Jim Tompkins, Coordinator of Player Relations

When Coach Sly Croom took over the football reigns at MSU, one of the few coaches he kept on staff was veteran MSU coach Jim Tompkins. Coach Tompkins, who has coached at MSU for the past 15 years, knows the ins and outs of the MSU football program better than anyone. Gene's Page recently caught up with Coach Tompkins to find out more about his new job as Coordinator of Player Relations.

What does your new job responsibilities include?
"To be honest, it could include just about everything.

"Basically, when you have 130 players on your team, you not only have them but also their problems. So, I'm basically dealing with any problems that might come up with them. I also try to head off any problems before they start. For example, because of all the problems that happened at Colorado, we had a seminar before the players left where several speakers came in and talked about those kind of problems and ways to prevent them.

"I'm also in charge of finding summer jobs for the kids. That's a big-time job in itself. While I've already done a lot of traveling meeting with people who might employ kids, if anybody has a summer job, they can call me at 1-662-325-5525 or they can fax me at 1-662-325-8833 and I'll get back with them.

"Another thing I do is travel around meeting with alumni at alumni meetings. I'm also done some speaking at several alumni functions. I also work with the coaches if they have a problem that I can help with. Another thing I work with is getting our new signees admitted to school.

"I'm enjoying what I'm doing. I love coaching but I'm still in the middle of dealing with the players. Actually, I've done the same things as I'm doing now, but I'm just doing more of them."

Do you miss the coaching aspect of your previous job?
"Yes, I'll always miss that."

Do you still deal much with the recruiting aspect of coaching or did that stop once you changed jobs?
"I'm still involved somewhat in recruiting, but it's now office things and more on-campus. I don't go on the road any longer."

In the past, one of the shortcomings for the coaches was the fact that you didn't have the additional personnel in the office who could make your coaching jobs easier. With you taking over the player relations and other football-related responsibilities, Brad Pendergrass taking over a lot of in-house recruiting and helping Coach Croom and Rockey Felker coordinating the overall football program, do you feel that has helped give the the coaching staff more time to deal with their coaching and recruiting responsibilities?
"I think it is really helping our staff, especially the new staff members because they have more time."

You said you've talked with alumni and attended alumni functions. What's the attitude among the alumni about the new football era?
"Everybody is excited about the upcoming year and very upbeat about the future of the program. Plus, they are looking forward to getting the NCAA (investigation) out of the way.

"Another thing people are excited about is the seven-game schedule. They feel it is very interesting that we have seven home games.

"Although this has nothing to do with the attitude of the fans, something else that has been good has been the positive attitude of the kids."

You've been at Mississippi State for a long time and you've been in coaching for a long time. What advice would you give to the fans about what to expect from the new era?
"I would tell the fans to be patient. Don't expect miracles. Expect slow, but steady progress."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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