Straton Karatassos' Bulldog Club Update

Straton Karatassos is the director of the Mississippi State athletic department Bulldog Club. Straton, who has been with the MSU athletic department since 1973, sat down with Gene's Page recently and gave an update on the activities and operations of the Bulldog Club.

Since Coach Croom has come onboard, have you seen an increase in members and giving to the Bulldog Club?
"We have seen increased enrollment and we have seen a lot of folks come back who had become inactive. The visits that Coach Croom has made have generated a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. I think that will generate even more memberships and more gifts for the Bulldog Club. He is really good at stressing the importance of the Bulldog Club and what it means to our athletic department. People love hearing that from us, but they really like to hear it when it comes from somebody like him."

Has the Bulldog Club done any new things to try to increase enrollment?
"Mike Richey and (recent Bulldog Club hire) Bart Gregory have helped a lot. Mike helps us because he wants to. His job with promotions and marketing is already big enough but there is an area where he has really helped us.

"Not only are they helping us but another thing that we started that is very important is the new student Bulldog Club on campus. We are getting the students interested in the Bulldog Club. Even though we weren't as successful on the football field as we would liked to have been last year, we still had about 150 students join. This year there should be even more. For $25 a year, they receive a shirt and they are able to meet coaches and really see what it is all about. And the transition (to the main Bulldog Club) seems logical when they graduate because their membership entitles them to a few priority points.

"We also reinstituted the Bulldog Club golf outing. It was the Friday before the spring game. The reason we started it back up was because we wanted to do something to show our appreciated for them being Bulldog Club members. It went really well. We had to turn people away 3 or 4 weeks before the outing. I believe we wound up having almost 100 folks involved. This year we have talked to some people about expanding the tournament. I don't see it doing anything but getting bigger and better.

"We have also contracted with some people to do direct mailings to folks. We have some unique mailing ideas planned that we hope will bring in additional members to the Bulldog Club.

"I also think the 8 or 10 specific Bulldog Club members meetings that we had early in the year is something that we will continue to build on. While we aren't trying to take away from the other MSU meetings, we feel Bulldog Club members should also have something special.

"We have also updated our computer system so that we can track our membership and interface with the ticket office much easier. It allows us to generate lists much easier."

What is your current Bulldog Club membership?
"We probably have about 6,500 members."

How many members do you want to have?
"We would love to have as many as possible. I think a misconception is that a lot of people think you have to have a lot of money to join, but that is not true. You can join at the $25 (student) to $50 yearly levels. The $100 yearly level is when you really start receiving some benefits from your giving. With the bank draft system in place, all you have to do is give up one pizza a month and you can help the Bulldog Club."

How can people join the Bulldog Club?
"They can call 662-325-3074. They can go to our website - Bulldog Club website link. We are also going to do more over the internet as far as allowing folks to join the Bulldog Club and to pay their Bulldog Club dues. People have to realize that it is now a computer era and a lot of people do their business on the internet. It is easy, quick and efficient. We aren't trying to make people have to go on the internet but we want to make it available to those that are."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by email at

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