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Mississippi, Go Braugh

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Mississippi, Go Braugh


The Irish have a saying “Erin go Braugh.” It roughly translates to “Ireland to the End of Time.” This weekend, Mississippians will join in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, kicking off the springtime festival season in Jackson where the historic “St. Paddy’s Day parade” attracts thousands of visitors to the capital city for a weekend of good ole Irish fun.

St. Patrick’s Day has been my favorite holiday for years. I was just a wee lass when I became obsessed with all things Ireland. The leprechauns I saw on my breakfast cereal paved way to exploring the yard in search of four-leaf clovers. I dreamt of visiting the Emerald Isle one day.

As I grew older, my interest in the Irish became more personal. My late grandfather – Tom O’Loughlin, also known as “Tom Cat” – was a fierce Irish Catholic who married my grandmother later in life. Tom Cat and I were very close, sending each other handwritten letters from time to time. I still have these cards, most of which include some Irish or Gaelic phrase. He once referred to me as a “shane lass” (the meaning of which I’m still not sure). And, a recent DNA test put my ancestry at 9 percent Irish, a fact I share with green pride.

Last summer, my family and I had the chance to visit Ireland, spending about two weeks
exploring that beautiful island. During that visit, we met Senator Mark Daly, the 24th Chair of the Senate of Ireland and Leas Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann. Sen. Daly has been working with American elected officials to establish the American Irish State Legislature Caucus (AISLC).

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This bipartisan network of current and former American Irish legislators is open to everyone,
Republicans and Democrats, and fosters economic, political, and cultural ties between
Ireland and the United States.

Turns out, the world is flat. While speaking with Mr. Daly, I learned he was already working
hand-in-hand with Mississippi leaders like Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and Senate Finance
Chairman Josh Harkins to establish the Mississippi-Ireland Trade Commission, a non-taxpayer
funded initiative to formalize strong trade relations between the state and the Irish Republic.

Chairman Harkins met Sen. Daly last year during the Irish elected official’s visit to Mississippi during one of his tours across America. The Irish Times described Mr. Daly as “the driving
force” behind more localized efforts to strengthen ties with U.S. politicians by engaging them at
an earlier stage in their careers. Through his efforts, Mr. Daly was able to secure a partnership
agreement between the AISLC and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL),
enhancing Ireland’s ability to directly connect with U.S. lawmakers.

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Mr. Daly and Chairman Harkins both believe there is opportunity for Mississippi in a post-Brexit
world in which Ireland is the main English-speaking country in the European Union. New links
and connections with American states like Mississippi will serve as gateways to foster greater
economic and educational links, including research partnerships among universities.

So far, the effort has been well received at the Mississippi State Capitol. Chairman Harkins (note
that “Harkins” is a classic Irish surname) introduced, and the Senate unanimously passed, Senate
Bill 2218 to set up the trade commission, noting that more than seven percent of Mississippi’s
population is of Irish descent and is the third largest ancestry in the Magnolia State.

Federal data shows that Ireland is our 12th largest foreign trade partner, representing industries such as agriculture, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals.

The Mississippi-Ireland Trade Commission will consist of ten members (none compensated by
taxpayers), including appointments from the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House,
Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Development Authority, and the Institutions of
Higher Learning.

These members are called to advance trade relations, initiate joint action on
policy issues; promote business and academic exchanges, and encourage mutual economic
support and investment. If implemented in its current form, the law goes into effect March 17,
2024 – on St. Patrick’s Day in the very year the U.S. and Ireland celebrate 100 years of formal
diplomatic ties!

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Mississippi’s economy has rarely experienced such economic growth as in recent years, with
multiple record-breaking economic development announcements, record low unemployment, and an increasingly competitive tax structure and pro-business mindset. Adding direct relationships with friendly, aligned countries like Ireland not only makes good economic sense, but enhances our state’s ability to compete in a global marketplace.

I commend Chairman Harkins and Mr. Daly for their hard work and good ideas. This green
holiday, I wish you both Erin – and Mississippi – go braugh!





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Mississippi

Clemson coach Shawn Poppie adds Mississippi's Chris Ayers as associate head coach

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Clemson coach Shawn Poppie adds Mississippi's Chris Ayers as associate head coach


CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson coach Shawn Poppie is adding Mississippi women’s basketball coach Chris Ayers to his staff.

Poppie said Friday that Ayers, who spent the past six years with the Rebels, would be his associate head coach.

