Mississippi State celebrates with National Championship parade
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WLBT) - The biggest party in Starkville’s history kicked off Friday.
The 2021 National Champion baseball team was celebrated with a parade through downtown that wrapped at Dudy Noble Field.
The parade was followed up by a ceremony at the Dude where Athletic Director John Cohen listed off the team’s achievements after first giving a shoutout to legendary MSU coach Ron Polk.
Bulldogs legend Will Clark was then welcomed back to Dudy Noble.
“This team right here goes beyond Tanners and Brandons and Wills...it goes to a family, and the family that is the Bulldog Nation and you guys have supported us for so long,” Clark said.
Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill then followed up by recognizing the team’s championship and proclaimed June 30 as Diamond Dog Day in Starkville and gave Head Coach Chris Lemonis the key to the city.
“I get to be the Mayor of Starkville but today, I’m also the Mayor of Starkvegas,” Spruill said.
MSU President Mark Keenum followed with a ring of his cowbell: “Happy Maroon Friday...isn’t this the best one ever?”
Keenum announced that several items will be taken to the Mississippi History Museum in Jackson.
Governor Tate Reeves then thanked Keenum, Lemonis and the fans.
“This is not just a historic day for Mississippi State, this is a historic day for the state of Mississippi,” Reeves said. “These guys behind me represented this university and our state with dignity, and they showed the world what Mississippi is all about. They never quit and they never gave up.”
Lemonis then took the podium to a huge ovation.
“This (trophy) belongs to everybody in Bulldog Nation,” he said.
He says it finally hit him that they are National Champions when he got on top of the firetruck for the parade.
“As tough of players as they are, they’re even better men,” he said. “...We had our ups and downs. It wasn’t a perfect season, but it was a championship season.”
Lemonis gave a shoutout to his dad, who graduated in 1973.
“He couldn’t make it to Omaha, but I think he liked that firetruck ride.”
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