Earlier tonight, Mississippi State was announced as one of the 16 NCAA regional hosting sites. The No. 16-ranked Bulldogs (43-17) will host three other teams starting Friday, marking the 12th time in program history MSU has hosted a regional.
I caught up with athletics director Scott Stricklin for a few quick questions, and here’s the full Q&A.
Felt confident you’d host:
“I’m proud of our players and our coaches and everybody on our staff who put us in position to be able to host. I appreciate the committee recognizing what our team has has done over the course of 60 games, as worthy of being one of the 16 host sites.”
Expecting big crowds, maybe record-breaking crowds?
“I’m sure we’ll have big crowds. If the weather cooperates, I’m sure we’ll have crowds as big or bigger than anybody else’s. Hosting baseball regionals is something that’s kind of in our DNA as a university. It’s important to us as a school, it’s important to the fans. We’ve created a lot of great memories through the years hosting baseball regionals, and we have an opportunity to create some new ones this weekend.”
Logistics of hosting a regional:
“Our administrative staff been has working on it for several weeks doing pre-planning in the event we ended up hosting. Last week we had several meetings working out details, so as soon as the announcement is made we’re ready to go out with ticket information and all the other details that don’t just happen overnight. There’s got to be a lot of planning that goes into that. Mike Nemeth and Duncan McKenzie and John King, Jason Walker in our ticket office, and Mike Richey in the Bulldog Club. There’s a marketing staff, media relations. There’s a lot of people working a lot of different directions trying to pull all that together. You like to see all their hard work put to good use, and our baseball team did what they needed to do on the field to make that happen.”
Having a regional back on campus, will it feel like it used to?
“There’s a lot of people who are Mississippi State baseball fans who were first exposed to our baseball program through NCAA postseason play – being there or listening to it on the radio. It’s part of our DNA as an institution. It’s important to everybody who loves the maroon and white to have that opportunity to not just play baseball games, but to bring in other teams. We’re awful proud of the hospitality we provide those teams and the way they’re treated while they’re in town. Our fans go out of their way to make them feel welcome, to make their fans feel welcome. There’s competition on the field, but off the field we want people to leave with a really strong impression of the state of Mississippi and our university.”