August 6, 2007 Rotogram

OUR PUBLIC UTILITIES

Our speaker is ‘Bo’ Robinson. Northern District Public Service Commissioner since 1989. He currently serves as chairman of the state agency that regulates telecommunications, electric, gas, water, and sewer utilities.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN MISSISSIPPI

Next week, our guest speaker will be Gray Swoope, Executive Director of Mississippi Development Authority, the state’s lead economic and community development agency. He earned graduate and undergraduate degrees in Business Administration from Mississippi State and has served as MDA Director since 2004.

LAST WEEK AT ROTARY

Invocation and Pledge : Bricklee Miller.

Attendance : . There were 119 members (83 active, 36 exempt) present and 53 active, 18 exempt, and all 10 honorary members missing. Three active members are on leave. Total current membership is 198.

Visitors and Guests : Visiting Rotarians were Eddie Longstreet of West Point and DG-Elect Joel Clements of Waynesboro. Guests included Toni Clements of husband Joel; Bobby Eiland of Jeff Read; Jeremiah Dumas of Lee Beck; Jeremy Brown of his dad Ron Brown; Jerry Rogers of Billy Ball; Jimmy McPherson of Loren Zimmerman; Joe Blackbourn of his dad Richard Blackbourn; Joe Bumgardner of John Robert Arnold; and John Guyton of his dad Mark Guyton. They were introduced by Vice President Chip Templeton.

Makeups : . David Boles made up July 12 in Burlington, Mass. and Austin, TX July 18; Martha Wells made up July 24 in Athens, Greece, and July 26 in Corfu, Greece.

Meeting Notes : On behalf of all Rotarians, President Ned expressed condolences to Bo Haynes on the death of his brother, Roy.

Ned said Louis Mallory will miss today’s Rotary meeting because he’s in NYC to “ring the bell” at NASDAQ.

Rotary Minute : Tommy Wakeman took very little more than his alloted 60 seconds to give a perfect Rotary Minute. Holding up the August issue of The Rotarian magazine, he urged everyone to especially read the 8-page section “ROTARY BASICS” starting on page 39. “It has everything you need to know about Rotary,” he said, “and there are some other interesting articles that make very good reading.”

Roy Ruby followed up with another gem for his “absolutely nothing to do about Rotary” minute.

NEW MEMBER CLYDE HERRING

Clyde Herring, one of our newest members, welcomed Rotarians as they came to the meeting, then gave a brief introductory talk. A native of Starkville and son of Rotarian Dora Herring and the late Ward Herring, Clyde has been on the faculty of the MSU School of Accountancy since 1987. Recently, he has been serving as interim head of the accountancy school .

He’s a graduate of SHS, where he was a member of the band and played basketball. He earned his BS and MS degrees at MSU and his PhD from University of Alabama. He and his wife Tammye have two sons, Christopher (a sophomore at MSU) and Jordan (a junior at Starkville Academy. “I’m honored to be sponsored by Bill Simmons and look forward to being part of Rotary and its service to the community.”

We’re pleased to welcome Clyde as a new member and the Club’s first Rotarian mother-son combination.

MSU FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE!

The lights at the practice field were on Wednesday as Mississippi State’s football team officially opened the 2007 football season with its first practice session. Although pre-season prognosticators rank the Bulldogs at the bottom of the SEC West, the team and coaching staff are hard at work to prove the early guessers dead wrong.

Rocky Felker, who moves back to the field to coach running backs, is excited about the prospects. With so many of last year’s players returning, Rocky told Rotarians “we have more talent, more depth, and a good staff. The attitude is good and we have good chemistry.”

Before talking about the team, Coach Felker reminisced a bit. He recalled the days when his Dad brought him to MSU football games before he came here as a student athlete and became the Bulldog quarterback. His coaching career began as soon as he graduated, serving as running backs coach here for 3 years. Coaching stints at Texas Tech, Memphis State, and University of Alabama followed before he returned to serve as MSU’s head football coach for 4 years (1986-1990). He coached at Tulsa and Arkansas twice before returning to MSU as Coordinator of Football Operations in 2002

“I’ve worn many hats, but this is home – we’ve lived here longer than anywhere. My youngest son said he’d lived two times each in three different cities – Starkville, Fayetteville, and Tulsa,” he chuckled.

“Football has changed a lot. Now it’s a year-round process. Mississippi State has had a tough 5 years of football. SEC is the toughest league other than the NFL,” Rocky said. “Rebuilding is a process and when Coach Croom came, he knew it was going to take time. He was determined to build the RIGHT way not the QUICK way.”

He feels very good about the staff. In addition to moving Rocky to the field, Coach Croom added three other experienced assistants–Charlie Harbison (defensive backs) and David Turner (defensive line) from Alabama, and Pat Washington (wide receivers) from Kansas State.

“Offensively, we have to score points. Last year we struggled. This is the best offensive line since I returned. All but one starter from last year is back and we have good depth behind them,” he said. Senior center Royce Blackledge was named to the pre-season SEC third team.

He reported that Anthony Dixon had a good spring at running back. “At 240 pounds, he can run over or around you, he catches the ball well.” There’s good depth at that position as well

“Wide receivers may be the most improved part of our team. All of them are big, fast, and can catch the ball.”

Experienced quarterback Mike Henig needs to stay healthy. “Our offensive line has to protect him and he needs to quit trying to run over people and learn how to slide.” Backing him up is a promising transfer, junior Josh Ridell.

On defense, the Bulldogs have been very competitive but they lost a number of players. There will be new faces on the line and in the backfield. “We think we have more depth on defense this year. The only question going into the season is our untested defensive tackles.”

Three defensive players earned coaches’ pre-season SEC honors – defensive back Derek Pegues (first team), senior defensive end Titus Brown (second team), and junior linebacker Jamar Chaney (third team).

“Don’t ask me about our kicking game although we feel good about it. Carson (kicker) and McAdams (punter) had a good spring but they have to produce. We’ve got to win the kicking game,” Rocky said.

Coach Felker thinks recruiting is going good and expects MSU to sign 18 -20 players the coming year. “We have to make tough decisions in recruiting. Academics and character are important. We’re here to win games, but we’re also here to make a difference in our players’ lives,” he said.

“I’m pleased and excited to be working with Coach Croom. He is a master teacher and motivator. He expects players to follow the rules and he deals well with parents. I encourage you to get behind him and the team as they move into tough SEC Conference play,” he concluded.

He responded to a number of questions.

A new rule moves the kickoff back 5 yards to the 30 yardline. “This should reduce the odds of the ball being kicked through the end zone.” It also will give the receiving team two options for out-of-bounds kickoffs. There are two options, take the ball on the 35 or 40 (Rocky wasn’t sure which) or have it re-kicked from the 25.

The new academics building scheduled for completion in 2008 will mean a lot to the program. All tutoring will take place there and it will have a cafeteria for the players.

Are you going to use the west coast offense? “I guess that’s what you’d call it, but it’s actually evolved into a number of different offenses,” Rocky answered.

What about trick plays? “We have more talent at the receiver positions so I think you’ll see some more creativity on offense this year.”

Dave Boles introduced the program.

EILAND PROPOSED FOR MEMBERSHIP

Bobby Eiland, new Headmaster for Starkville Academy, is proposed by Jeff Read . He has been approved by the Membership committee for active membership with the classification “Education – Administration” and is hereby published by the Board for membership review. If no objections are filed by Monday, August 13, he will be considered elected to membership.

A RESIGNATION

The resignation of Meloney Linder has been accepted with regret by the Board of Directors. Meloney’s husband has accepted new employment and the family is moving from our community

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