Roses and thorns: 2/17/13

February 16, 2013 10:31:04 PM



A thorn to Mississippi State Athletics Director Scott Stricklin, who should have known better. Earlier this week, the MSU basketball team lost to Missouri in a most embarrassing fashion. The Bulldogs scored just 10 points in the first half and lost 78-36, the largest margin of defeat ever at MSU's Humphrey Coliseum. This loss emphasizes a horrible decision made last spring when Stricklin engineered the forced retirement of Rick Stansbury, the winningest coach in MSU history. New coach Rick Ray cannot be faulted; he inherited a team decimated by player departures, injuries and suspensions. Going into Saturday, MSU has won just seven of 23 games and may not win another. 


Interestingly, Stricklin is the son-in-law of Bailey Howell, widely regarded as the greatest MSU basketball player of all-time. Howell could have told his son-in-law all about the perils of dumping a successful coach. Bailey's own coach at MSU, Babe McCarthy, was similarly rewarded for his success by being shown the door. It took MSU years to return to prominence after McCarthy's misguided dismissal. Clearly, it will take years for MSU to recover from Stansbury's departure, too. Now we are seeing the consequences of that "what have you done for me lately" decision. The once-proud MSU program is the laughingstock of college basketball. 




A rose to Mississippi University for Women President Dr. Jim Borsig, who was officially installed as the school's president with a Friday ceremony. After some lean years marked by dissension among alumni and staff, it's nice to note the spirit of harmony that has returned to school's campus since Borsig was announced as the school's president in January 2012. Now that everyone is pulling in the same direction, the future looks promising for The W. 




A thorn to the Lowndes County District Attorney's office, which appears intent on trying Charlton Aaron Colom on a possession of a firearm by a felon for the third time. This week, Colom's case ended in a mistrial, with the jury vote of 6-5-1. A previous trial on the same charge ended with a 6-6 deadlock. Clearly, the evidence against Colom was not compelling enough to convince either jury. In the absence of any new evidence that could be presented in a third trial, any effort to continue to pursue the case must be viewed as a waste of taxpayer money. Two juries didn't believe the D.A.'s case. A third won't, either. Time to move on. 




A rose to the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitor's Bureau for its efforts in bringing a Memphis BBQ Network event to town. The event, which will attract as many as 100 teams from throughout the country to compete for a spot in the national championships in Las Vegas, will be held March 8-9 at the Columbus Fairgrounds. With hundreds of competitors in Columbus for the event, it will be a real boon for the hotels and restaurants in town. The Memphis BBQ event represents precisely the sort of events the CVB should be pursuing, events that bring visitors to town to stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants. Bravo! 




A thorn to Kenneth Hughes, chief financial officer for the Columbus Municipal School District, who told the CMSD Board that details of travel expenses incurred by the district were not available because the district lacked the software necessary to provide that information. It's a dubious claim, at best. Any simple spread sheet should do the trick. When board members ask the CFO for details about travel -- who did the traveling, destination, costs ­-- there is only one acceptable answer: Yes.