Overall, you’d have to say Mississippi State is coming off quite an impressive sports year.
Football finally turned a corner and went to a bowl game, while the basketball team was a shot or two away from the Sweet 16.
Baseball did falter in Ron Polk’s farewell tour and suffered its first losing season since 1975, but the softball team collected more wins than ever before en route to postseason play.
Also, men’s golf advanced to the NCAA championship round for the third time in school history, while the track and tennis programs again had individuals compete on a national level.
Then there were the off-the-field incidents, such as Ben Hansbrough transferring to Notre Dame, Jamont Gordon declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft and the hiring of Greg Byrne as the new athletics director. And of course, let’s not forget the shooting incident involving Mike Brown and Quenton Wesley.
Needless to say, filling the Sports section with news from Starkville hasn’t been a cumbersome task.
What has been laborious, though, is deciding the Top 5 stories. But after much thought and consideration, and perhaps some debate, we have a list.
Drum roll, please . . .
5. It was a search that lasted roughly six months, but in the end Robert “Doc” Foglesong turned to the guy everyone expected to replace the ousted Larry Templeton – Greg Byrne.
On the day his hiring was announced, Byrne talked about how being an AD was his life-long dream. In fact, at the age of 14 he outlined his career plans to his parents.
“His energy and enthusiasm captured me,” Foglesong said.
On July 1, the West Coast native officially becomes the athletic department’s Top Dog.