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Delta State University and Delta State Athletics will erect a statue of legendary baseball coach Dave "Boo" Ferriss Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.

University to honor Coach Ferriss with statue

By | Alumni, Archives and Museum, Athletics, Community, Faculty/Staff, Foundation | No Comments

Delta State University and the Department of Athletics are erecting a statue in honor of legendary baseball Coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss in recognition of his decades of commitment to the Green and White.

The life-size statue, created by renowned Mississippi artist Kim Sessums, will feature Ferriss in his Delta State uniform and will be placed behind the grandstand this fall after renovations are complete at the baseball complex named in his honor. The statue dedication is scheduled for Oct. 3.

Athletic Director Ronnie Mayers said the statue is an appropriate way to pay tribute to a coach who had an illustrious career at Delta State.

“As a friend of Delta State University Athletics, you already know the impact that Coach Ferriss has had on the Delta State baseball program, and also for the game on the state, regional and national levels,” said Mayers. “What truly makes this man worthy of having a statue erected on the Delta State campus is reflected in the time he has always taken to know his players and fans so well — something he has continued to do in the years since he last hung up his uniform.”

Ferriss retired from Delta State following the 1988 season, but he continues to be a tireless supporter at all levels of baseball throughout the state and especially for his beloved Statesmen.

While he is known locally as the legendary Statesmen baseball, Ferriss also became a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer.

The Shaw, Miss. native spent 46 years in baseball on the collegiate and professional levels, including 26 seasons at Delta State. A legend in national collegiate baseball coaching circles, Ferriss was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988 in Atlanta, Ga.

He compiled a 639-387-8 record at Delta State, and his coaching record ranks him among all-time national coaching leaders at the NCAA Division II level. His 1988 team was ranked 9th nationally in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

When Ferriss took over the DSU baseball program in 1960, he started it from the ground level. The Statesmen played many of their games off campus and Ferriss coached without the benefit of an assistant. He directed teams to the NCAA Division II Playoffs in eight of his last 12 years, including three trips to the NCAA Division II championships where the Statesmen finished third, second and third respectively in 1977, 1978 and 1982.

Gulf South Conference championships came in 1978, 1979, 1985 and 1988, with the Statesmen finishing second in 1981 and third in 1982. Forty-nine of his players earned All-Gulf South Conference honors.

Ferriss also earned several honors for his coaching accomplishments. In 1988, he received the United States Baseball Federation Service Award for his contributions to the game. He was named NCAA Regional Coach of the Year three times while also earning Gulf South Conference coaching honors three times.

In 1978 and 1982 he was selected as College Baseball Coach of the Year in Mississippi and was runner-up in that category in 1985.

In 2007, University Archivist Emily Jones helped pay tribute to Ferriss’s remarkable career by establishing The Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum, which is housed inside the Robert L. Crawford Center adjacent to the baseball field.

“This statue is really going to tie everything together,” said Jones. “It will let everyone know right where they are — at the field named in his honor, the museum to the side and now the statue. Everyone is going to feel welcomed.”

Mayers encouraged fans and Delta State supporters to take part in the community effort to raise money for the statue fund.

“We invite you to be a part of this momentous occasion by contributing to the Ferriss Statue Fund,” said Mayers. “Along with your donation, we encourage you to jot down a fond memory to be shared with coach and Mrs. Ferriss.

“Coach Ferriss has given us more than 55 years of service and memories here at Delta State. Don’t miss this opportunity to support this overdue tribute and to share in honoring this legendary coach and man.”

To donate to the Coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss Statue Fund, visit https://www.deltastategiving.org/Fund/Give/678. For more information, contact The Delta State University Foundation 662-846-4704.

 

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Delta State National Alumni Association announces 30th Pig Pickin’ celebration

By | Alumni, Athletics | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association is preparing for the 30th annual Pig Pickin’ scheduled for Sept. 18-19 at Statesmen Park, the north end of Parker Field-McCool Stadium. This signature event draws a large crowd each year, and patrons are invited to become an official Pig Pickin’ sponsor.

“The National Alumni Association is pleased to announce the 30th annual Delta State University Pig Pickin’,” said Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni Affairs. “The growth of Pig Pickin’ over the past 29 years is a testament to the support of the local businesses of Cleveland and Bolivar County. Pig Pickin’s deep rooted tradition is evident with the thousands who attend Statesmen Park on an annual basis.”

Sponsorship opportunities range from $150 to $1,000+, and donations help to support the event. The deadline to become a sponsor is Sept. 6.

This year, the Alumni Association is offering a business the chance to sponsor the Pig Pickin’ entertainment, which includes Friday night’s headlining band, Saturday afternoon’s DMI bands and DJ on the Park, for $2,500. Those interested in this opportunity are urged to contact the Alumni Office at 662-846-4660 or alumni@deltastate.edu.

The success of Pig Pickin’ 2015 is largely dependent on the financial and in-kind support of the community, Delta region, state and national business partners.

