STARKVILLE -- Applause greeted Rick Stansbury at 1:12 p.m. Thursday as he turned the corner into the lobby of the Bryan Building. The longtime Mississippi State men's basketball coach scanned the room and chided the supporters gathered for the announcement of his retirement for having long faces. "Cheer up. Smile. This is a happy day," Stansbury said.
STARKVILLE -- Coaches have been known for years to borrow or to tweak an aspect of one coaching style or strategy into their way of doing things. Sometimes, though, a coach needs a little more assistance in grasping the importance of a concept and incorporating it into their philosophy. Holly Davis was only too happy to provide that assistance to a friend who looked like he could use some help.
Scott Stricklin has more than 11 million reasons to hope Vic Schaefer is the right man.
STARKVILLE -- Sharon Fanning-Otis wasn't one for euphemisms or pithy comments. Instead, the veteran coach was more likely to use her postgame comments to the media to break down the finer points of the game and highlight where her team excelled or fell short. True to her nature, Fanning-Otis was a teacher. She remained that way even in her next-to-last game as Mississippi State University women's basketball coach, a humbling 76-40 loss to the University of Kentucky.
Forget 5-hour Energy. If you ever need a pick-me-up, try watching tapes of basketball teams scrambling all over the court in pressure defenses because they're bound to get your blood pumping. After playing more than 24 minutes of face-contorting, rim-busting basketball, the Starkville Academy girls basketball team turned to pressure defense Friday afternoon in a last-ditch effort to keep its hope for a Class AAA state title alive.
STARKVILLE -- For much of the 2010-11 season, a familiar refrain prevented the Mississippi State University women's basketball team from finding its rhythm. Stuck between a lack of execution and experience and an inability to care for the basketball, MSU suffered its first losing season since the 2005-06 campaign and took a step back after making the program's first trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in 2009-10.
The pieces are in place. Rick Stansbury has repeated the thought that the 2011-12 Mississippi State University men's basketball team has greater versatility and depth than last season's team. On Saturday, MSU showcased another ingredient it will need to realize its potential: Resolve.
Sports start with a smile. Do you remember?
The University of Mississippi will move forward together without Houston Nutt. It remains to be seen if any of Nutt's assistant coaches will stay in Oxford at the end of a season that has the Rebels 2-7 with three games remaining, but Ole Miss will pay a hefty price to end its association with Nutt after only four years.
JACKSON -- Anna McCrary and Kasey Stanfield operate well in stealth mode. It didn't matter they were lugging a blue cooler filled with ice that rustled as they tried to crouch down and avoid being seen by their coach.
All hail football. The money associated with the sport that has long been recognized as the engine behind college athletics is out of control and will continue to trigger unimaginable shifts in the NCAA landscape.
STARKVILLE -- The script didn't call for a clunker. Throw out the 11-game losing streak to LSU and the disappointing loss Saturday at the University of Auburn. Thursday was going to be different.
The best advice my parents gave me was to find a profession that suited my personality and passion. It was easy for me to see that's what they did. My mother worked for years as a registered nurse, while my father was employed as a chef at country clubs, restaurants, and health care facilities.
Let the arms race begin. On one hand, you have Mississippi State, which announced last week that its athletic department received a school-record $37.6 million in gifts and pledges through the Bulldog Club and Bulldog Foundation in the 2010-11 fiscal year. On the other hand, the University of Mississippi announced it would have a "major announcement" Aug. 9 regarding the unveiling of a capital campaign by the athletic department and the school's Athletic Association Foundation.
Fishing for weekend anglers can mean anything from taking free time to get away from reality to competing in tournaments. For many of us, it is all of the above. There is nothing more fun than to get some free time and to grab a fishing pole and to head to the water.
Maybe John Lucas should coach the Mississippi State men's basketball team. Maybe the Bulldogs should change their plans for a European trip and take a detour to Texas.
Competitive spirit Start with a national champion. Throw in another program looking to reclaim its title glory, a coach who likes to stir it up, some NCAA intrigue, and a new coach and a veteran coach on the hot seat and it's easy to see why the Southeastern Conference dominates the headlines.
All is not lost. Soccer will have life in this country after the United States' women's National Team lost to Japan in penalty kicks Sunday in the World Cup title game in Germany.
The hot days of summer tend to make fishing slow. I look at summer bass fishing almost like winter time. Even though the water is warm and the metabolism of the fish is high, the fish don't go chase food all day.
Ron Courson has made a life helping others prepare for competition.
1. Rivals set to battle for Golden Egg COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Home-field advantage could mean a lot for MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
3. West Point finally gets rematch vs. Oxford HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Howland's Bulldogs still making adjustments on defense COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Aberdeen will try to end Charleston's streak HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS