What's more important in Mississippi, outgoing Senator Trent Lott, or outgoing Southern Mississippi coach Jeff Bower?
It's not even close.
Rick Cleveland of the Clarion-Ledger writes in his blog that the paper's website story on Lott stepping down received 46,037 hits on Monday. The story on Bower's dismissal tallied 125,441 hits, a difference of 79,404.
Cleveland has several entries dealing with Southern Mississippi's stunning decision to send Bower packing. Of interest is an email he received from Jeff Hammond, a former Golden Eagle quarterback who is now commanding the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division that is in the process of deploying to Baghdad for the next 15 months. Part of Hammond's email:
"Jeff did things right at USM and in the end produced young men who for the most part will make us all proud into the future. He won games, graduated students, changed the face of USM Football and did more than any others before him.
"I cried a bit yesterday at the news of his departure…Had to go home for a few hours just to be with my wife, Diane. Unsuccessfully attempted to contact Jeff via telephone to tell him we care…He is USM Family and we cannot “hire” what he brought to the table. In fact, we could use more like him."