Businesses can benefit by:

  • Business exposure to over 8,000+ attendees (Statesmen Park)
  • Business exposure to 30,000+ alumni and friends of Delta State University (local, state, national, international)
  • 14,000+ email addresses (all email blasts for the event)
  • Social media outlets (sponsored Facebook posts/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram)
  • Association with the premier cultural event in the Mississippi Delta region
  • Tax benefits of supporting a 501©3 organization
  • Website exposure (deltastate.eduwww.gostatesmen.comwww.deltastategiving.orgwww.dsupigpickin.com )

To become a sponsor, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660 for a brochure, or visit the Delta State University Foundation website www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/pigpickin to complete the sponsorship online.

For more information, visit our new, official Pig Pickin’ website www.dsupigpickin.com. The official hashtag is #DSUPigPickin. To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (http://www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Thank you for your loyalty and continued support of this Delta State University Alumni Association signature event, and we look forward to seeing you this year at Pig Pickin’!

 

Statesman LaQuavius Cotton is still flying high after his victory in the 2015 State Farm College Dunk Championship. Photo by Rory Doyle.

Cotton’s dunks rule the land

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Small school — big hops. That’s what some college basketball fans were saying after Statesman senior LaQuavius Cotton brought down the house at the 2015 State Farm College Dunk Championship April 2.

In front of a rocking crowd at Hinkle Fieldhouse — home court for Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind. — and broadcasted for millions to see on ESPN, the 6-foot-6 Cotton showed the world that some of the nation’s best athletes perform right here in “small-town” Cleveland, Miss.

Cotton, born and raised in Cleveland, is a 2010 East Side High School graduate and senior transfer from Mississippi College. The talented player with humble roots overcame the nerves of the big stage and shined bright in front of a national audience.

“Walking into that gym was crazy,” said Cotton, “I didn’t know it was that big, and being in that atmosphere with some of the guys I saw playing on TV a couple weeks ago — it was shocking. To be in the dunk contest period was a blessing.”

Through a combination of scores from three highly competitive rounds, Cotton’s performance reigned supreme, and he was handed the 2015 championship belt.

“Going into it, I was just happy to be there,” he said. “I told myself I’d be happy just to make it out of the first round. Once I got to the second round, I thought man, I’ve got a chance at winning this, so I’m going to try and take it.

“Winning it all was truly something special. Words can’t explain how it felt to take the championship, but it was amazing.”

Delta State men’s basketball coach Jim Boone was thrilled to see his player dominate the competition.

“We are all so excited for LaQuavius, and to win it all, wow,” said Boone.  “I am so proud of how he represented our basketball program, his family and all of our Delta State family. He is a tremendous young man who has worked very hard to develop his game.”

His invite to the big show, which included competitors from all three NCAA divisions, came after HoopMixTape.com caught wind of a YouTube video Cotton posted of his dunking ability.

“My video really picked up some buzz when Hoop Mix Tape shouted me out on Twitter and Instagram. They got in contact with some people in charge of the dunk contest, and that’s what got me the invite.”

Cotton said one of the highlights of the experience was having his parents in the crowd. His father, Leroy, is the athletic director, assistant principal and basketball coach for East Side.

“My dad was my high school coach and he’s worked with me on fundamentals and dunking,” said Cotton. “He prepped me for the contest. I actually called him during the contest after a couple dunks to see what I should do next.”

The victory has brought the champion a swarm of unexpected attention, from calls from a few agents and contacts from multiple oversees teams.

“This opportunity means a lot to me, and I hope it opens some doors for my future in basketball. It’s definitely helped with exposure for me. Probably the coolest thing that’s happened since I won was another shout out from Hoop Mix Tape and a bio page they created for me.”

Despite the instant fame, Cotton is remaining true to his roots.

“I just want to say thanks to Delta State,” he said. “To the whole university really — faculty, staff, coaches, the compliance office – everyone really helped me out with this and throughout the year.”

So what’s next for the high flyer?

“It’s hard that my senior year is done. It came to an end really fast, but I’ve really enjoyed playing at Delta State with all my teammates,” said Cotton. “Now it’s time to work on my overall game, find an agent and get ready to play professionally.

“I think the dunking is a little behind me for now — until next time, hopefully.”

Follow all Statesmen and Lady Statesman athletics at http://www.gostatesmen.com.

Delta State University past and present reunited for a thrilling 2014 Homecoming.

Delta State hosts successful 2014 Homecoming

By | Alumni, Athletics, Community, Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff, Foundation, Students | No Comments

The Delta State University Alumni Association recently wrapped up another successful homecoming. The schedule included a multitude of activities for alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students, and many alumni returned to their alma mater for the festivities.

Friday night, the Alumni Association teamed up with the Athletics Department to host the annual Alumni Awards Gala at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. The association honored several alumni and friends who have dedicated their time to Delta State. Richard Myers, past president of the National Alumni Association, presided over the program.

