Darryl Wilson isn’t as quick and can’t jump as high as he did 13 years ago. But the stroke that made him a three-time All-Southeastern Conference shooting guard at Mississippi State is still there. And, like most shooters, when you challenge him that stroke becomes red hot. Wilson, 35, is rekindling his scoring touch with the Tupelo Rock-n-Rollers in the World Basketball Exposure League.
There wasn’t much more one could add to what was expressed Tuesday at a memorial service for Don Foster at the Starkville Sportsplex. Foster, the former sports editor of The Starkville Daily News, was a friend to many people, and I’m fortunate to be one of them. Don died June 8 at his West Point home. Starkville Academy girls basketball coach Glenn Schmidt, Starkville High School baseball coach Danny Carlisle, and former Mississippi State Athletic Director Larry Templeton were the main speakers and couldn’t have done a better job in recalling memories of Don. Their words were heartfelt and sincere.
STARKVILLE — There have been many changes to Mississippi State’s athletic landscape the past several months. The biggest deals with technology thanks to the installation of jumbotrons at Mississippi State’s football, baseball, and soccer stadiums. With those projects at or near completion, the focus at MSU has shifted to other needs.
STARKVILLE — The Pickens Academy Dizzy Dean baseball team, of Carrollton, Ala., looks at any opportunity to play this summer as a learning experience. The chance to come to Mississippi and play a Class 5A program like Starkville High School is an added bonus. Pickens Academy bounced back from a 5-3 opening-game loss to beat Starkville 10-3 in a six-inning second game to gain a doubleheader split.
Politics and coaching don’t mix. Stacy Hester followed that credo in his dealings with parents, administrators, and players. Sometimes it got him into trouble. Players left his program because they didn’t like playing for him. Parents thought Hester to be arrogant or unyielding in how he dealt with them or with their children. But through it all Hester established a standard of excellence. His teams won 551 games and three state titles his 18 years as New Hope High School’s baseball coach.
Baseball players never stop growing. For Ben Fleming, Brent Hallmark, and Garrett Harris, there is no better place to learn more about the game they love than close to home. The three former New Hope High School standouts are teammates on the Golden Triangle Jets in the Cotton States Baseball North Division. The former Trojans have helped the Jets get off to a 2-3 start in the inaugural season for the four-team wood bat league.
STARKVILLE — Chase Taylor knows he can be better. If the past two months are any indication, Taylor could start hitting the scores he’s looking for any time now. On May 2, the New Hope High School golfer won the 14- to 15-year-old group at the Optimist Club tournament at the Mississippi State Golf Course. The victory earned him a chance to play today and Tuesday in the district tournament in Meridian. The winner will go to West Palm Beach, Fla., to play in the International tournament in July
Stacy Hester is still confused, and now he apparently is out of a job he loves. On Friday, Lowndes County School District Superintendent Mike Halford recommended Hester not be retained as New Hope High School’s baseball coach. None of the five school board members asked to have the issue of Hester’s status pulled from the consent agenda, where it could have been up for an open vote. The board then voted 5-0 to accept Halford’s recommendation.
The blank Web page might be an omen for the New Hope High School baseball program. At 3 p.m. Saturday, the www.newhopebaseball.com page on the New Hope High sports and school booster site carried a message “Nothing to See Here Move Along.” The absence of any information on the baseball program’s page comes after Lowndes County School District Superintendent Mike Halford recommended Friday that New Hope High baseball coach Stacy Hester not be retained after his at-will agreement ends June 30.
David Boykin is back at Caledonia High School to see if he can complete some unfinished business. The Lowndes County School Board approved Boykin’s hiring Friday as the football coach at Caledonia High School. Boykin, who coached Caledonia to 3-7 records in 2006 and 2007, replaced Jason Forrester, who resigned his position last month. Boykin served as a volunteer offensive line coach last season under Mark Hudspeth at the University of North Alabama.
STARKVILLE -- Greg Byrne paused last week to reflect on his first year as Mississippi State Athletic Director and he pointed to one specific thing that impressed him most. Since taking over the day-to-day operations of the Mississippi State athletic department on July 11, 2008, Byrne said it has been the people he works with who have made the transition a positive one. Byrne knew it would be difficult to replace a man like Larry Templeton, but said his approach and ideas have been well received.
MACON — M.C. Miller’s cupboard at Noxubee County High School has plenty left in stock. The veteran football coach will have to find a way to replace 12 starters (five on offense, seven on defense) from last season’s Class 4A state championship team. And while the losses of All-State wide receiver Patrick Patterson, wide receiver Teddy Young, and quarterback Termarcus Conner will be some of the toughest to fill, don’t think for a minute that the Tigers won’t throw the ball a lot in 2009.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy golfer Korakot Simsiriwong has returned to her native Thailand for rest and relaxation before schools starts again in August. She took her golf clubs with her. Simsiriwong wants to keep her game sharp so she can have more success on the course when she returns to the United States. “My dad (Pramoth) got me started playing golf and I love it,” Simsiriwong said. “I definitely want to keep playing.”
STARKVILLE — Starkville sprinter Tavaris Tate is used to living in the fast lane. On the track, it takes Tate seconds to run the 400 meters or his leg of the 4x400 relay. Off the track, Tate’s preparation and travel schedule keeps him on the go. Since helping Starkville High School to its second consecutive state championship, Tate has participated in the Atlanta-DeKalb International Prep Classic in Atlanta, Ga., and the Sports Authority Great Southwest Classic at Albuquerque, N.M.
STARKVILLE –– Ron Polk gave Grant Hogue an opportunity to play baseball at Mississippi State. Hogue built on that chance this season for first-year coach John Cohen. After transferring from Pearl River Community College and having two productive seasons at MSU, Hogue will take his talents to the next level. The Houston Astros selected Hogue in the 35th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Thursday.
STARKVILLE — The Hamilton High School Dizzy Dean baseball team used an “Earnest” effort Thursday to get a victory at Starkville Academy. Dylan Earnest had seven strikeouts and two hits and Ethan Earnest added two hits to help the Lions defeat the Volunteers 10-5. The umpires stopped the second game of the doubleheader in the third inning when a bank of outfield lights wouldn’t come on. Baseball is a family affair at Hamilton with brothers Ethan and Austin Earnest and cousin Dylan Earnest.
Mark Hysaw knows what the older player in the Columbus High School baseball program can do. Hysaw has coached rising seniors Avery Ford, Tyji Hawkins, and Josh Tentoni as they have moved through their middle school years into the twilight of their high school careers. That’s why Hysaw is excited to see what those players can do in their final go-around with the Falcons. Ford and his teammates continued their strong showing Thursday night with 16-6 and 14-4 five-inning victories against Starkville in Dizzy Dean action at Sammy Fletcher Field in Columbus.
STARKVILLE — Willie Gillespie wants to educate young people of the community about the sport of football. With the help of some of his friends, Gillespie is set to do that with Camp Complete on June 19-20 at Starkville High School.
I didn’t know Don Foster well. There were plenty of times in my first year as sports editor I saw Don at high school or college events. We never did get too chatty with each other, but we did say hello and then went about our jobs in our own ways. But now that Foster, who died Monday at his home in West Point, is gone, I will remember one event we covered more than any other.
1. Wallace, Rebels use strong second half to beat Broncos COLLEGE SPORTS
2. South Panola lands final blow against West Point HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Veteran Martin ready for first game at MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Friday's Mississippi Prep Football Scores HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Kelly, No. 1 EMCC have strong opening act COLLEGE SPORTS