February 2, 2009 Rotogram


Wayne Henson, executive director of the East Mississippi Electric Power Association is our guest speaker today.


Roger King, interim director of MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, will report next week on the university’s contributions to the automobile and other industries.


Invocation and Pledge: Jack Harder

Attendance: There were 123 members (33 exempt, 1 honorary) present, and 76 (22 exempt, 8 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: Bill Overstreet of West Point was our visiting Rotarian. Members’ guests were Ben Carver of P.C. McLaurin, Dunlap Catledge of Mike Cason, Gordon Eastman of Les Potts, Rodney Foil of Frank Chiles, and Russell Kelley of Jim Ormon. Guests of the Club were Jarred Reneau, Ambassadorial Cultural Scholar, and Taka Sato, Youth Exchange Student.

Makeups reported:  Dave Boles in Alexandria, Va., Tommy Wakeman in San Andreas, Colombia, Mike Cason in Aberdeen and Mike Hainsey in West Point.

Rotary Minute:  Sarah Fratesi recounted an amusing story for a serious purpose. The Rotary Club of Bloomfield, Ind., auctioned the opportunity to trim a member’s “out-of-control” eyebrows. The effort raised $1,600 for polio eradication. See one account at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28761473/.

Kudos:  Bob  Wolverton was noted for his being profiled on MSU’s “Our People” Web page.
President Chip, Kim Richardson and Joe Fratesi “survived” the Frostbite Half Marathon on Jan. 24.


  • The Rotary Classic Rodeo committee chaired by Loren Zimmerman needs a few more good volunteers for Sat., Feb. 14.  Each day’s workers should report by 6:30 p.m.  Be ready to work for a couple of hours, but feel free to stay until the rodeo’s end.
  • Adding to the festivities will be a Valentine’s Day celebration drawing for roses and dinners for two on Saturday night.
  • Remember to turn in your ticket proceeds or unsold tickets by Feb. 9 to a rodeo committee member.
  • O.A. Cleveland announced that everyone at the SOB’s table had bought and donated their ticket allotments and challenged every other table to do the same. Rotarians are encouraged to purchase tickets for the children served by the Father’s Child Ministry, our designated rodeo beneficiary. However, members are welcomed to purchase tickets for any other groups or individuals that may not be able to afford the event.
  • If you have sold your 4-ticket allotment, you can get your 2 free tickets today.


Standing in for Ed Clynch, Sarah Fratesi reminded members to nominate Rotarians and non-Rotarians for service awards to be presented at our annual spring banquet.


The Classification Committee recommended to the Board of Directors that the club admit as a new member Rodney Foil. A former member of our club, the former MSU Vice President of  Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine is classified as Education-Administration, Retired.


Celebrating our growing numbers of  $1,000 Rotary Foundation contributors, Robert Clark, foundation committee chair, and  Past-District Governor Jack Forbus recognized our latest Paul Harris Fellows. Eddie Keith, Grady Mitchener and Steve Taylor received their medals and first pins. Recognitions for multiple donations went to P.C. McLaurin and Rex Buffington with their second PH pins. Stu Vance, past-district governor received his Paul Harris-plus-3 pin. Ned Browning was recognized for his service as last year’s Club president with his third PH designation. And, Cary Hardin blew the curve attaining his fifth recognition.


Intensity is the theme running through anything related to John Cohen, Mississippi State University’s new head baseball coach.

Introducing the MSU baseball alumnus, Rotarian Dave Boles recounted the coach’s days on the 1990 roster. As a member of two of the program’s 50-win teams, the All-SEC outfielder “would go astronomically insane” when he struck out, according to Boles.

“If he’s that intense as head coach, I can’t imagine where we’re headed,” said the associate athletic director.

Demonstrating his drive, Cohen said that it is well and good that teams look forward to the rousing atmosphere of Dudy Noble Field, but he really wants them to despise coming here and losing.

First addressing a tradition, he announced that the M-over-S baseball logo would remain despite the university’s move to new identity marks.

Emphasizing the importance of getting good players, Cohen noted that he and all three assistant coaches had been recruiting coordinators at other institutions.

Butch Thompson is “one of the great pitching minds in the country.” The Amory native, had the shortest Division I head coaching tenure in history — 17 minutes. Cohen called him on his way to start the job at High Point University in North Carolina.

Lane Burroughs, a Meridian native, served as recruiting coordinator at Southern Miss for 9 years. In 7 of those years, USM went to regionals.

Nick Mingione, a Cohen assistant at Kentucky, is “one of the best short game and base running instructors.”

Rounding out the baseball staff are Tyler Bratton, operations director, and Greg Drye, administrative assistant.

Academics are traditionally strong in the MSU baseball program. Cohen rightfully bragged on the team’s best-ever semester last fall:

  • 3.31 GPA
  • 25 of 36 student-athletes with 3.00 or higher GPA
  • 35 of 36 student-athletes with 2.66 or higher GPA
  • 83 percent of all classes taken resulted in an A or B grade
  • 4 4.0 GPA student-athletes

Cohen enthusiastically explained the benefits of the new $10 million Templeton Academic Center. Its 34,000 square feet house MSU’s academic counseling staff, tutoring rooms, computer labs, and a 300-seat dining room with a full-service kitchen.

Physical development, speed training and conditioning are being improved by a strong nutrition education program.

Besides the campus-based support for ballplayers, the community’s involvement in the Foster Parent Program is a boon to the team. Local residents take a player under their wings and make the young men feel at home.

Among a number of current projects are developing the Easton Practice Infield at the Palmeiro Center, new uniforms, and creating a new face for Dudy Noble Field.

Paying homage to “The Man” and poking good natured fun at him, Cohen assured everyone that Ron Polk is reconciled with the program.

“He’s been everything in the world to me,” said Cohen. “And, he has done some many things for so many coaches around the country.”

But, Cohen closed with praise for “The Other Man,” Greg Byrne, the athletic director who had faith in him to offer him the head coaching job.

Bulldog Baseball 2009
First Pitch Banquet
Feb. 19
Season Opener
Northern Illinois
Fri., Feb. 20 (6:00 pm)

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