(Columbus) The Dispatch. June 15, 2021.

Editorial: Bulldogs bound for ‘Starkville North’

By Dispatch Editorial Board • 50 mins ago

On the eve of the NCAA baseball regionals two weeks ago, Larry Buckley, who played baseball at Mississippi State in the early 1970s, was spotted in Starkville wearing an interesting T-shirt. The shirt featured the outline of Nebraska, with a star designating Omaha’s location. Instead of Omaha, however, the star on the map was labeled “Starkville North.”

Since 1950, Omaha has been the home of the College World Series, and getting to Omaha for the eight-team championship tournament is the Holy Grail for college baseball teams across the country.

Mississippi State fans consider Omaha as home away from home, which is becoming less of a brag than a statement of fact.

Monday night, Mississippi State outslugged Notre Dame, 11-7, to earn its 12th trip to Omaha and its third consecutive appearance in the CWS, the longest active streak of consecutive appearances in the championship round of any program.

Even by MSU standards, what has happened over the past eight seasons is remarkable — seven postseason appearances, six regional championships, four super regional championships and four trips to Omaha. In the past five seasons, the Bulldogs have won five regional titles and, of course, the three super regional titles that punched their ticket to the CWS.

Juniors and seniors on this year’s team have reached Omaha every season (the 2020 season was cancelled because of COVID-19).

Players come and go, but at Mississippi State that’s true of coaches, too, which makes what MSU has achieved all the more amazing.

In those five years, four different coaches — John Cohen (now MSU’s athletics director), Andy Cannizaro, Gary Henderson and, for the second time in his two full seasons, Chris Lemonis have taken MSU teams to Omaha.

Some teams rely on a collection of fleeting talent to reach the College World Series. Others reach Omaha because of a coach who has built winners in his own image.

But in light of what has occurred over the past five years, it’s clear that Mississippi State baseball is not a team that wins, but a program that wins.

That’s no disrespect to the players or the coaches. Programs attract excellence, which is clearly what has happened at MSU. Throw in the best facility in college baseball and a fan base second to none (more than 40,000 fans attended the Bulldogs’ three-day Super Regional, a national attendance record), and Bulldog baseball has all the ingredients you associate with a perennial power.

There is now only one goal left unfulfilled. It’s one thing to get to Omaha, yet quite another to win it all. The Bulldogs have come close, finishing as runner-up in 2013 and third on two other occasions.

The Bulldogs have knocked on that door 11 times. Perhaps that door swings open on try No. 12, which begins Sunday when MSU takes on Texas in its first CWS game.

Could this be the year the Bulldogs claim the ultimate prize?

We are about to find out.


Tupelo Daily Journal. June 11, 2021.

Editorial: State of the Region can grow stronger with ‘generational change’

Thursday was both a day of celebration and a call to arms for the future.

The State of the Region meeting highlighted the exceptional growth and impact of the CREATE Foundation, the investments being made in Northeast Mississippi and the potential for future success.

It was also the first major in-person event, which has ballooned in size over the years, hosted by CREATE since the pandemic. Last year’s event was held virtually, but people returned in large numbers, showing the commitment to CREATE’s mission and cooperation across the 17-county region.

CREATE President Mike Clayborne highlighted the strength of the Foundation through the growth in assets, funds and investments over the past 49 years. In doing so, he pointed to an inflection point approximately 25 years ago that led to significant growth – the creation of the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi. Clayborne pointed to it as the catalyst for more, truer regional cooperation.

Hosted by the CREATE Foundation’s Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi, this year’s State of the Region meeting featured Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley.

While highlighting legislative successes from the past year, Hosemann also talked about the billions of dollars coming to the state and local governments from the American Rescue Plan. He said such federal funding is likely never to be seen again, so he is encouraging local leaders to use it to fund projects that can lead to “generational changes.”

Hosemann and Presley both talked about expanding broadband access, which could make Northeast Mississippi the largest connected rural area in America – certainly a generational change.

But all three – Clayborne, Hosemann and Presley – warned that there is much work to do. There are challenges facing the region. Pointing to recent Census data which revealed Mississippi as one of only a handful of states to lose residents over the past decade, Clayborne said 12 of the 17 Northeast Mississippi counties lost population.

Clayborne rightfully pointed out that a region is only as strong as it’s communities. And all three rightfully said that local communities often must lead in addressing the challenges they face.

With the federal assistance and the regional support that exists, local communities throughout Northeast Mississippi should heed the calls that were sounded Thursday: Look at where we are, look at where we need to go and invest in projects that can bring about generational changes. By doing so, the state of the region can remain strong for generations to come.


(McComb) Enterprise-Journal. June 11, 2021.

Editorial: Incorrect info on voter ID

Note to reporters who cover Mississippi government: When Michael Watson says something, you might want to check behind him.

That’s a lesson the Capitol reporters learned recently after the secretary of state incorrectly claimed that Mississippi’s voter ID law was susceptible to being nullified because one of its key provisions was only enshrined in the state constitution and not in state law.

In a radio interview late last month, following a state Supreme Court ruling that voided medical marijuana over a technicality in the initiative process, Watson warned that voter ID could become a victim of the decision as well.

That may be true, but it won’t be for the reason Watson provided.

He claimed that although Mississippi lawmakers, after voters approved a ballot initiative in 2011 requiring photo identification at the polls, codified most of those provisions into state law the following year, they left out the part that every Mississippian needing voter identification was entitled to having an ID card furnished free by the state. Watson said lawmakers needed to hurry up and fix that omission or risk having all of voter ID thrown out.

If Watson had been correct in his facts, you could argue that it was not politically astute for a Republican supporter of voter ID to broadcast to potential plaintiffs where the law was vulnerable to attack. But he got it wrong.

Delbert Hosemann, Watson’s predecessor and now the state’s lieutenant governor, set the record straight last week. He cited the code section where the free ID card provision can be found. Hosemann would know: Implementing voter ID, free of litigation, was one of his great achievements as secretary of state.

Although Hosemann, in his statement correcting the record, did not call out Watson by name, he was just being diplomatic. This misinformation started with the public official who is supposed to be an authority on the state’s election laws. Obviously neither Watson nor his aides spent much time looking up the laws on voter ID before he spoke.