Jerry Byrd doesn’t know if he, his wife, or his children are happier. Getting an opportunity to stay home to teach and to coach usually can put a smile on anybody’s face. The Byrds will smile a lot more this year after the Lowndes County School Board approved Friday the hiring of Byrd as the new boys soccer and tennis coach at New Hope High School.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State athletic department is taking the struggling economy seriously. Even though the nationwide financial downturn haven’t created any major issues at MSU, the athletic department is watching its spending and is trying to cut back.
TUPELO — Opponents of the Columbus Crush might consider wearing protective gear when they’re out on the field. Through 17 games, the traditional approach hasn’t worked, so why not try shin guards and catcher’s masks on the infielders. It couldn’t hurt. With an added layer of protection defenses might be able to beat the Crush.
TUPELO — Curveballs are the bane of many baseball players’ lives. The Starkville Dawgs 12-year-old Dizzy Dean team discovered Saturday just how effective that pitch can be. Deacon Medders and Jake Colburn combined on a five-inning two-hitter to lead the Northport Nationals (Ala.) to an 11-1 victory in the Dizzy Dean World Series at the Tupelo Sportsplex.
TUPELO — The Columbus Nationals learned how to bounce back after a loss at the Dizzy Dean South Half State Tournament. That lesson will be put to the test at the Dizzy Dean World Series. Nick Feenker and Jake Griffin hit home runs Saturday morning to lead the Oak Mountain (Ala.) All-Stars to a 12-2 victory against the Columbus Nationals in the 10-year-old World Series at the Tupelo Sportsplex.
Columbus’ Ed Lott and Barry Howard like where they stand after two rounds of the Columbus Classic, but they are looking over their shoulder a little bit. Even after Lott and Howard shot a 5-under-par 67 Saturday to lead the Championship Flight with a two-day total of 135 at the 6,400-yard, par-72 Columbus Country Club, Brandon Garriga and Josh Martin, of Jackson, are lurking close behind in their drive for their fifth consecutive title.
Justin Putnam realized a dream Monday. Today, the Lowndes County School Board is expected to make it official. Putnam accepted an offer Monday to become the new girls track and field coach at New Hope High School. Jerry Byrd, the older brother of former New Hope High boys basketball coach Robert Byrd, said Thursday he has accepted the job to become the school’s new boys soccer coach.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s Baseball Summer Camp returned after a year absence and finished Thursday on a successful note. With the transition of coaching staffs and head coaches from Ron Polk to John Cohen, the MSU baseball program decided not to have the camps last year. Camp coordinator Nick Mingione was pleased with the outcome of the program’s five sessions.
An opportunity to play close to home has proved to be a perfect fit for Ben Fleming and Brent Hallmark. The former New Hope High School baseball standouts, who are teammates on the Golden Triangle Jets, were named Wednesday to the Cotton States Baseball League All-Star team.
Apparently the football coaches from around the Southeastern Conference believe Mississippi State senior running back Anthony Dixon can thrive in coach Dan Mullen’s spread offense. Dixon, of Terry, was named Thursday to the second-team offense of the Coaches All-SEC football team.
Roger Shilling and Avery Velek hope to help pave the way for soccer players in Columbus. The 11-year-olds recently were accepted to and competed in the Olympic Development Program Academy Camp at Belhaven College in Jackson.
Everything came together Wednesday for Cade Lott. The Heritage Academy rising freshman combined a strong chipping game with equally solid putting to take first in the 14- to 15-year-old age division at the Pros of Tomorrow Junior Golf tournament at the Tupelo Country Club.
Josh Ferguson was pleased when he first learned he was selected to participate in the annual Bernard Blackwell Classic. The football game, which will be at 7 tonight at Hale-Robinson Stadium on the campus of Mississippi College, pits some of the state’s top outgoing seniors from the South against the North. It is a final opportunity for high school standouts to take the field before they play their first games in college.
STARKVILLE — Athletic trainers and strength coaches at Mississippi State aren’t only concerned in the summer with managing the football players’ weightlifting and conditioning sessions. They also plan trips to the local grocery stores. The Bulldogs appreciate their coaches and trainers care enough not only to tell them how to take care of their bodies, but also to show them.
The NCAA Eligibility Center has requested more documentation in the case of Mississippi State basketball signee Renardo Sidney. Sidney’s attorney, Donald Jackson, believes the request is an attempt by the Eligibility Center to prolong the investigation into Sidney’s amateur status that would keep him from getting on the court in a timely manner to play for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State senior running back Anthony Dixon will return home today for a few hours. Dixon will be one of the Bulldogs who will attend the Central Mississippi Alumni Association “Summer Extravaganza” in Jackson.
STARKVILLE — A youth basketball camp was so successful in June at the Starkville Sportsplex that the organizers will try it again this month. After 18 children participated in the camp last month, girls director Juliette Weaver-Reese will get the basketballs bouncing again next week after receiving positive feedback. This time she will include the boys with the help of director Richard Hill.
Tim Frasher believed in his Columbus Crush softball players the moment the team came together. But Frasher, who coaches the 10-and-under slow-pitch all-star team, never thought his team would do what it has this summer. The Crush swept four games last weekend in the Amateur Softball Association slow-pitch state tournament to win another championship.
Rory Sneed doesn’t want this weekend to be any different for the Columbus Nationals 10-year-old Dizzy Dean All-Star team. The pageantry of this weekend’s World Series in Tupelo might make Sneed and the team’s other coaches work a little harder to keep their players focused. But Sneed isn’t worried that his players will get caught up in the hoopla surrounding the annual event, which will feature some of the best teams from across the country.
Brandon Garriga and Josh Martin nearly couldn’t make it. Each man wanted to return to Columbus this week to defend their run of four consecutive titles at the Columbus Classic, but life appeared to get in the way. Garriga, a third-year medical student, was smack in the middle of a schedule that has him in a surgical rotation. He and his wife also are preparing for the birth of a daughter next month, so it didn’t look like he was going to be able to travel from Jackson to Columbus to play. But things have a way of working out.
1. Ole Miss gearing up for improved LSU COLLEGE SPORTS
2. No. 1 MSU begins preparations for Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Alabama shines with looser mind-set COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Ole Miss will rely on defense COLLEGE SPORTS
5. MSU's Alwal hopes new habits will pay dividends COLLEGE SPORTS