I spent some time at the Mississippi Hound Dogs offices at BancorpSouth Arena on Thursday, in advance of Friday night's home game.
A few news nuggets:
• Owner Marty Cooper – I guess we'll never be able to quit adding to that "not the Marty Cooper who coached at ICC" – said he has a business model that can sustain the team if it can continue to draw crowds similar to the 2,400 or so who attended the March 3 opener. "If we could get 4,000, that would be fantastic," he said. "We're setting the groundwork for next season."
• Cooper chose his words carefully when discussing the firing of head coach Martino Theus, but didn't say anything to contradict what Theus had told me, that the basic disagreement was about what the team could spend on players right now.
"Let's just say, it was pretty much a difference in expectations in what we could afford to do this year," Cooper said.
• Cooper agreed with my notion that the schedule-makers didn't do the Hound Dogs any favors by sending the team to Florida on back-to-back weekends after the season-opener. "When you're on the road, you're not generating ny money, you're just spending it," he said.
Sounds like every summer vacation I've ever been on.
• New head coach Eric Bingham, who played for the Fire Ants and MudCats, said he was surprised when he walked in Monday and learned that Theus had been fired. He had a lot of praise for the former head coach.
"Coach Theus did a heck of a job recruiting these guys," Bingham said of the Hound Dogs' roster. "He gave me an opportunity to coach and I'm grateful for that."
• Former Nettleton High School standout Jami Boland will get the start at quarterback on Friday. A new player with some indoor experience, Kevin Brown Jr. will be the backup.