Ayers helped Mississippi to the past three NCAA Tournaments.

Ayers is the latest hire for Poppie, the former Chattanooga head coach who was named to replace Amanda Butler last month.

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Poppie had brought in three assistants from his former program in Jonathan Goldberg, Katelyn Grisillo, and Jayda Worthy. Goldberg will serve as director of player development and recruiting, while Worthy will be director of player personnel.

Poppie said Ayers brings recruiting experience and player development “at the highest level.”

“His resume speaks for itself,” Poppie said.

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Makylan Pounders working toward long-awaited first season at Mississippi State

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Makylan Pounders working toward long-awaited first season at Mississippi State


STARKVILLE — More than three years later, Makylan Pounders is back where it all started.

As a three-star offensive line recruit from Byhalia, in northwest Mississippi, Pounders had offers from five Southeastern Conference programs out of high school, including both institutions in his home state. His first unofficial visits as a high school junior were to Ole Miss, but in April 2020, Pounders committed to Mississippi State. And he was all set to become a Bulldog until he decommitted that December, shortly before that year’s early signing period.

Three days after decommitting from MSU, Pounders committed to the Rebels, and was ready to sign his national letter of intent to play for head coach Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss’ offensive coordinator at the time — Jeff Lebby. But Ole Miss never sent over the proper paperwork, and after Pounders called the coaches several times, he was told the Rebels were rescinding his scholarship offer.

Pounders quickly pivoted and ended up playing even closer to home, signing with Memphis the very next day. He redshirted his freshman year with the Tigers but soon worked his way into the starting lineup, making 10 starts as a redshirt sophomore last fall and helping Memphis rank seventh in the country in scoring offense. With two years of eligibility remaining, Pounders entered the transfer portal and immediately had several enticing offers waiting for him.

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Auburn and South Carolina each offered him the day Pounders put his name in the portal, as did Texas Tech and Pittsburgh. But Pounders knew MSU was the right fit for him, and he became the fourth transfer addition Lebby brought in after taking over as the Bulldogs’ head coach in late November.

“It’s honestly been surreal,” Pounders said. “Just being able to come back and play for these colors, it really was a personal feeling for me. When I hit the transfer portal, I knew where I was coming, just because (of the) family vibe. All the people around here as far as the support staff are still around, so I was able to feel at home real easily compared to other schools.”

Pounders is one of four offensive linemen MSU has added via the portal this offseason, along with Ethan Miner (North Texas), Marlon Martinez (LSU) and Jacoby Jackson (Texas Tech). All are expected to compete for starting roles considering the Bulldogs’ top six linemen from 2023 have either transferred or exhausted their eligibility.

New offensive line coach Cody Kennedy is working Pounders at left tackle and plans to have him start there when MSU opens the season against Eastern Kentucky on Aug. 31.

“We talk as a big o-line group, but those transfers are a little more tight-knit, just because we all came into a new situation,” Pounders said. “All of us coming from somewhat winning programs, we all can come together and lead by example and other people falling in line, and it seems like it’s working so far.”

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Pounders expressed excitement about the Bulldogs’ quarterback depth — Baylor transfer Blake Shapen is the presumptive starter, but rising sophomore Chris Parson appeared in two games last year and incoming freshman Michael Van Buren could also work his way into the mix.

But even after losing Kwatrivous Johnson, Percy Lewis, Cole Smith and others up front, MSU has plenty of depth on the line as well. Albert Reese, Leon Bell and Canon Boone all saw playing time in reserve roles last year, and players like Grant Jackson, who has mostly played on special teams over the last three years, could see the field more as well.

“(Pounders) has that Bulldog mentality for sure,” Jackson said. “You always like to see somebody like that come in and take charge. He’s going to help us out a lot at left tackle.”

MSU

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Thunder & Lightning: Can Mississippi State Continue Its Diamond Dominance of Ole Miss? – SuperTalk Mississippi

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Thunder & Lightning: Can Mississippi State Continue Its Diamond Dominance of Ole Miss? – SuperTalk Mississippi



For seven straight seasons, the balance of baseball power in the Magnolia State has belonged to Mississippi State. Now the Bulldogs head to Oxford looking to turn the screws on their bitter enemies once again, with Ole Miss nearing must win mode after a tough start to SEC play. Who will leave the field Sunday with the series in their pocket? Brian Hadad and Robbie Faulk preview the latest revival of the SEC’s most intense rivalry.

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