Founded in our mission statement…Heard throughout speaking engagements by our marketing department, coaches and executive staff…Evident through the recent and extensive investments made in our facilities…Shown through the countless documentaries, video shoots, and social media clips: Our well-being and promotion of our student-athletes are the foundation of our ideas, planning, and teamwork success.
FULL TEAM RECOGNITIONS
Our student-athletes perform at the highest level, not only on the field/court but also in the classroom. With their hard work and dedication, we try to give them the recognition they deserve. Throughout the year we have them participate in a number of cross-promotional activities, including autograph signings at Fan Zone for football and full team introductions in front of our thousands of fans at Davis Wade Stadium during a football game. Teams are also invited to connect with our younger Bulldog fans at our Bully’s Kidz Kourt during basketball season.
One very notable team recognition came during a football game this season. We recognized our National Finalist Women’s Basketball team who had arguably the biggest upset in the history of collegiate women’s basketball as they knocked off No. 1, undefeated UConn. In addition to reading the names of the student-athletes, we presented them with their National Finalist rings. The players showed off their rings to the camera as we broadcasted the footage to our video boards. This was a special way to recognize one of the most memorable feats in the history of Mississippi State athletics.
BULLDOG HONOR ROLL
The Bulldog Honor Roll is an academic honor bestowed on our student-athletes who have achieved success off the field and in the classroom. Our athletes have dedicated their time to garner high GPA’s for their respective program. Men’s Tennis currently holds the highest GPA amongst all of the sports. Women’s basketball has reached a program high 3.4 GPA this semester with 12 players having a 3.0 or higher and four student-athletes having a 4.0. Bulldog Soccer also reached a program high 3.69 GPA for the season as well. To honor our athletes and to show our support for their academic achievements, we take the time to recognize all of those who make the honor roll during a football game in the Fall and a basketball game in the Spring. Over 100 athletes line up across the field and court holding their team sign. We go through each sport, recognizing all of the athletes and giving fans the opportunity to cheer them on for more than the game they play.
“STATE TO THE…” RECOGNITIONS
Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog. To further expand our State to Sundays, State to the SHOW, and State to the Tour campaigns, we invited former Diamond Dawg competing in the MLB, our LPGA tour star, and many of our Bulldogs in the NFL back to home football, baseball, and basketball games this past season for an on-field recognition, complete with a highlight videos showcasing their seasons.
To help promote our teams on campus and around town, we asked the student-athletes wear gameday t-shirts that were strategically designed. For women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, and softball, we created shirts that on the front said “Game Day” or “Match Day” and on the back had the home schedule listed. To catch the attention of students and fans, the shirts were either neon yellow with a black design, or black shirts with a neon yellow design to have the shirts stand out. Our student-athletes were walking billboards for us.
James Corden’s infamous “Carpool Karaoke” became a nationwide sensation from his show “The Late Late Show with James Corden, where he simply took a famous singer and sang in his car while “carpooling” to work. With the popularity of the video segments, we decided to do our own version. We took various athletes and coaches, and had them join our Digital Media reporter and well-known Bulldog personality, Bob Carskadon to “carpool” to work. They all sang along to old and new songs while Bob interviewed them in the car.
HALL OF FAME GALA
The MSU Sports Hall of Fame, administered by the M-Club Alumni Association, was created to honor former Bulldogs who excelled in their respective sports at MSU, while also demonstrating good citizenship and outstanding character since leaving the university. This past year, our marketing team worked with the M Club to put on our annual Hall of Fame Gala. Former athletes are honored and the top male and female student-athletes who are recipients of the Leo W. Seal Jr. Athlete of the Yard Award are recognized. This year, new inductees to the MSU Sports Hall of Fame included a two-time first-team softball All-American, a basketball All-American, a football All-Southeastern Conference quarterback, one of our longtime equipment managers, and a women’s basketball Kodak All-American.
