Since we learned Scott Stricklin was leaving Mississippi State for the University of Florida, we’ve all been wondering what his legacy would be. I asked Bob Carskadon that on The B&B Show for their ABC segment they do every Wednesday. You can listen to his response by clicking play at the bottom.
If you choose not to, he said it was facilities. But Brian Hadad said it was what I felt it was all along. And it’s the school slogan Hail State.
It doesn’t seem like much to most people. It’s a simple slogan that comes from the Fight Song of the University. So why will this be the thing that has the biggest impact from Scott Stricklin’s tenure as Athletics Director?
Because for the first time, the Mississippi State University Athletic Department had something to mold their brand around. The cowbell will always be the lasting symbol of the Bulldogs, but the cowbell can’t be incorporated into everything an athletic department does. Cowbells can only be brought into football games and baseball games, so the rest of the sports would be left finding something to try to cling to.
By taking the slogan of Hail State and making it the central theme in which all of Mississippi State would focus their marketing campaigns, the school had an identity much like the rest of the SEC had. It centered the fan base and gave the fans something they could always use to identify each other with.
Scott Stricklin wasn’t the first person to incorporate Hail State into the life of MSU athletics, but he was the first to use it and make it the focus of the program. It’s likely to be the slogan of the university for as long as anyone reading this will be alive.
And that’s why Hail State will be his legacy. There are significant contributions that could be debated as his greatest accomplishment as the AD. The Bulldogs will begin work on making Dudy Noble Field the best college baseball park by a country mile at the conclusion of the 2017 baseball season. It will be the pinnacle achievement of an emphasis on upgrading the facilities of the Bulldogs.
He also hired two basketball coaches which have made the programs achieve instant respectability. The Women’s team is going to enter the season as a top ten team under the guidance of Vic Schaefer. The men’s team is expected to join them at the top of the rankings within the next two to three years under the guidance of Ben Howland.
But coaches and facilities come and go. Hail State and the way it will be used by the university and fans will be around for decades. And that is why we’ll forever remember Scott Stricklin as the man behind Hail State.