Thursday, April 18, 2019  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU President Mark Keenum: No plans to close T.K. Martin Center
Mississippi State University is reviewing the financial status of the T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability after a loss of grant funding has put its future in question. MSU President Mark Keenum issued a statement about the center, which serves special needs individuals through a variety of programs, Tuesday evening after speculation that the university was closing it spread rampantly on social media. "The university has no plans to close the center," Keenum said. "I have visited the center many times and have seen firsthand what an impact these programs have in helping improve the lives of individuals with disabilities." MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said the bulk of the T.K. Martin Center's funding comes from grants. Salter said it's a natural part of budget planning to discuss shortfalls. However, he said the university never considered closing the center and said claims to the contrary are incorrect.
PCS grad from Petal named Truman Scholar
Alicia D. Brown of Petal, a 2016 Presbyterian Christian graduate, is the state's only awardee to be named a Truman Scholar. Named after the nation's 33rd president, the award was created by Congress in 1975 to serve as a living memorial to support future generations who answer the call to public service leadership, a philosophy of Truman's. Brown, a student in MSU's Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College at Mississippi State University, was notified by MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum after class one day last week of her selection. She is one of only 62 outstanding college students from 58 institutions across the country, and only the 19th MSU student to receive the prestigious scholarship. "I was definitely surprised," she said. "I thought I had done well in the interview, but you never know what the selection committee is looking for, and everybody was so deserving." Brown said she had received dozens of congratulations in person, by text, and on social media, and had had several newly-selected and former scholars reach out to congratulate her and offer advice.
Clarkdale student earns scholarship for MSU Rural Medical and Science Scholars Program
A Clarkdale High School student's path to becoming a doctor became a lot smoother Wednesday. Bridgette Cerda-Marin was presented a $2,500 scholarship from Anderson Regional Medical Center during a ceremony at her school. The Clarkdale junior will use the money to attend the MSU Rural Medical and Science Scholars Program this summer, where she'll shadow medical professionals in Starkville and Jackson, earning college credit in the process. "Ever since I was in kindergarten I always wanted to become a surgeon or a doctor," said Cerda-Marin. "Actually, I've never held this much money in my hands before." The MSU Rural Medical and Science Scholars Program helps rising high school seniors decide if they want to pursue health-related careers, and shapes their understanding of medicine, health-related disciplines, and other STEM fields, according to its website.
Starkville tax vote, alderman special election set for May 30
Starkville will hold two special elections on May 30 to determine if the city will implement a 1-percent increase to its tourism sales tax and to fill the now-vacant Ward 5 alderman seat. The city must replace Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller, who resigned from his seat on the board Monday to take a job in Biloxi. Qualifications for the election, through the city clerk's office, are open today through May 8. Candidates must register as independents for the election. While that special election will only be open to voters in Ward 5, the 1-percent tax referendum will be a citywide vote. Starkville is looking to add to its 2-percent restaurant and hotel/motel sales tax to build a new tournament-ready baseball and recreation facility at Cornerstone Park on Highway 25. The 1-percent tax funding would also be used for improvements at Starkville's existing parks. Sixty percent of voters must approve the tax for it to take effect.
What is Maundy Thursday?
Christians today observe Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Maundy is derived from the Latin word for "command," and refers to Jesus' commandment to the disciples to "Love one another as I have loved you." Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, which Christians consider the institution of Holy Eucharist, also known as the Lord's supper or communion. It is described in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22. At the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus breaks bread, saying, "This is my body," and pours wine, saying, "This is my blood." He then asks the disciples to "Do this in remembrance of me."
Severe storm system threatens Deep South with strong winds, flooding, tornadoes
A three-day severe storm system that brought hail, high winds and some tornadoes to the Kansas-Texas corridor moved slowly eastward into the Deep South Thursday, threatening more violent weather on its way to the Atlantic coast. The National Weather Service warns of several possible tornadoes and extensive wind damage across the central Gulf Coast states, South and Tennessee Valley -- especially in Louisiana and Mississippi. Excessive rain is possible from the central Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley. While fears of massive hail and numerous tornadoes failed to materialize across North Texas overnight, seven tornadoes were reported across the Plains from the northeastern Texas Panhandle to southeastern Kansas. The storm promises no let-up as it churns across the Deep South.
