• 73°
franklin county times

First game finally here for Croom

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
August 31, 2004
STARKVILLE Saturday night at Wade Davis Stadium will be the culmination of 28 years of coaching preparation for Sylvester Croom.
The first-year Mississippi State University head football coach will be the No. 1 man for the first time in his professional career when the Bulldogs host the Tulane Green Wave at 5 p.m..
"It is the coming together of everybody who has impacted me in my life," Croom said during his regular Monday teleconference. "I'm looking forward to the ballgame. I wish my dad (Sylvester Croom Sr.) and coach (Paul 'Bear') Bryant were here to talk to and see what happens this weekend."
Croom became the 31st head football coach at MSU in December, taking over a team that has lost 27 of its last 35 games.
The Alabama native, who had been the running backs coach for the Green Bay Packers for the last three years, made national news when he joined the Bulldogs program.
Croom is the first African-American head football coach in the history of the Southeastern Conference. The historical hiring has been the focus of media attention at MSU leading up to the 2004 season.
The significance of the hiring is not lost on Croom, who was one of the first African-Americans to play for the University of Alabama, but the coach has tried to keep the focus on his team.
"Loving history the way I do, I will come to appreciate it," said Croom, who is one of only five black head coaches among 117 Division I-A schools. "For me personally, I do feel good about the fact that my life will have made an impact, but right now, the most important thing is our players, their welfare and the ballgames here at State."
The only first' Croom is concerned about going into this weekend is his performance in his first game as a head coach.
"Everything this year, as much as I've prepared for it, is going to be a new experience, and I hope I can get through this week," Croom said. "It will be a good feeling going out there for the first time with your team that you are responsible for."
Croom will have plenty of support to lean on in his first game, both on and above the field.
Offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey and defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson will call down plays from the press box. Wide Receivers coach Guy Holliday will also be keeping an eye on the game from the press box.
"I may do more tugging than they are, asking them, 'What do you think? What do you think?,'" Croom said. "I will have to process a lot of information in a hurry to make a decision. In the past, all I've had to worry about is what was happening on my side of the ball. Now, I will have to make decisions on both sides of the ball."
The new coach will also have plenty of support in the stands at Wade Davis.
MSU media and public relations director Mike Nemeth said the school is expecting a crowd of more than 50,000 for the first game. The Bulldogs' stadium can seat 55,082.
The crowd will include at least 30 of Croom's friends and family members.
"All my tickets are gone," Croom said. "I have about 30 people coming to the game who I'm footing the bill for. The rest of them are on their own."

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Thomas Randall Miller

Franklin County

Community Spirit Bank announces promotion

Franklin County

Police search underway for man wanted in three states

Franklin County

Local students earn collegiate honors

East Franklin

PHOTOS: East Franklin Junior High awards honors

News

Traveling band makes stop at Phil Campbell High School

News

Russellville Parks and Rec holds adult sandlot softball game

Galleries

PHOTOS: Community celebrates Fourth of July with annual Jam on Sloss Lake

News

Second Canadian Phil greeted by town

Franklin County

Franklin County Schools lead nurse school nurse named administrator of the year

News

Former Russellville resident performs in ‘Miracle Worker’

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville, Red Bay public libraries enjoy summer reading program events

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight: Robbie Richardson

News

University of Mississippi announces spring Chancellor’s Honor Roll

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

Galleries

PHOTOS: Inaugural downtown Russellville Art Crawl winners

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals Community College signs 24 students in FAME class

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Tony Chard

News

Car show benefit helps raise needed funds

News

Russellville High School varsity cheerleaders attend UCA cheer camp

x