It took each of them traveling thousands of miles halfway around the globe to one of the world’s most historic sites, but finally, with perfect timing on Maroon Friday, the two met.
Just outside of The Coliseum in Rome, as Mississippi State’s basketball was taking a group picture before leaving, a lady nearby called out, “Hail State!” Up walked Kristy James, a Bulldog fan and a 1991 MSU graduate, and coming from the middle of the group to meet her was Ben Howland, head coach of her alma mater’s team.
Never mind that they both live in Mississippi. It was probably more fun to make introductions at this Coliseum, as opposed to the one Howland’s team plays its games in back home in Starkville.
Although, there might be more similarities than one would imagine between the two structures, as one player noted while the tour guide shared stories of the various games played at the historic amphitheater – much more than just the gladiator battles, the team learned.
“Instead of basketball, they had this,” he remarked while walking along the second level.
If only James Naismith had been around in ancient Rome to pitch his idea to the emperors of the time.
We’ll have more from MSU’s trip to Europe coming soon, starting with their first game tonight at 6:30 local time, 11:30 a.m. central time. We will attempt to broadcast the game on Periscope for as long as the wireless internet connection holds up. In the meantime, here are a few more pictures of today’s tour.