Meridian area facing thunderstorms, flooding, tornadoes; schools announce early dismissals
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for Lauderdale and surrounding counties for Thursday afternoon into the night. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are likely, and a strong tornado cannot be ruled out, according to the weather service. Damaging wind gusts of 70 to 80 mph, and quarter size hail are likely. A flood watch has been issued for much of the state including Lauderdale and surrounding counties until 10 p.m. Because of the threat, Meridian elementary schools will close at 12:30 and secondary schools will close at 1 p.m. All after school activities are canceled. Lauderdale County schools will dismiss at 2 p.m. The possibility of thunderstorms begins Thursday afternoon, with the greatest threat between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Drones, Supercomputers and Sonar Deployed Against Floods
An arsenal of new technology is being put to the test fighting floods this year as rivers inundate towns and farm fields across the central United States. Drones, supercomputers and sonar that scans deep under water are helping to maintain flood control projects and predict just where rivers will roar out of their banks. Together, these tools are putting detailed information to use in real time, enabling emergency managers and people at risk to make decisions that can save lives and property, said Kristie Franz, associate professor of geological and atmospheric sciences at Iowa State University. The cost of this technology is coming down even as disaster recovery becomes more expensive, so "anything we can do to reduce the costs of these floods and natural hazards is worth it," she said. "Of course, loss of life, which you can't put a dollar amount on, is certainly worth that as well."
Mississippi drivers can put flag minus rebel X on license
Mississippi residents who want a state flag without the Confederate battle emblem will soon be able to display one on their license plate. Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Tuesday authorizing the state to sell several new specialty license plates, starting July 1. One of them features a proposed state flag designed by Jackson artist Laurin Stennis. Legislators have not changed the actual flag that's the last in the U.S. with the Confederate emblem, although some have pushed for the "Stennis Flag." Stennis says her design represents unity. It has red vertical bars on each side and a white center with a large blue star encircled by 19 smaller ones, representing Mississippi as the 20th state. Like most specialty license plates in Mississippi, this one will cost an extra $30 a year. Most of the money will go toward operation and maintenance of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Mississippi GOP governor primary: Reeves, Waller, Foster shape images
The Donald Trump acolyte. The steady and likable conservative. The brash political outsider. At campaign events and on social media, the three Republican candidates for Mississippi governor -- Tate Reeves, Bill Waller Jr. and Robert Foster -- have begun shaping their political images ahead of what's expected to be a competitive primary. Political observers initially figured Reeves was a shoo-in to win his party's primary and likely face Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in November's general election. Reeves is a well-known name as lieutenant governor and has already raised about $7 million. But experts said the recent entrance of Waller, a former state Supreme Court chief justice whose father was governor in the 1970s, throws that outcome into question. Here's how the three Republicans are trying to portray themselves to voters -- and why -- as the campaign season heats up before the Aug. 6 primary.
Jim Hood talks criminal justice, economy, infrastructure and healthcare at USM town hall
Attorney General Jim Hood took part in a town hall on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi hosted by their College Democrats. The leading Democratic contender for the Governor's office took to the Pine Belt to spread his campaign message. "It's an area that likes public education and many of the issues that I support people down here support," Hood said. He's calling out state leaders including Lt. Governor Tate Reeves on using teacher pay as election year politics. "It happens in an election year people they get religion -- you know we need people to go to church more frequently than just right here in an election year," he said. "So those that are talking about education you know they hadn't done anything to help it."
In D.C., Mayor George Flaggs lauds tax plan's effect on economic development
Mayor George Flaggs Jr. had the chance to share details of economic development in Vicksburg and Warren County with the highest officials in government Wednesday as he met with President Donald Trump and federal economic officials. Flaggs visited the White House to discuss the success of Opportunity Zones in Vicksburg and Warren County. "I remain optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead for the City of Vicksburg as a result of my continued relationship with the White House," Flaggs said. On the Opportunity Zones, Flaggs described to the president and others, including National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson how Vicksburg and Warren County are capitalizing on the program, which was created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage private investments.