Our team worked hand in hand with the M Club planning team to help design the logo and organize a number of details for the event. The annual MSU Sports Hall of Fame Gala included a silent auction, seated dinner and awards ceremony. Proceeds of the event benefited the MSU M-Club Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.
Recognizing our senior student-athletes is an important goal at the end of each sport’s season. Videos commemorating the seniors’ contributions over their Mississippi State careers is a fitting end to a memorable experience.
No senior student-athletes were more praised by our fans than our women’s basketball seniors. These seniors were part of transforming the program into an elite, top 5 competitor. Instead of only recognizing the seniors on a collective senior night at the last game of the year, we honored each one individually with their own unique poster for fans to collect. In addition, we personalized Morgan William’s and Victoria Vivians’s senior days to their personas.
Morgan William, who is generously listed on the roster at 5’5”, is known by many fans as “Itty Bitty” or “Mo.” Because her short stature is so characteristic, we called her senior day “Shorter than Mo” Night. All fans who are shorter than Morgan received free admission into the game that night.
Senior Victoria Vivians, whose nickname is “Queen,” won the title of Mississippi State University’s 2017 Homecoming Queen. As a queen of all courts, we aptly named Victoria’s senior day “Queen Day.” Victoria approached us with the wear a crown idea. She wanted as many fans as possible to wear a crown for her senior day. We worked with our ticket office to offer free admission to all fans who participated in this fun promotion.
The time our senior players have given our programs is invaluable, and for this, we not only thank them at the normal “Senior Day” recognitions, but we also boost special senior tributes via social media in the form of quote boxes, picture/graphic/statistical data, and video clips. This content was posted in the days leading up to Senior Night with each senior having their own day with specific quotes/videos etc on Twitter and Instagram highlighting their careers at MSU and expressed what their four years at MSU has meant to them–we saw incredible engagement with these tributes.
To help promote our teams on campus and around town, we asked the student-athletes wear gameday t-shirts that were strategically designed. For women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, and softball, we created shirts that on the front said “Game Day” or “Match Day” and on the back had the home schedule listed. To catch the attention of students and fans, the shirts were either neon yellow with a black design, or black shirts with a neon yellow design to have the shirts stand out. Using our gameday shirts, we essentially turned our student-athletes into walking billboard to promote their own events.
PHOTO / VIDEO SHOOTS
Each year we try to give our student-athletes the VIP treatment right when they step foot on campus. Each of our sports has a designated day of a full photo and video shoot, comprised of posed and action shots and individual and group shots. While most schools provide photo shoots and video shoots for most of their sports, we try to give each team something special to highlight their program. From women’s golf to football, our marketing staff, our video production staff as well as our photographer produces the highest quality photos and videos. The national attention the athletes receive as well as the positive feedback from national media, highlights these programs and showcases the talent of our student-athletes. These photos and videos are captured early in the year to be used throughout the season as we work to promote their athletic programs.
For the last three years, MSU Marketing has continued to bring life and excitement to team entrances for football and men’s and women’s basketball. Using fire, cryo and 360 lighting and strobes, our staff tries to bring as much thrill and hype for both the student-athletes and fans.
This season for football, we partnered with a new pyrotechnics company to utilize enhanced fireboxes on the field to form a tunnel for the team to run through as well as fireworks for pre-game and for every touchdown scored. Fireworks are located on top of our M-Club building in the south end zone, and we recently added more fireworks to shoot from the top of our north end zone video board. The popularity of the fire plus the fireworks is normally highlighted through pictures used in national media content about Mississippi State Football. With the fire and the addition of more fireworks this season, our fans have come to expect something fun and exciting for team entrances and that in-turn makes an exciting environment for our student-athletes.
For Men’s Basketball and women’s basketball this season, we also utilized fireboxes for intros, bringing pyro back for men’s basketball after a year hiatus. For these in-game team entrances, we used two enhanced, branded, fireboxes, and two C02 cannons for when we introduced each student-athlete onto the court. The fans love this type of excitement and it brings the energy that the student-athletes use to prepare for tip off.