During my absence I’ve been quite busy.
Yes, life has kept me on my toes with a few Christmas parties and family duties. But the main thing that has seemed to be on my mind was the coaching search at MSU. And after the “resigning” of Coach Croom the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the whole Bulldog Nation has been astir. But two days ago it seems we finally put the rumors and speculation to rest in the hire of Dan Mullen.
So maybe now my life can go back to semi-normal. I won’t have to be checking the message board and blogs and twitter feeds quite as religiously. It seemed I was a hawk for information, and a purveyor of it as well. I’d have people telling and asking info a lot. Now I guess we just figure out who the rest of the coaching staff and signees will be!
But that was partly to blame for the absence. The other parts were just staying busy with a family of five in the midst of holidays. Fun stuff. But I’m really looking forward to it. The tree is up, gifts are under the tree, some more gifts need to be bought, and weight is being put on I think.
But I’m back to blogging again. My wife checks here often and tells me “When are you going to post something new!?!, so I expect to flex the blogging muscles as we plow through the holidays and into a new year.
I thought I’d found some nice tickets to the Egg Bowl. Then I found some even nicer ones (they were free).
I really didn’t think MSU had much of a chance of winning. And I knew that Ole Miss had been steadily improving. Heck, they beat LSU @ LSU last week. But I didn’t expect what happened.
Ole Miss scored. Then got the ball back and scored. Then intercepted us and scored. Then scored again. And like that it was 24-0 at the end of the first quarter. Ole Miss totally dominated MSU today. I left at the half. Glad I did. It got worse. Ended up 45-0.
Now the question is what sort of changes will happen with the MSU coaching staff. Many say a complete overhaul needs to happen. Some say the coordinators need to go at least. Croom has a pretty good recruiting class coming in. Some think if he goes they won’t come. Who knows? Does it matter who your recruits are if there is not good coaching to manage them? And lastly, some consider a buyout clause to be too expensive.
No matter all the debating, my opinion is something needs to change. And change quickly.
From my former youth group in Clinton there were quite a few graduating seniors that went to Mississippi State. It made me smile a little because that’s where I graduated from too. I absoutely loved my time there. Sometimes I wish I could do it again. I was only there for 4 semesters. I don’t know that I’d want to give up my previous 5 semesters at Northeast CC and USM, but to think of a full 4.5 year experience at MSU makes me smile. Heck, it might not have taken 4.5!
But lots of things have changed. I was telling one of these freshman about it the other day. Here are a few notable things I told her:
- Online homework? I wonder how that works? When I was at good ole MSU there were no such things as WiFi. Or high speed internet. I had to go to a computer lab on campus to get on the web. My roommate had a computer a home and we could check email though. And it was all text based. The world wide web did start to come about. I was amazed.
- Cell phones? I only knew one guy who had a cell phone. He thought he was cool. He was rich because he inherited a lot of money and spent it unwisely to try to feel good I think. We went to a basketball game really early because Kentucky was coming to town. [We actually went to a women’s game before the men’s game to get good seats. And had to wait for the women’s game to start!] He ordered pizza from The Hump on his cell. He thought he was cool. I gave him a thumbs up and ate some pizza.
- There was a bowling alley in the bottom of the Union. And a Taco Bell. And a Wendy’s. But no ChikFilA. I used to do homework in the union between classes sometimes. I remember gathering with a few hundred students between classes to see the OJ Simpson verdict on the tvs there. And watching football games on a Saturday eating a steak burrito supreme before walking to watch the Bulldogs get beat [happened a lot while I was there.]
- Malfunction Junction was still there. Don’t worry. You wouldn’t miss it.
- Jackie Sherrill was there. Some people miss him. Most don’t. I saw him at the movie theater in Starkville once. I was going to see Bad Boys. I think he and his wife had gone to the previous showing. He was dressed in all black.
- SouthFarm was South Farm, not a bunch of intramural fields by the vet school. You could go relax or throw the frizz or camp out or whatever.
- And the Wesley Foundation was as amazing as ever. Loved it and the people there. Some were just like me. Some were way different. But it was all good. I miss it.
I miss it all. And I’m slightly jealous of you, but super excited for you. Soak it all in. Write it down somewhere. Filter it all through God’s grace and mercy. And it will be some of the best times of your life. And it will pass quickly, so make the most.
Here’s what I think happened and why things blew up:
- Years ago Polk retired. He’d had an associate coach on his staff who he named as head coach: Pat McMahon. Polk went to a different office on campus and became an Asst. AD
- A couple of years later Polk takes a head coaching job at the University of Georgia.
- A couple of years after that McMahon get an offer from the University of Florida and takes it. He wants to bring long time MSU assistant Tommy Raffo with him
- Raffo decides to go to Florida with McMahon.
- Larry Templeton (the AD at MSU) hires Ron Polk to come back to Starkville as the head coach of MSU.
- Ron Polk has a meeting with Tommy Raffo (who is planning to go to Florida with McMahon) and convinces him to stay in Starkville.
- [And here is where I think the turning point is] I THINK that Polk promised Raffo if he would stay at MSU, then Polk would set him up to be the head coach of the MSU Bulldogs when Polk retired. Raffo said “okay.”
- But then there’s a new AD. And then there’s a very sub par season. And then it doesn’t look like Polk is able to name his successor like he did before.
- Someone else gets hired. And that made Ron Polk become very pissed.
Now who knows if that is really how it happened. But it makes perfect sense.
The search ended a little earlier than some expected, but John Cohen is going to be the new head baseball coach at Mississippi State. He was a favorite candidate of lots of fans. But one who did not want to see him get the job was newly retired Ron Polk. He had made it clear months ago that he wanted current assistant coach Tommy Raffo to get the job. And when that didn’t happen he got pissed.
Polk threw a fit like that guy telling people to leave Britney Spears alone. Here are some of his words taken from Gregg Ellis’ blog:
Unfortunately, our new athletic director slapped me in face and punched me in the stomach. He also slapped Tommy Raffo in the face and punched him in the stomach after 15 years of loyalty to Mississippi State.
I want my name taken off the stadium and in the concourse until Greg Byrne is fired. And if they don’t do it, I will. And as soon as I get back to Starkville, I’m going to make sure the MSU Foundation is taken out of my will. And that’s a lot of money. I’m going to ask former players who give to quit.
Greg Byrne [new athletics director] doesn’t know anything. Well, he’s about to find out what my name means.
I love John, he’s a former player, but he knew how I felt. And when he walks into his new office, there will only be a desk and chair. No papers on the players or anything.
With this hire, Greg Byrne has thrown 15 years away of Tommy’s coaching life and the four years he has played here. Is he the best candidate, I don’t know. I say give him four years. If he doesn’t get the job done, then fire him.
Wow, does that not sound like someone with some major anger issues? Ron Polk has done tons for MSU Baseball and College Baseball in general. But I’m afraid of what this is going to do to his legacy.
But on the other hand, I’m excited about Cohan. Are you? Is it a good hire?