U.S. Judge Keith Starrett looks back on career before shifting to senior status
Behind the walls of the Federal Courthouse Building in Hattiesburg, the Honorable Keith Starrett, United States District Judge, looked back at his judicial career spanning 27 years. "George Washington said, 'The most important pillar of any democracy is its system of justice,'" Starrett said. Following more than 10 years of private practice, Starrett was appointed to a seat on the 14th Circuit Court District in 1992 by former Governor Kirk Fordice. In 2005, he was appointed to serve on the federal bench. "All of my legal career and the first part of my judicial career was in Pike County and that area," Starrett said. "I am from Magnolia, grew up in Magnolia. In 2005 I came to Hattiesburg on the federal bench and have thoroughly enjoyed my move. It's a great town, people are nice and friendly. A lot of positives in Hattiesburg. People don't appreciate Hattiesburg as much as they should." After years of accomplishments, including his role of starting the state's first felony-level drug court and beginning one of the first re-entry courts in the country, Judge Starrett is now shifting his role to senior status.
Washington in frenzy over release of Mueller report
Washington is on edge as it awaits the highly anticipated release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Thursday, the findings of which could ignite a political firestorm. Attorney General William Barr isn't delivering the report to Congress until 11 a.m. -- after he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hold a 9:30 a.m. press conference to discuss the findings. The move drew howls of protest from Democrats on Wednesday night, especially after The New York Times reported that White House lawyers and Department of Justice officials have already discussed details of Mueller's conclusions. Democrats say Barr has acted as an agent of President Trump in his role overseeing the release of the report, which will mark the culmination of one of the most-watched probes in recent political history. Barr has consistently argued he had to wait to release the report in order to redact any grand jury material, classified information and details pertaining to ongoing investigations.
Mueller report to test Trump's 'exoneration' claims
President Donald Trump's calculated move to pre-emptively declare "complete exoneration" in the Russia probe will be put to the test in a matter of hours. After nearly two years of waiting, the public on Thursday will finally see the results of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to sway the 2016 election and whether the president attempted to stymie that investigation. But Trump and his allies have already proclaimed there will be nothing to see and have tried to project a blase attitude. Trump's personal legal team plans to issue an initial statement as soon as the Mueller report goes public and will "respond appropriately" as the day progresses, Jay Sekulow, one of the president's lawyers, told POLITICO on Wednesday. Trump said in a radio interview Wednesday that he may hold his own press event later in the day, potentially before he leaves Washington, D.C., for the holiday weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida.
Trump's Trade War Forces Volvo To Shift Gears In South Carolina
Volvo is a Chinese-owned Swedish company making cars in the U.S. When it decided to set up a plant in South Carolina to build cars to ship around the world, it was following a long tradition. With its port, Charleston, S.C., has been a shipping hub for centuries. And the state has been home to international manufacturers for decades -- BMW, Michelin and Bosch are among the many global firms with footholds there. But before the plant opened last year, President Trump transformed America's approach to trade policy. Volvo, owned by the Chinese firm Geely, intended to export many cars from the plant near Charleston to China, but the tit-for-tat tariffs between Beijing and Washington threw a wrench into those finely tuned plans. U.S.-made Volvos aren't being sent to China after all.
Notre Dame a loss for everyone, Millsaps College professor says
A metro college professor is calling the Notre Dame Cathedral fire a loss for everyone. The professor says the iconic Catholic church in Paris brought a feeling of connectivity to all. The cathedral caught fire Monday, destroying pieces of history and some treasures that can't be replaced. Days later, a Millsaps French teacher is still in disbelief. "Those images are really difficult to see because you feel so helpless because there's nothing you can do about it," said Priscilla Fermon, an Associate Professor of French at Millsaps College. Fermon says she's visited the cathedral multiple times. She says she is Jewish but always felt a peaceful spiritual connection there.
Stacey Abrams, a national Democratic star, to deliver Tougaloo College commencement speech
Stacey Abrams, a national star in the Democratic Party since narrowly losing her historic bid last fall to become the country's first black woman governor, will be speaking in Jackson next month. A Tougaloo College spokesman confirmed Wednesday she will deliver the commencement address May 5. Abrams, the Democratic leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, is currently mulling a 2020 run for U.S. Senate or president, or another campaign for Georgia governor in 2022. The historically black college in Mississippi, where Abrams grew up, is also her parents' alma mater. The college has an enrollment of nearly 800 undergraduates and celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.
