Mississippi State supporters laud Croom's hire
By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Dec. 3, 2003
Former Mississippi State University football standout Sonny Fisher said he was "blown away" Tuesday by the character of the man MSU chose as its new head football coach.
Fisher was an All-Southeastern Conference athlete at MSU from 1960-1964. He was among hundreds of State supporters who surrounded a podium at the Starkville campus on Tuesday when Sylvester Croom was officially announced to replace Jackie Sherrill.
Croom, 49, made history by becoming the first black head football coach in the SEC. Croom, an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers, replaces Sherrill, who announced his retirement early this season.
Some Bulldog supporters said they hope Croom can revitalize a program that has seen its share of highs and lows during Sherrill's tenure.
Bubba Hampton, a Meridian banker and former MSU standout lineman, said he was pleased with Croom's hire. Hampton was an All-SEC, Academic All-American and honorable mention All-American performer at State from 1964-1966.
Hampton said he was happy to see that State would get another head football coach who learned from the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Alabama. Both Sherrill and Croom played and coached at Alabama.
Hampton, who played at State at the same time Sherrill played at Alabama, said that Sherrill helped resurrect the MSU football program when he was hired in the early 1990s.
Harry Mayer, owner of Harry Mayer Inc. in Meridian and a loyal Bulldog supporter, agreed. Mayer said Croom has the character to build the program.
Fisher said any Bulldog supporters who had doubts about Croom changed their minds after the news conference.