The State of the Program feature will be posted every couple of months, reviewing how Mississippi State’s various Athletics Programs are preforming.
Mississippi State has experienced unprecedented success over the course of a couple of months, but will that success continue? We categorically take a look at each of Mississippi State’s athletics programs , and what they have accomplished, and what the future holds.
Andy Canizarro had his baseball team playing at a level that no one before the season expected. Mississippi State reached back-to-back Super Regionals for the first time since in program history, and much of the success was due in part to concenssus All-American, and 1st Round Draft Selection Brent Rooker. Next season, the squad should be even better as Andy Cannizaro’s top-10 rated recruiting class, heads to campus, as well as an influx of arms returning from injury, 2018’s Diamond Dawgs will be in position to host, and should be hovering around the National Seed bubble. After this past season though is where we expect to see big gains, as the demolition of Dudy Noble has begun. However, many fans have voiced their concerns about the Left Field Lounge, but what truly makes the Left Field Lounge is the people that take part in it. The stadium renovations puts Mississippi State in a position to excel at national level in recruiting, as well as results. Bulldog fans should welcome the renovations with open arms, instead of a stern disregard for progress.
The success our women’s basketball program has seen in the last couple of months is unparalleled to any time in Mississippi State history. Whether it is going to a Final Four, an SEC Championship Game appearance, or beating the most dominant team in Women’s basketball. Vic Schaefer has elevated this program to new heights, and now playing for and winning National Championships is a real expectation. However, on the Men’s side of things Ben Howland, has been building toward this upcoming season. His consensus Top-10 recruiting class will enter their Sophomore season, and with Quinndary Weatherspoon entering his Junior season, the post season aspirations are high, and Not to mention the signing of 5 star Nick Weatherspoon. The stakes next season for both Vic Schaefer and Ben Howland will be high, and it will be interesting to see what position these teams will finish at the beginning of April.
Mississippi State’s golf program has perhaps one of the nicest facilities in the SEC with their opening of their practice facility in 2014. The women’s coach Ginger Brown-Lemm is considered one of the best in her profession, and the results do back the claim up. She has lead the women’s team to 6 straight NCAA Tournaments, as well as, back to back NCAA Championship appearances in 2012-2013 & 2013-2014, which saw them finish at 6th in the NCAA Championship, which is the highest mark in program history. Clay Homan finished his 14th season, as the head coach of the men’s team, and they are coming off their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013-2014. However, Homan announced on April 25th that he would be retiring from coaching. Insert former Vanderbilt assistant Dusty Smith, who was hired as the successor to Homan, and is widely considered one of the best assistants in the sport, Smith was on a coaching staff that led the Commodores to 4 straight NCAA Championship appearances, and it feels like he can excel in Starkville.
Dan Mullen coming off his 7th straight bowl game, at Mississippi State has our Football program elevated to the times of Dak Prescott, who has heightened the national appearance of Mississippi State’s program.
Nick Fitzgerald is primed to become one of best Quarterbacks in the SEC, during his Junior season. It is hard to ignore the great recruiting class Dan Mullen brought in this season either, with the likes of Keyaton Thompson, Brian Cole (JUCO), Kylin Hill, and Willie Gay, all of which are incredible play makers.
SEC projections show the bulldogs hovering around the middle of the pack, and some even mention them as a “dark horse” candidate to win the SEC West. Projections aside, Dan Mullen has this program going places where it had only scratched the surface a couple of seasons ago.
Mississippi State’s softball team had fallen on average times the last couple of seasons under Van Stuedemen, but this season they came roaring back!
Mississippi State finished the regular season with a (36-20) record, and a birth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. Nusz Park, which opened in 2016 is considered one of the best softball facilities in the SEC, holding over 1,000 patrons. The new stadium, and a coach finally getting her team back to the NCAA Tournament, should have bulldog fans excited for the future of Bulldog Softball!
Mississippi State’s soccer program, one admittedly I knew little about, but they did hire a new coach Tom Anagnost. Tom led the bulldogs to a (4-0), pre-season mark with wins over Auburn, Troy, South Alabama, and Southern Miss. The soccer program has struggled through last decade securing only one winning season, since 2005, which occurred in 2009 with a measly 9-8-2 record. Coach Anagnost has nowhere to go, but up in this program, and hopefully this team can yield better results than their predecessors.
The Mississippi State Tennis Program is perhaps one of our best on campus , with the men’s program making it to their seventh straight NCAA Tournament, and the women making it to their third straight NCAA Tournament.
It is evident that our Tennis programs are in good hands. The Men’s team under the guidance of ITA Southern Coach of the Year, Matt Robers made it to the SEC Championship, as well as a Round of 32 NCAA Tournament appearance under him. The future is bright for both the men’s and women’s tennis teams in Starkville.
Track & Field
The Track and Field program has been consistent throughout the years, as Coach Steve Dudley enters his 18th season. His program produces two Olympians in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Brandon McBride (Canada), and Marta Freitas (Portugal) respectfully.
The track and field program as a whole recently finished 13th (Women’s) & 14th (Men’s), but the field was highly competitive with almost every program being ranked in the Top-25. You can expect our program to hover around they are at the moment for the time being.
The Volleyball squad seems to be in the same boat, as the soccer dogs, but with David McFatrich, entering his third year in Starkville, it seems like do or die for him at the helm of the Volleyball squad.
He has amassed a 31-33 record, as the head coach of the Bulldogs, which cements him already as one of the best coaches in Mississippi State Volleyball history. Anyone could go either way on what the future holds for this team, as they slightly regressed from his first season. However, long gone are the days where Mississippi State only wins 3 games in a season, which happened during the 2012 season.