Bourbon giant gives $5 million so U. of Kentucky can 'educate the next generation of distillers'
One of Kentucky's largest distilleries will donate $5 million to the University of Kentucky to establish an institute that will "educate the next generation of distillers," officials announced Wednesday. The Jim B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits will expand bourbon education at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. "When we envisioned ways to prepare our workforce to meet the changing needs of our rapidly growing bourbon industry, a partnership with Jim Beam was a natural fit, and I can't thank them enough for the generous gift that will help bring our vision to life," said UK President Eli Capilouto. The James B. Beam Institute will be housed in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, which will oversee curriculum across the spectrum of the bourbon industry, from distillation to bottling to the industry's history.
Second candidate for UT-Knoxville chancellor emphasizes university's role in East Tennessee
The second of four candidates for chancellor of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville held an open forum on Wednesday, discussing his vision for UT as a land grant university and its role in East Tennessee. Brian Noland is currently the president of East Tennessee State University, a position he has held since 2012. Prior to that he was the chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Commission from 2006 to 2014, according to his curriculum vitae. Noland has also held a variety of positions at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, including associate executive director. He has a Ph.D. from UT Knoxville in political science. At the forum, Noland pointed out that he met his wife at UT and it is an important place to them. "This is an institution that is a special place," Noland said. "It's a place that means a great deal to us, and it's a place that means a great deal to the state of Tennessee." Noland began his forum by talking about the history of UT, specifically the university's history as a land grant institution.
Committee: UGA should apologize for Baldwin Hall decisions
A University of Georgia faculty group says administrators should apologize for their actions during and after the discovery of more than 100 presumed slave burials at a UGA construction site. In a report to the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate, an ad hoc committee calls for an apology to the presumed descendants of the people disinterred and removed from a Baldwin Hall renovation and expansion, and an apology to Laurie Reitsema, a young anthropology professor criticized by name in print by the university's public relations department after she and others questioned UGA administrators' actions. Months before UGA released the information that most of the identifiable remains were of African descent, Reitsema had told a UGA associate vice president "unequivocally that it was incumbent on UGA to initiate a process of consultation with local, probable descendant communities," not because it was her opinion, but to follow "well-established ethical standards governing anthropological research," according to the committee report. That lack of consultation was a central reason why controversy erupted over UGA officials' actions, according to the committee, chaired by Christopher Pizzino, a UGA professor of English.
Trade troubles focus of ag conference at U. of Missouri
Trade tensions and high meat supplies will put pressure on farm income this year, according to a report by the University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute. MU held its sixth annual Abner Womack Agricultural Outlook Conference Wednesday at the Bradford Research Center. The annual conference brings together farmers, policy makers and analysts to forecast conditions for the farm economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in March it expected net farm income to decline by $12 billion in 2018, or 16 percent, from 2017 levels. A 2019 farm income report also issued in March forecast a rebound of about $6.3 billion, to a total of $69.4 billion, this year. Increases in profits this year will likely be driven by accounting changes, but cash flow still remains an issue for farmers across the country, institute director Pat Westhoff said. "It's not because we got some huge change in farmer receipts or huge change in production," Westhoff said before his presentation. "Farm income remains well below the previous peak (From 2010 to 2013) and we expect that to continue."
Author discusses new book on impact of Virginia Tech mass shooting
On April 16, 2007, a gunman murdered 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech. Other mass shootings (including on college campuses) have followed, but the words "Virginia Tech" evoke a particular sense of the shock of what happened there in 2007. After Virginia Tech: Guns, Safety and Healing in the Era of Mass Shootings (University of Virginia Press) tells the story of what happened after that terrible day. Thomas Kapsidelis, the author, is a journalist and a fellow at Virginia Humanities. Via email, he responded to questions about the book.
The Students Called the TA a 'Nazi.' He Said He's Not a White Supremacist. The University Ruled He Could Return to the Classroom.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham graduate student put this information at the top of his curriculum vitae: "Native Born Citizen of the United States of America." Also highlighted: "European ancestry." That CV, belonging to Michael B. Williams, along with more than 1,100 posts that he has made on the Discord group-chat platform, became public in the last month. The posts strongly suggest that Williams, who teaches microbiology lab courses as a teaching assistant, is a member of the white-supremacist group Identity Evropa. On Wednesday dozens of students at the university gathered for a rally against hate. In recent weeks students have expressed frustration not only with Williams's views but with what some considered a muted response from university leaders. In an email to The Chronicle, Paulette Dilworth, the university's vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, rejected the suggestion that administrators had been overly cautious in confronting white supremacy.
