Demanding excellence."> Demanding excellence.">

Monday Morning Coffee Break

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01columnists/gswindoll.jpg" align="left" width="120" height="161"> Demanding excellence.

Demanding excellence! I read those two simple words on my message board all the time.

To those who demand it, do you really demand excellence? Then, before demanding it of our sports programs, demand it of yourselves. Why? Because you, as a fan, are a very important part of the success MSU has achieved in the past and will achieve in the future.

Now that you know the why. Here's the how.

  • 1) Go to games. Don't just talk a good game, instead, go to the games. Heck, MSU fans continue to complain about how sorry the MSU football team played the past two years. Did you know our attendance was just as sorry? You want facts? MSU averaged 48,291 fans per home football game last season. Only Vanderbilt among SEC teams was less with 32,192 per game. Eight, yep eight, SEC teams averaged over 80,000 fans per game. All eight were among the top 20 in attendance nation wide. Where were we ranked? 49th. What the heck, even our rival Ole Miss put us to shame by averaging almost 9,000 more fans per home game. They ranked 29th in the nation, 20 teams higher than us. And before you say it, you can talk all you want about other schools padding their gates, but, instead of complaining about that, go to the games. Then, the attendance will be higher and you won't have to complain about who is padding what.

    And did you also know that, according to the SEC's own figures, the MSU men's basketball had the lowest per home game attendance average in the SEC the past seasons, two of the greatest years in our basketball history? You want numbers? In the year 2001-2002, MSU basketball averaged 5,689 fans per game, which was 97th in the nation. That's right, 97th in the nation. Other than Ole Miss, which averaged 6,782 per game, all the other SEC teams averaged at least 8,500 fans per game. While MSU's attendance increased in the year 2002-2003, MSU was still last in the SEC. Talk all you want about our team underachieving in the NCAA Tournament, but the real underachievers were the MSU basketball fans that sat on their butts at home while our team was playing games in the Hump.

  • 2) Buy season tickets. Don't complain about the price of season tickets, instead, figure out a way to buy them. You can say things like MSU should have a better marketing plan to sell tickets or any other number of excuses you can come up with, but, I say hogwash to that. It's simple. Tickets go on sale. You buy the tickets. Complaining about not receiving an application or the price of the tickets are too high are nothing more than excuses. You have a phone. Pick it up and call the ticket office and let them know you want to buy a season ticket. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand how to do that. Heck, I'll make it easy for you. MSU ticket office phone number: 1-888-463-2947 or 1-662-325-2600.
  • 3) Give to the Bulldog Club. Instead of complaining about how much you have to give to belong, join the other 8,500 MSU fans who are already in the Club. Now, those folks demand excellence. Instead of opening their mouths demanding excellence or demanding excellence on a message board, they opened their wallets.

    We have over 100,000 alumni and over 48,000 folks who attend games and only 8,500 of them belong to the Bulldog Club. Talk about not demanding excellence. And to those of you who complain about not being contacted about joining the Bulldog Club, pick up the dang phone and call them and ask for an application for membership. I'll make this simple for you as well. Bulldog Club phone number: 1-662-325-3704. Better yet, go to the Bulldog Club site on the internet and download an application. Here's the link: Bulldog Club

  • 4) Show your support for MSU whenever possible and by any means possible. I've talked to a lot of players that play for MSU, many of whom took official visits to other schools during their recruitment. One of the things that made the biggest impression on them was the way the communities supported the schools they visited. And I'm not just talking about verbal support, but visual support as well.

    Case in point: Alabama. One high profile recruit who pretty much had his mind completely set on signing with MSU was so impressed with all the visual support in the business community of Tuscaloosa, he started to have a serious change of heart about his commitment to MSU. While he eventually signed with MSU, he told me the business community in Starkville could take a lesson or two from the business community in Tuscaloosa because just about every business he went into had all kind of Bama signs and posters on their walls. Heck, even I've noticed that when I've been in stores and restaurants in Tuscaloosa. If you are a Bulldog fan and you own a business in Starkville, go out and buy something that has MSU on it and put it somewhere where folks will see it. Show your MSU pride.

  • 5) Attend MSU alumni gatherings. There are many MSU alumni gatherings taking place the next few months. Go to at least one of them, if possible. There are many reasons for these gatherings, including generating scholarship money for your local chapter, generating interest in the sports programs at MSU, generating ticket sales interest, having fun with other MSU alumni, and listening to and meeting MSU's coaches.

    Take the time to get to know the coaches who attend the functions. Even tell the coaches the concerns you have if you have any. There is even a very good chance they will listen to what you say. As an example, one of the new football coaches, defensive coordinator Ron Cooper, mentioned to me the things he was told by MSU alumni that he had talked to while attending a few functions. Several MSU fans voiced their concerns about the lack of discipline on the MSU football team, especially on the defensive side, the past few years. Coach Cooper listened and made it a point to try and change that attitude in meetings and on the practice field this past spring. While writing your concerns on a message board allows you to vent, it will not even begin to solve the problem you are venting about. Talking to a person face to face has a much more realistic chance of starting change than posting on a message board using an anonymous username.

  • Demanding excellence! Do your part.

    Have a great Bulldog week!

    Gene Swindoll


    Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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