STARKVILLE -- A year after hiring four new defensive coaches, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen will have to hire a new offensive coach this offseason. MSU quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson was named the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Houston, new Houston coach Major Applewhite announced Tuesday. Johnson's hiring comes one day after MSU beat Miami University 17-16 Monday in the St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
STARKVILLE -- In a year littered with notable Mississippi State stories, none was bigger than John Cohen. Cohen began 2016 as the MSU baseball coach. With several upperclassmen, junior college transfers, and freshmen stepping in right away, Cohen led the Bulldogs to a Southeastern Conference regular-season championship for the first time since 1989. He also helped the Bulldogs earn the No. 6 national seed and host a super regional, falling two games short of advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
STARKVILLE -- Raleigh Egypt (Tenn.) High School boys basketball coach Maurice Miller wasn't going to coach if his assistant coach couldn't be on the bench with him.
Tupelo High School boys basketball coach Jeff Norwood had that sinking feeling Monday night. The second half of his team's game against Starkville had just started. At halftime, Starkville led 18-14. As the score would indicate, efficient offense hadn't been plentiful.
STARKVILLE -- The Starkville High School boys basketball team has been living on the edge. Starkville squandered a narrow lead and folded down the stretch against Murrah in the Joe Horne Columbus Christmas Classic. The following night, it escaped Tupelo, 51-50, after holding a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. Tupelo tested Starkville again in the fourth quarter Monday night at the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at Humphrey Coliseum, but stingy man-defense and 19 points from Blake Rogers helped the Yellow Jackets notch their second-straight win against the Golden Wave, 47-39.
STARKVILLE -- Myah Taylor doesn't need any encouragement to "push and look." Olive Branch High School girls basketball coach Jason Thompson uses those words to stress the importance of pushing the basketball to keep pressure on the opponents. Those words rang out Monday afternoon in Humphrey Coliseum as Thompson implored Taylor and the rest of the Lady Conquistadors to get the ball as quickly as possible to try to beat Raleigh Egypt (Tenn.) down the court.
STARKVILLE -- Distractions don't faze Jariyah Covington. Whether it is running the point or sniping from the wing, the Starkville High School junior guard has become adept at blocking out the talk and focusing on her job. Greg Carter put Covington's focus to the test Tuesday afternoon.
When Luther Riley took over the Columbus High School boys basketball program, he said the Falcons would be title contenders right away. It turned out to be an accurate prediction. In his first and only season on the bench, Riley earned The Dispatch's All-Area Coach of the Year honors after leading the Falcons to their first Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A State championship in boys basketball.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Mississippi State football team's sideline erupted in celebration, relieved to escape with a victory to end a challenging season. Nick Fitzgerald rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns in another strong performance by the dual-threat quarterback; however, the heavily favored Bulldogs had to block a field goal in the closing seconds to hold off Miami (Ohio) 17-16 in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Monday.
Coaching football isn't complicated for Chris Chambless. While many coaches lay awake at night coming up with an extra formation or a set of plays that will give their team a competitive advantage, Chambless has kept it simple for the West Point High School football team.
STARKVILLE -- Randy Carlisle saw a driven Willie Gay when he came to him in the seventh grade. A young football player for the Starkville Junior High School team, Carlisle noticed Gay had a driving force behind him and aspirations to play at a higher level than high school.
The original goal for Kylin Hill was to carry the Columbus High School football team to new levels of success. As an added bonus, Hill will leave school as one of the state's best running backs.
WEST POINT -- Marcus Murphy is considered a "self-starter." When it comes to the weight room, practice field, or on game nights, the West Point High School junior always finds a way to make himself better. One day after West Point won the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A State championship, Murphy tweeted he was headed back to the weight room to start work on an even bigger senior season.
STARKVILLE -- Greg Carter had trouble when he started to recruit teams for the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump in 2011. Carter found it hard to convince teams to come to Starkville to play in a new tournament. But as the tournament has progressed, more and more teams want to come, which has made it easier for the Starkville High School boys basketball coach to fill a schedule for the two-day tournament at Mississippi State's Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State men's basketball coach Ben Howland didn't want to go into the Christmas holiday with a loss.
STARKVILLE -- Life is good for the Mississippi State women's basketball team. Coach Vic Schaefer's team is one of eight in Division I -- and the only one in the Southeastern Conference -- that is undefeated as the schedule prepares to turn to 2017 and the beginning of league play.
STARKVLLE -- After a 67-65 loss to East Tennessee State last week, Mississippi State men's basketball coach Ben Howland saw his team attack practice with new purpose. The loss to ended the Bulldogs' three-game winning streak. MSU followed that game with an 86-44 win against Southern Mississippi on Monday night at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. The Bulldog hit a school-record 17 3-pointers. MSU (7-3) will try to start a new winning streak at 6 tonight (SEC Network) when it plays host to Morehead State (3-8) in its next-to-last non-conference game.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Alabama men's basketball team used some subtraction for addition to overcome Arkansas State 67-52 Wednesday night in the Rocket City Classic. Jimmie Taylor came off the bench to score 12 points and Arkansas State went more than seven minutes in the second half without a field goal to enable Alabama to cruise to the win.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama football coach Nick Saban believes it's hard to blame players for skipping the bowl games when the playoffs have overshadowed most of them anyway.
STARKVILLE -- Ameshya Williams leaned in and listened.
1. No. 4 MSU women look for school record against Ole Miss COLLEGE SPORTS