Sideline View by Dale McKee

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The sports world last week in Mississippi was about boasting about last year's athletic accomplishments -- a little baseball, a spice of basketball, and some hall of fame news in a very slow week.

MSU Athletic Director John Cohen had a good week. He was appointed to a four-year term on the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee. Cohen also reported last week that Mississippi State’s sports teams had a great year. The football team went to their ninth straight bowl game and also had three first-round draft picks, the women’s basketball team is a national power, and the baseball team program is also pretty good. A school record 13 teams reached NCAA postseason play with five sports finishing in the Top 25. State claimed three SEC championships while football, both basketball teams, softball and baseball combined for 151 wins, the highest total in all of the SEC.

Southern Mississippi also reported that the 2018-19 athletic season was a winning one. The Golden Eagles reported that for the first time since 2000 they posted winning records in all five major sports (football, men's and women's basketball, softball and baseball). Volleyball, soccer and women’s tennis also had winning marks.
The total athletic program was the top program in C-USA.

Baseball Notes

Former Mississippi State baseball player and Wheeler native Brandon Woodruff took part in the Major League All-Star baseball game. Woodruff faced four batters in his 0.2 innings of mound work. Former Ole Miss All-American pitcher Lance Lynn won his Major League best 12th win as his Texas Rangers beat the Houston Astros, 5-0. Former Laurel and Starkville High baseball player Milton Smith II is leading the New York-Penn league in hitting. Smith was a 22nd round pick out of Meridian Community College by the Miami Marlins in 2018.

Football News

On the pro football level, Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the National Football League is considering an 18-game schedule. We have heard that before, but this time with a twist. According to the report, every player would be limited to playing in just 16 of those games. Did I read that right? Each player has to sit out two games? No way that will fly.

Hall of Fame

Conference USA named their inaugural HoF class that honored three USM Golden Eagles. Former football coach Jeff Bower and softball player Courtney Blades-Rogers and track star Tori Bowie will represent Southern Miss in this initial class.

Former West Lauderdale baseball coach Jerry Boatner was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. Boatner coached baseball at West Lauderdale for 45 years and won 14 state championships.

MSU Lady Bulldogs Reloading

Mississippi State won the silver medal, falling to Australia in the finals of the World University Games, 80-72, in Italy.

Odds & Ends

Ole Miss head coaches in football, basketball and baseball will be in Jackson at the Country Club this Tuesday while MSU coaches will be down the road at the Clyde Muse Center in Pearl. Both events begin at 5:30 p.m.

The Biloxi Shuckers won four of six games from the home standing Mississippi Braves.

Drew Walters of the Mississippi Braves leads all pro baseball with 121 hits on the season.

This Thursday, the Mississippi Braves will host Pensacola on “Ole Miss Night.”

Itawamba and Pearl River community colleges are adding volleyball to their athletic programs. They are the first two Mississippi JUCO schools to add the sport. Over half of the public high schools in Mississippi are now playing volleyball.

Former Ole Miss basketball player Josh Harrison was named head basketball coach at Gulf Coast Community College.

Meridian native Rodney Hood re-signed with the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA.

Contact Dale at ddmckee18@yahoo.com