The 30th annual Pig Pickin' festivities at Delta State will take place Sept. 18-19.

Pig Pickin’ schedule announced

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

The Delta State University National Alumni Association recently unveiled the schedule of events for the 30th annual Pig Pickin.’ Also introduced was, a brand new website that is a one-stop shop for all things Pig Pickin’.

Alumni and friends can purchase BBQ tickets, sign up for the cooking competition, and sponsor the event all through the new site.

The schedule is full of activities for Delta State alumni and friends of any age. Activities kick off Sept. 18 with a Delta State Softball Intrasquad scrimmage at University Field at 4 p.m., followed by the annual Polk’s Sponsors’ Dinner at the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni-Foundation House at 6 p.m.

Delta State alumna and Chopped Grill Master Leslie Roark Scott will do a live cooking demonstration at the sponsor’s dinner. Scott competed on the Food Network show “Chopped Grill Masters,” where she made it to the final episode before being defeated when the group had to prepare rattlesnake. Scott will reenact her rattlesnake performance for the Pig Pickin’ sponsors.

At 8 p.m., the Alumni Association will host a Young Alumni Tailgate Party with live entertainment featuring Patti and the Mayonnaise in Statesmen Park. The cooking teams will begin their quest for the Grand Champion prize Friday night leading into Saturday.

Saturday’s events begin with the 24th annual Delta State Triathlon at 8 a.m. at the Aquatics Center. Starting at 11 a.m., Phi Mu will host a Bunko Tournament for Children’s Miracle Network in the Jacob Conference Center of Ewing Hall. Also at 11 a.m., the Statesmen baseball team will play a squad game at Ferriss Field. DSU Day for high school students is from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. To sign up or for more information, visit or call 662-846-4020.

The first 250 attendees to register at the Alumni Association tent on Saturday will receive a free Pig Pickin’ souvenir cup. Statesmen Park will open at noon with a live radio broadcast on Q102. Activities at the park begin at 1 p.m. with the Kids Zone, tailgating and live entertainment provided by the DMI student bands Ol’ Skool Revue and Delta RoX. There will also be a Legacy Tent for members of the Delta State Alumni Association Legacy Program, and the Statesman and Okra mascots will be on site for pictures from 1-2 p.m.

At 2 p.m., the Alumni Association is teaming up with DSU Intramurals for a Cornhole Tournament. Teams consisting of two people can enter for $10 per team. Teams can sign up at by Sept. 17. All proceeds raised will benefit DSU Intramurals.

The Pig Pickin’ BBQ serving lines are open from 3-5 p.m. The Delta State pep rally, featuring cheerleaders, the football team and the marching band begins at 3 p.m. At 5 p.m., the BBQ competition winners will be announced. The football game between Delta State and Kentucky Wesleyan College kicks off at 6 p.m. Other special reunions include the Delta State Swimming and Diving Alumni Reunion.

BBQ tickets are $6 and can be purchased at the Alumni House or Patrons who pre-purchase tickets by Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. will be entered in a drawing to win a Yeti cooler.

Pig Pickin’ is made possible each year through generous sponsorships. This year’s sponsors include: National Alumni Association Corporate Sponsors: Patrick Davis State Farm, Air Evac Lifeteam, Bolivar Medical Center, Hey Joe’s, and Celia Manley ERA Real Estate; Title/Entertainment Sponsor: Polk’s Meat Products; Founders Level Sponsors: Baskin Robbins, Cleveland Trophy, Delta State University, Delta State Foundation, Delta Regional Foundation, Delta State Athletics, Exxon, Exxon – Lipscomb Oil Company, The Filling Station, Jammin’ 104 FM, Kix 92.1, Majic 107.5, Power 106.5, Q102, Radio Cleveland, Inc., Shell, WCLD, 96.5 WKDJ; Statesmen Level: Guaranty Bank, Pafford Medical Services, Isle of Capri Casino – Lula; Okra Level: Aramark, Baxter Healthcare, Eley Barkley, Lampard Wholesale Meats, Meador & Crump, Needle Specialty, Nehi Bottling Company, Sonic; Green Level: Advanced Mosquito Control, Automark, Delta OB/GYN, Denton’s Dairy Products, The Image Specialist, North Central MS Electric Power Association, Robinson Electric Company, Renasant Bank, Sayle Sandifer & Associates, Shelby Nursing Rehab, Vowell’s Marketplace; White Level: Abraham’s, Backdraft, Bolivar Tire & Alignment, Byrd Service Station, Cleveland State Bank, Ellis & Hirsbert CPA, PLLC; H Squared Boutique, Planters Bank, Panola Paper Company, and Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility.

The official hashtag for Pig Pickin’ is #DSUPigPickin. For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660. Join the Facebook event at Statesmen Graduates: To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).

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 For more information, contact The Delta State University Foundation 662-846-4704.



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

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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

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 ( )

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

For more information, visit our new, official Pig Pickin’ website 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 (, 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 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

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

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 (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).