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DSU Football Team Assists with Disaster Cleanup

By April 24, 2023Athletics, Community
DSU students, faculty and staff will return to Rolling Fork during Inauguration Week to assist in the continuing disaster cleanup.

CLEVELAND, Miss. — The Delta State University football team traveled to Rolling Fork Thursday, April 13 to help with the tornado cleanup. Head Football Coach Todd Cooley said, “Our team felt we needed to give back. We are blessed to be healthy enough to go work, so that’s what we did. It was a great day for our team. We enjoyed serving the community of Rolling Fork. I was very proud of how our players and coaches handled everything.”

The players pitched in around the affected area, providing manual labor to assist with the cleanup. Their efforts made a particular impression on Newman Crook, a pastor with The Chapel in Fort Wayne, Ind. He sent an email to DSU Interim President Dr. E. E. Caston, saying:

“I wanted to take a brief moment to make sure that you are fully aware of how well your football team represents all that is good about Delta State University. Full disclosure, before today I had never heard of Delta State University. I am the Missions Pastor of a large church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I was leading a team of volunteers from our church. Today, our team of nine people had the pleasure of serving side by side with your football team doing cleanup work after the deadly tornado. Our team can’t stop talking about our experiences with the young men of the football team. To a young man, they were incredibly polite and engaging. I heard so many ‘yes sir’s’ today! Not only were they incredibly polite and hardworking, but it was very obvious that they cared for each other like only a close-knit group can – truly a band of brothers! There was the perfect amount of ribbing and harassment, but I never heard any bad or foul language, and none of the ‘harassment’ was negative, just playful banter that can only happen among true friends. I had a brief conversation with many of the coaching staff and was very impressed with not only their love and appreciation for their young players, but for the University as well. Coach Todd Cooley, his staff, and his players represent the University, and the state of Mississippi incredibly well. I heard about their 11-2 record last year, and I heard about their conference championship last year, but I saw something even more impressive than that today – real character and heart. You now have nine huge Delta State Statesman fans in Fort Wayne, Indiana!”

The players were grateful for the opportunity to serve. Senior wide receiver Robbie Evans, from Boynton Beach, Fla. said, “Being able to go out and help in that community was such a blessing for us as it was for them. It was a very humbling experience for me to see how positive the community of Rolling Fork was even after what happened. I’m proud of how hard all of my teammates worked to help better others.”

Graduate linebacker Adrian Hill of Hoover, Ala. said, “As a team we were thankful for the opportunity to go to Rolling Fork and make a difference. Additionally, I think that it was important for our team to be able to give back to a community that needed help. Not only were we able to help people, but it was a great team bonding experience as well.”

With finals approaching, the team will not be able to return to Rolling Fork this semester, but participated in Cleveland Clean-Up Saturday, April 22. For three hours Saturday morning they helped clean up around local parks, schools, and businesses.

On the heels of the best football season since 2014, the 2022 Statesmen posted an 11-2 record, earned an NCAA Division II playoff berth, and won the program’s eighth Gulf South Conference Championship.