Saving The Story Of Grits, A Dish Born Of Poverty Now On Fine-Dining Menus
Like many food writers, Erin Byers Murray enjoys taking a deep dive into learning the history and nuances of specific ingredients. For her first book, Shucked, Murray chronicled the year that she spent working on a New England oyster farm; her second book, Grits: A Cultural and Culinary Journey Through The South, however, led her on an unexpected cultural journey about the simplest of ingredients: ground corn. Interest in grits has been fueled in recent years as farmers have revived heirloom varieties of corn. Alice Randall, a novelist and cookbook author who teaches courses on both soul food and Southern food at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., sees grits as a food specifically associated with the South but not necessarily with a race or even a gender (although they were most commonly cooked by women in earlier history). "Grits are inherently Southern, so they identify as a taste of the South across cultures," she says.

Mississippi State travels to Arkansas for SEC West showdown
The second half of the Southeastern Conference schedule starts with No. 3 Mississippi State sitting atop the Western Division standings and tied with Georgia for the overall league lead. The Diamond Dogs start a pivotal series at No. 12 Arkansas tonight at 8 on ESPNU. The Razorbacks are just a game behind MSU in the division. Game 2 is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. and the series will conclude on Saturday at 2 p.m. "We're excited to show the country what we're all about," said MSU second baseman Justin Foscue. The Bulldogs (32-6, 10-5 SEC) go into Fayetteville having won seven of eight series this season and swept at home against Alabama last weekend.
Mississippi State baseball starts grueling stretch of SEC season against Arkansas
Mississippi State starts a grueling stretch of its schedule this week. The No. 2 Bulldogs (32-6, 10-5 SEC) play 10-ranked games in a row, starting with a three-game series against No. 10 Arkansas (27-10, 9-6 SEC). on the road in Fayetteville. The first game of the series, which starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, pits two of the SEC's best starting pitchers against each other. The Bulldogs bring red-shirt junior Ethan Small to the bump for the first game. He's 4-0 with a 1.83 earned run average. Arkansas trots out red-shirt junior Isaiah Campbell, who is 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA. MSU head coach Chris Lemonis said he will stick with the same rotation that he went with last week: Small in game one, senior Peyton Plumlee (2-2, 3.35 ERA) in game two and freshman J.T. Ginn (7-1, 3.35 ERA) in game three. Lemonis needs all three to be at their best against the a talented Razorbacks team.
Mississippi State's Jake Mangum brings hit watch to Fayetteville
With a great series, Mississippi State outfielder Jake Mangum could challenge a Southeastern Conference record this weekend at Baum-Walker Stadium. Mangum, a senior, is seven hits shy of tying the SEC record for hits in a career. Mangum has 345 hits, second all-time in the league behind former LSU first baseman Eddy Furniss, a College Baseball Hall of Fame member who recorded 352 hits between 1995-98. Mangum is batting .398 this season out of the leadoff position, and has an 18-game hit streak entering Thursday's series opener against the Razorbacks. He has at least four hits in every SEC series this season, and recorded seven hits during a series against Auburn last month. "He's a great hitter," said Arkansas pitcher Isaiah Campbell, who has allowed two hits in five career matchups against Mangum. "I'm just ready for the challenge to face him and heir whole lineup on Thursday." Since a breakout 9-for-13 performance in a series against Arkansas his freshman season, Mangum has struggled against the Razorbacks the past two years. He is 6-for-31 with a pair of walks in his past eight games against Arkansas, including a 3-for-13 series in his only trip to Fayetteville two years ago.
Mississippi State vs. Arkansas: Reliever's return big for Hogs
The University of Arkansas bullpen will welcome the return this week of sophomore Jacob Kostyshock just in time for a key series against SEC West-leading and No. 2 ranked Mississippi State. The right-hander has not pitched since facing three batters in relief of Isaiah Campbell in a 5-3 victory over Ole Miss on March 29 and informing the coaching staff he had soreness in his right arm. He missed 11 games. "He should be good to go this weekend," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said after Tuesday's 16-4 victory over the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. "We're excited about getting him back. He's been going full go in his bullpens. He'll be ready to pitch." Kostyshock has a 1-1 record and a 1.96 ERA in nine appearances, including one start in a scoreless five-inning stint in a 3-2 victory over Eastern Illinois on Feb. 17. In four conference games, Kostyshock is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA. "Kosty is a guy that's huge out of the bullpen," Campbell said Tuesday. "He's a guy that can set it up to get to Matt [Cronin], or he can close a game. He's got electric stuff and he just has a lot of confidence this year."
