News from MSU Media Relations--Jan. 6

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Football, Women's Basketball and Baseball.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen didn't have to go very far to find a pair of perfect matches to add to the Bulldog coaching staff, as he promoted Chris Wilson to defensive coordinator and Angelo Mirando to coach the wide receivers, the university announced Monday.

Wilson served as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in 2010, his first season at Mississippi State. Under his tutelage, the Bulldog defense front improved against the run by an average of nearly 30 yards per game, and rose in the national rankings from 68th in 2009 to 17th this season. The defense also improved in tackles for loss (from 89th to 17th nationally) and sacks (up from 1.33 per game to 2.00).

State's defensive unit bettered its 2009 opponents' points-per-game by nearly a touchdown per game from 26.75 last season to 19.85 in 2010.

"Chris is a talented and knowledgeable coach with a wealth of experience, and we intend to build upon what our defense did this past season," Mullen said. "Chris has a great relationship with our players and he'll make a seamless transition."

Prior to his arrival in Starkville, Wilson coached at Oklahoma for five seasons. He coached defensive ends for three years and also served as special teams coordinator. In 2009, Wilson helped mentor a defensive front that finished eighth nationally against the run, allowing only 92 yards per game, and posted the sixth-most sacks in the country. The Sooner defense also finished the season ranked eighth in total defense and seventh in points allowed.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to continue what we've started here," Wilson said. "I'm thankful to Coach Mullen for the opportunity and I know we can build something special here at Mississippi State. There's still a great deal of improvement to make, and we're looking forward to hitting the ground running both in recruiting and when we get back to the practice fields."

Mirando, who played quarterback at Case-Western Reserve before graduating in 2008, spent the previous three seasons, one at Florida and two at Mississippi State, serving as the on-field offensive graduate assistant. He worked with the quarterbacks in 2009 before helping with the receivers in 2010.

"Coach Mullen has been a great mentor to me the past few years and I'm looking forward to continuing to build this program to a championship level," Mirando said. "We've got a great group of young receivers that I've enjoyed working with this year and we'll hit the ground running in the spring to get a whole lot better in 2011."

Mirando coached the wide receivers during bowl practices leading up to Mississippi State's 52-14 victory over Michigan in the Progressive Gator Bowl. The Bulldog wideouts, playing without injured Chad Bumphis and Leon Berry, combined for 14 receptions for 191 yards and three scores.

"Angelo has a great knowledge of our offensive system and what we're trying to accomplish," Mullen said. "He did a tremendous job during the bowl preparation and I'm confident he'll do a great job working with our receivers full-time."

Wilson takes over the coordinator spot following the departure of Manny Diaz, who was announced Wednesday as defensive coordinator at Texas. Mirando replaces former wide receiver coach Mark Hudspeth, who accepted the head coaching job at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in December.

"We're very thankful for the work that Manny and Mark did during their time with us," Mullen said. "I'm happy for them and their families, and wish them the very best.

"Obviously it shows the direction our program is headed when universities around the nation are trying to emulate the success we're building, and will continue to build, at Mississippi State."

The Bulldogs have one open coaching position yet to fill on the defensive side of the ball, and Mullen has said he will conduct a national search. The head coach also suggested the possibility of hiring a co-coordinator, just as the team had with Diaz and Wilson in 2010.

Women's Basketball
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mississippi State could not overcome slow start, as the Lady Bulldogs dropped a 65-44 decision to homestanding Vanderbilt in a Southeastern Conference women's basketball game played Thursday night at Memorial Gymnasium.

MSU saw a modest three-game win streak in the series snapped, while dropping its conference opener. The Lady Bulldogs are now 8-5 overall and 0-1 in league play, while the Lady Commodores are now 10-5 and 1-1.

The Lady Bulldogs actually held a 4-3 lead before the Lady Commodores reeled off a 16-0 run. MSU went 7:29 during the run without scoring a point. A Danielle Rector 3-point basket ended the draught but the damage had been done.

Vanderbilt parlayed the momentum from its fast start for a 31-16 halftime advantage.

In the opening stages of the final half, the Lady Bulldogs closed within 14 on two different occasions. The Lady Commodores moved back out of danger with a 7-0 run. The lead grew to as many as 25 before the VU settled in for the comfortable victory.

The Lady Bulldogs did a get a spark from sophomore reserve Darriel Gaynor. Gaynor had previously appeared in four games and had not scored on the season. Thursday night, the transfer from Oregon by way of Trinity Valley Community College scored 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting in 15 minutes of action.

The Maroon and White struggled on the offensive end, hitting only 28 percent of their shots from the floor. The Lady Bulldogs only converted four 3-point baskets in the contest and had six assists against 21 turnovers.

In the game's final half, the Lady Commodores heated up, moving up to 41 percent shooting in the game's final half. That allowed the hosts to open a comfortable lead and maintain that advantage.

For the contest, the Lady Bulldogs hit 16 of 58 shots from the field (27.6 percent), 4 of 20 shots from 3-point range (20 percent) and 8 of 13 shots from the foul line (61.5 percent). The Lady Commodores hit 20 of 58 shots from the field (34.5 percent), 5 of 20 shots from 3-point range (25 percent) and 20 of 29 shots from the foul line (69 percent).

VU held a 46-44 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bulldogs had six assists and 21 turnovers, while the Lady Commodores had 13 assists and 15 turnovers.

Porsha Porter added eights points to the Lady Bulldogs' cause. Ashley Brown had a team-high nine rebounds for MSU.

Vanderbilt received a double-double from Stephanie Holzer (14 points, 13 rebounds) in only 21 minutes of play. Jence Rhoads added 13 points, while Jasmine Lister scored 12 points.

The Lady Bulldogs host No. 25 Arkansas at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The Lady Backs come to town fresh off a 78-67 upset win over No. 10 Kentucky Thursday night. The MSU-Arkansas contest will be televised regionally by Fox Sports Net South.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State ranked sixth in the nation in both total and average home paid baseball attendance in 2010 according to figures released this week by the NCAA.

The Diamond Dogs drew 194,094 fans on 32 home dates last spring, averaging 6,065 per contest. Mississippi State's 11-7 Super Bulldog Weekend win over Tennessee drew an overflow crowd of 11,089 to Dudy Noble Field, the largest actual game attendance in the Southeastern Conference in 2010.

The Southeastern Conference was well-represented in the national paid attendance rankings. LSU's paid attendance of 394,900 topped the list that featured five SEC teams ranked in the top six, nine of the top 25 and all 12 league teams included in the top 38.

Mississippi State launches its 121st season of baseball and a 35-game home schedule February 18 when State takes on first-time opponent Akron. Third-year MSU skipper John Cohen and the Bulldogs face both Akron and Lamar twice during the three-day double round-robin competition on opening weekend. State plays its first 14 games and 18 of its first 19 contests in Starkville.

A school-record 5,632 baseball season tickets were distributed in 2010, and the 2011 baseball season ticket campaign is underway, with a January 14 deadline approaching for renewal of season tickets in the chairback section of the stadium. Additional baseball season ticket information is available through the MSU Athletics Ticket Office (662-325-2600).

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