May 13, 2013 Rotogram: 41

Social Security

Katherine Little, a new Rotarian and a Certified Senior Advisor with T. E. Lott & Co., addresses Social Security issues. Jeff Read will introduce her.

Next Week: B-24 Missions in WWII

Rotarian John Fraiser recounts more of his experiences as an airman on a B-24 Liberator during World War II. Roy Ruby will introduce him.

For the Record—May 6

Invocation and Pledge:         Bob Whiteside

Attendance:                                            58%

Present — 107 (35 exempt)

Absent — 72 (9 exempt, 11 honorary)

Makeups Reported:                    Jeff Donald

Guests: Member guests were John Guyton of Mark Guyton, Sidney Simpson of Nellah Taylor, and Tony Carr of Corey Ravenhorst. Guests of the Club were Beth Nilsson and Giulia Martinoli, Youth Exchange student.

Meeting Notes

  • President Debra congratulated John Robert Arnold on his 90th birthday and invited fellow Rotarians to the May 18 party in his honor. The event is from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church.
  • President-elect Brent reminded members to sign up for committee slots for the 2013-2014 program year. As of last Monday, 60 Rotarians had recorded their service preferences.

Youth Exchange Needs Host Families

We need host families for our new RYE student, who arrives around August 1 for her year with us. The 16-year-old girl is sponsored by the Emmerich-Rees Rotary Club (D 1870).

Please suggest potential host families to Keith or Debra so they can make contacts.

Recruitment Incentives

District Governor Danny Williams is offering incentives for member recruitment.

Bring a potential member as a guest. E-mail that person’s contact information to Williams at and the Club will receive a $10.00 meal reimbursement.

Sponsor a former Rotarian or a former participant in a Rotary program (Youth Exchange, Ambassadorial Scholar, Group Study Exchange, etc.) and receive a $100 reward.

Board Meeting

The board of directors meets at 11:45 in the Harvey’s Board Room tomorrow.

Paul Harris Fellow

Joking that “there aren’t many times that you get money from a politician,” Past-President Larry Mullins welcomed State Representative Gary Chism as a new Paul Harris Fellow. When Chism recently resigned due to his legislative load, he was a Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member very near to PH status.

Mullins reminded us that the district gets back 50 percent of donated funds each year based on the previous three years’ giving record.

Mississippi State Tennis Bounces Back

May 6 — Coach Per Nilsson aims to bring Mississippi State University tennis back to the level of excellence it exhibited during his days on the university’s courts.

Hosting first and second round NCAA tournament matches last weekend, the 10th ranked Bulldogs stepped back into contention for the first time in 12 years. The team downed Austin Peay and Harvard on the way to the Round of 16 where they face No. 6 Tennessee on Thursday. This is the eleventh time in school history that the tennis team has gone this far.

While championship play is on Nilsson’s mind, he is even more focused on the personal qualities of his players.

“When I went to school, I was only focused on tennis,” said the 1994 MSU grad. “Now, a player is way more looked at as an athlete and a student. That’s why I challenge them to get a good GPA every year.”

His team boasts a 3.85 grade point average, the highest of any MSU varsity sport.

The Lund, Sweden, native came to State from Jackson where he had been an exchange student. In his playing career, he racked up 91 singles victories.

Completing his sixth year as head coach, he has brought the team from a ranking of 75th in the nation in 2008-2009.

His head coaching record includes three All-Americans, 12 All-SEC players, two SEC Western Division Championships and Coach of the Year in the SEC and ITA region in 2011.

“The SEC is brutal with eleven top 25 teams,” said Nilsson. “Going into the SEC tournament we were ninth in the country, but were ninth seed.”

He tries to recruit the best players possible with good character that will make Mississippi State proud.

To face a full complement of matches, he has to have six players. His goal is to have eight. The challenge is to recruit with only 4.5 scholarships.

He said it’s a bit embarrassing that he has no players from Mississippi or even from the U.S.

“Mississippi is not a tennis state,” he said. “We had the state’s top tennis player last year, but he wasn’t used to the intensity at this level and his grades dropped badly.”

To set the perspective, he noted that the nation’s top player got full scholarship offers at Duke and Stanford.

Speaking of recruiting, Nilsson said, “Every recruit I’ve brought to Starkville has come here. If you’ve ever been in Starkville, you know what happens. It grows on you and you’ll never forget about it.”

“We travel to all these campus in big cities like L.A. and Chicago and almost every time my players say ‘I prefer Mississippi State.’ That’s a credit to the people in Starkville,” he said. “People are so nice and recruits say ‘This is cool; they are interested in who we are.’ But, it’s not easy to get these top players from all over the world to visit.”

Despite a stellar record, Nilsson said that this has been his hardest coaching year.

“Last year was really easy. We had seniors that took care of school and enjoyed life in Starkville,” he said. “This year half my team are freshmen. What a difference! This is where it becomes hard for a coach. Should I take winning over doing the right thing?”

In the end, his philosophy is “Winning doesn’t come ahead of character, of representing the school. That’s what we’ve dealt with this year. I have a weak spot for players who can’t do it on their own, but at the end of the year, you have to make decisions that are best for the team, the school and the players.

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