MSU Coaches Clinic a Success

One of the most important things that Coach Croom borught up in my first interview with him was the importance of high school coaches to his football program. This past Thursday and Friday, he had the chance to host almost 130 coaches from various high schools throughout the southeast at his coaches' clinic. Was his first time to meet most of these coaches a success for Coach Croom and his coaching staff?

I interviewed a couple of coaches that attended the clinic to find out their impressions of Coach Croom and his coaches' clinic. Troup County Comp. High School head football coach Tommy Walburn and Lovejoy High School head football coach Al Hughes are successful coaches in Georgia and both have former players who are currently on the MSU football team.

Tommy Walburn

What were your impressions of MSU's coaches clinic?
"I go around to all of the Southeastern Conference's clinics and can tell you I really enjoyed the hospitability. The coaches really opened everything up for us. They let us get right in there in the drills. Coach Croom and his staff really rolled out the red carpet. And Coach Felker did a great job organizing it. I've also learned a lot from the other coaches. It had some really good high school speakers from the southeast."

Was this the first time you have met Coach Croom? If so, what was your impression of him?
"I think he did a great job of making us busy. I know he and his staff are busy, especially due to this staff having to start new. They rolled the red carpet out to us and a lot of places don't do that."

How did you find out about the clinic?
"They do a good job of recruiting our area. They send a coach to our area at least once a year and talk to us about our players. And they do a good job of sending flyers out. Plus, I wanted to come to see what was going on with Coach Croom and the new changes going on. And I have a kid over here playing, Avery Hannibal. I wanted to come see him practice."

Al Hughes

What were your impressions of the coaching clinic? I'm sure you have gone to a lot of other coaching clinics.
"We try to get around as much as we can so that we can help improve ourselves. This year, I've gone to a lot of clinics and this is the most organized practices that I have been to, yet. We've seen (Georgia) Tech, Auburn, and some other people, but more work gets done here than any other place that I have been in awhile."

Is attending the actual practices a side benefit of coming to the clinics?
"Absolutely, because we throw the ball and these guys are going to be a West Coast offense. That has helped us out. Even though, when people talk about Lovejoy, they always talk about our offense, but we put emphasis on our defense just like everybody else. And they do some things, defensively, that fit in with our philosophy. Because of that, we decided this would be a good place for us to come. But the by-product that we really picked up, more than anything, was practice organization. Coach Croom gets some work done. He has done a great job of coming out here and getting some work done. You don't see that all the time and I have been around."

Have you met Coach Croom prior to the coaching clinic?
"Yeah, he came to our school to recruit our quarterback."

What are your impressions of him?
"He is a very intelligent man who has a lot of football knowledge. He is a man that has a lot of principles, a man of integrity and character. It didn't take very long to see that he is a man of character. I really enjoyed that first meeting that we had. He shook my hand with a firm grip and looked me in the eye and told me like it was. I appreciated that."

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 You can contact him by emailing

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