MSU hiring breaks SEC color barrier

By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
Dec. 2, 2003
STARKVILLE Mississippi State University will make Southeastern Conference history today when it officially announces Sylvester Croom as its head football coach.
Croom will become the first black head football coach in league history, a fact downplayed by MSU Athletic Director Larry Templeton, alumni and returning members of the football team.
A news conference about Croom's hiring is set for 2 p.m. in the Leo Seal M-Club, located behind Scott Field's south end zone. Croom currently is an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers.
Croom replaces Jackie Sherrill, who announced his retirement in October. Sherrill was 75-75-2 in 13 years as head coach; MSU has won just eight games over the past three seasons and posted a 2-10 record in 2003.
Templeton said he has been conversing with Croom for the past two weeks and was relieved when the former Alabama All-American and longtime National Football League assistant decided to take the job.
Longtime Bulldog backer Bobby Crosland of Starkville, a 1979 graduate of MSU, said he expects Croom to be welcomed with open arms and would be surprised if race was an issue with Mississippi State supporters.