Diamond Dawgs clean up defense
Sophomore Justin Foscue is not one for postgame conversation. Intense and focused, he's more concerned with his output between the lines on the diamond rather than finding his name among lines of text from local news outlets. But Tuesday night, Foscue flashed a rare smirk when he was asked about his recent flashy glove work at second base. "I think the game slows down a little on that side because the ball's not coming so hot at you," he said. "I feel good over there. I feel like I'm helping the team a lot more than I was over at third just cause there's a lot more balls hit to me." Since MSU's home series loss to LSU, there's been a noticeable cleanliness in the field. In three games against the Tigers, the Bulldogs tallied seven errors -- three of which were combined by Foscue and sophomore Jordan Westburg. Head coach Chris Lemonis has since shifted Foscue from third base to second, while senior Marshall Gilbert and junior Gunner Halter have split time on the corner. MSU has committed just five errors in the nine games since the LSU series.
Bulldogs aim for gold finish on USA trip to Italy
The grind never stops for Mississippi State head women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer. Speaking with the media Wednesday, he disclosed his chaotic summer schedule while reflecting on MSU's 2019 Elite Eight run. "Pretty hectic schedule all summer for me and my staff and my players," Schaefer said. "But I'm excited for our players." First up is the World University Games in Naples, Italy. The Bulldogs will represent the United States in the event from June 30 to July 12. Seniors from this year's team and incoming freshmen are eligible for the tournament. Schaefer said Wednesday he expects all five freshmen to be a part of the squad, but he had not heard from the departed seniors. He also has his pick of players around the country, but did not disclose whether he will take on any other personnel. To date, the U.S. had won gold in four straight World University Games, but faltered in 2017 when Maryland represented the stars and stripes. Schaefer intends to flips that script.
Southern Miss hires one of its own to take over basketball program
Southern Miss has decided to go with a former Golden Eagle as its new men's basketball coach. USM has hired Southeastern Louisiana head coach Jay Ladner, the Sun Herald has learned. He replaces Doc Sadler, who stepped down on April 11 after five years on the job. An introductory conference for Ladner will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Trent Lott Center on the Hattiesburg campus. Ladner was one of two finalists for the job, joining Texas Tech assistant Mark Adams. USM assistant and Golden Eagle basketball legend Clarence Weatherspoon and former Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy also interviewed for the job on Tuesday in New Orleans. Ladner is a former USM basketball player who was a member of the 1987 squad that won the NIT championship -- arguably the brightest moment in the history of the Golden Eagle program.
Joe Alleva officially steps down as LSU athletic director, will transition to new role
Joe Alleva has stepped down as LSU's athletic director, the university announced Wednesday afternoon. Alleva will transition in to a new role as special assistant to the president for donor relations, LSU announced. Until a new athletic director is hired, Alleva will remain in his current role. "We are grateful to Joe for his years of service and dedication to LSU," said LSU President F. King Alexander in a statement. "Under his leadership, LSU Athletics has become even more nationally competitive and our student-athletes have reached new levels of academic achievement." His resignation comes when the LSU athletic program is embroiled in controversy, tied to a sprawling college basketball corruption scandal that includes a lengthy FBI investigation into the sport.
LSU hires Texas A&M's Scott Woodward as new athletic director
It took less than 24 hours, but LSU has its man to replace Joe Alleva as athletic director: Scott Woodward. Sources confirmed to | The Times-Picayune that the Texas A&M director of athletics agreed to take the same job at LSU on Wednesday less than an hour after LSU officially announced Alleva would be transitioning out of the role. Billy Liucci of was the first to report the news. Woodward is an LSU alumnus who served as a liaison between the university and government and corporate officials at LSU under then-chancellor and now NCAA CEO Mark Emmert from 2000-2004. He has a camp in Grand Isle, an apartment in the French Quarter and his family lives in Baton Rouge. Since his hire at Texas A&M in January 2016, Woodward has helped build the profile of Texas A&M, already one of the wealthiest programs in the country.

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