled out a memorable come-from-behind football victory Friday afternoon in Starkville. The Dawgs scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of the game to best their rivals from Oxford 17-14. Does the victory foretell changes at the schools? For example… Will Sylvester Croom become the winningest coach in MSU history? Will Ed Ogeron survive the wrath of Ole Miss students and alumni? Will 0-8 in SEC conference play become the norm for the boys in blue? Will MSU be SEC West champs next year?

You may wish to share your own thoughts about the game, its outcome, and the consequences (if any). Foul language is forbidden, please.

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 9:29 pm  Comments (8)