This year’s award recipients were: Patrick Davis, the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Service Award; Will Bradham, the Kent Wyatt Young Alumnus Service Award; Left Field Crew, the Gladys Castle Friend of Delta State Service Award; and Mary Ellen Leftwich, the Legacy Award.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are Gary Gainspoletti, Dr. Dwaun Warmack and Tony Garcia. Garcia was also named the 2014 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. The Alumni Association featured a new award this year for a dedicated faculty/staff member of Delta State. Dr. Henry Outlaw received the inaugural honor, and the annual award will be in his name.

The Athletic Department also inducted the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame at the gala. This year’s class includes: Chris Booker, football; Stacey Johnson, women’s basketball; Joy Long, softball; Alan McAfee, golf; Twentis Magee, men’s basketball; Justin Whitaker, swimming; Eli Whiteside, baseball; Langston Rogers, contributor; and Stan Sandroni, contributor, posthumously.

Delta State Athletics also honored former football player Rick Rodriguez with induction into the DSU Alumni Coaches Hall of Fame. Bryce Griffis, football/baseball, was presented with the Distinguished Statesmen Award.

Over 500 supporters attended the gala, which also featured the Class of 1964, this year’s featured class. They were inducted into the prestigious Golden Circle. Also recognized was the undefeated 1954 football team celebrating its 60th reunion.

Saturday’s festivities included the annual Veteran’s Atrium Program in Jobe Hall, tailgating and entertainment on Statesmen Park. The DSU Continuing Education All-Star Cheerleaders provided entertainment at the park, and the Delta Music Institute bands played at the H.L. Nowell Student Union.

Dr. Kent and Janice Wyatt also celebrated 50 years of service to Delta State. A luncheon was held in their honor Saturday afternoon in the State Room. To donate to the Wyatt Retention Fund, visit www.deltastategiving.org/giving/scholarships/kentandjanicewyattretentionscholarshipfund.

Taylor Holland was crowned the 2014 Homecoming Queen by Student Government Association president Mikel Sykes. National Alumni Association president Rob Armour presented flowers to the Holland on behalf of the association. The Grenada native is a senior biology/pre-physical therapy major and is also a member of the Delta State softball team.

Delta State was victorious in an exciting 27-3 win over Mississippi College to claim the Gulf South Conference Championship. It was the first meeting of the Mississippi school since the 1995 season.

For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660.  To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (http://www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).

Hundreds of Delta State faithful celebrated the official Margaret Wade statue dedication Friday outside Walter Sillers Coliseum.

Statesmen faithful dedicate Wade statue

By | Alumni, Athletics, Community, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

Generations of Delta State supporters gathered Friday to salute one of the institution’s most respected contributors, former Lady Statesmen basketball coach Margaret Wade.

Revered as the “Mother of Modern Women’s Collegiate Basketball,” hundreds of Delta State faithful, including many of Wade’s former players, braved the cold for Wade’s official statue dedication in front of Walter Sillers Coliseum — the very building where she pioneered the Statesmen to three consecutive AIAW National Championships from 1974-75 through 1976-77.

A number of key figures who helped make the statue a reality provided reflections to the crowd, including: Ronnie Mayers, director of athletics; Dr. Kent Wyatt, president emeritus; Dr. Aubrey Lucas, former Delta State president; Langston Rogers, former sports information director; Van Chancellor, former Ole Miss and WNBA head coach; Lucy Janoush, Wade Statue Committee; Wanda Hairston Boone, former Lady Statesman; and Bill Beckwith, statue artist.

Wade was also awarded recognition in Delta State’s newest program, the “Legends of Delta State University.” With the honor, Wade joins the inaugural class as one of Delta State’s most distinguished leaders of lifetime achievement, service, excellence and success in serving the university.

“This is the first step in insuring that Delta State and the Cleveland community pay rightful tribute to a true legend — and one of ours,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge. “She was the mother of basketball.”

Plans to memorialize Wade with a statue began in 2006, and fundraising for the recognition kicked off in 2008. In just a short period of time, 210 contributors made the effort possible through a statue fund. Donations have come nationwide, with 22 states represented.

Spearheading the development were community members Caroline Gaines, Lucy Janoush and Ed Kossman Jr., along with Keith Fulcher, director of Alumni-Foundation. Wade’s former students and players at Cleveland High School and Delta State were very supportive in the fundraising efforts.

“Coach Wade was everything a lady could be throughout her life and always had a smile,” said Kossman, in a previous Delta State press release. “She was just loved by everyone that knew her. The statue may be a tremendous tourist attraction to basketball fans all across the nation and is a big asset to the Delta State campus. It portrays her life so well and represents what she stood for.”

Her spirit and legacy continue to live on through the Wade Trophy, which was established in 1978. Presented each year by the NCAA, the award is given to the nation’s most outstanding women’s collegiate player.

Following the unveiling of the statue, the large crowd moved inside for a reception inside Kent Wyatt Hall to reflect and share stories about one of Delta State’s most cherished contributors.

The legacy of Coach Margaret Wade remains forever strong thanks to the support of the lives she touched. To read more about her life, career and legacy, visit www.facebook.com/coachmargaretwade.