college life in Oxford & Starkville for athletes

My niece is looking to play D1 college tennis and she has some interests in playing for either Ole Miss or Miss. state. She lives in the liberal/progressive Northeast so it will be a big change for her.
I've been to Starkville and Oxford twice, less than five days each time and it is definitely different for me. I prefer the West Coast such as UCLA or USC is more fun with much more things to do than Starkville or Oxford.

Anyone had experience with life as a college athlete in either Oxford or Starkville with a Northeastern background?
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
My niece is looking to play D1 college tennis and she has some interests in playing for either Ole Miss or Miss. state. She lives in the liberal/progressive Northeast so it will be a big change for her.
I've been to Starkville and Oxford twice, less than five days each time and it is definitely different for me. I prefer the West Coast such as UCLA or USC is more fun with much more things to do than Starkville or Oxford.

Anyone had experience with life as a college athlete in either Oxford or Starkville with a Northeastern background?
On twitter, private message CollegeTennisRanks. His nephew played for Miss State. You have to realize most of the players on those teams are Europeans who are probably just as cosmopolitan and liberal as Northeasterners. You can ask him how those Europeans adapted to Starkville. He knew them well as I think he hosted them at Thanksgiving. He may know the girls' team too-dont know. Better tho to have your niece message him and ask about Miss State tennis.
 
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SECFAN

Rookie
Oxford will definitely be more liberal. It's a very diverse town. I've lived here 20-plus years and spent a lot of time going to the matches. The players are all from various countries outside the U.S. and some from in the States too. They all seem to enjoy it quite a bit and many have come back to visit often. Oxford is only an hour south of Memphis, where there is plenty to do.
 

EP1998

Semi-Pro
College towns have different vibe, really like a bubble even in some of the red states. Other schools she could consider are Arkansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. All three are in fun college towns and usually have mix of players from different countries.
 

andfor

Legend
Both towns are rural in nature, Starkville more so than Oxford. Most of the tennis players I know that played at both places loved it. Don't know much about MSU WT. Mark Byers has been at Ole Miss WT sometime now, maybe 20 years. Seems like a nice guy and has run a successful women's program for years, even had a NCAA women's champion a couple years ago and has had numerous All-Americans.

Since schools are being suggested, if visiting Oxford why not visit the University of Memphis as well? If flying to Oxford, MS chances are the student athlete would fly into Memphis anyway. Memphis airport is only 15 minutes from campus in traffic. The UofM has been adding new buildings and remodeling much of the campus recently. Also just announced a fantastic huge new tennis center that will be right near campus completed 2020 or 2021. Excellent head coach in Hayden Perez and assistant Hammond at the UofM. Only 3 seniors this year and a bunch of juniors, so 2020 or 2021 will be excellent years to join the team.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
oxford has the better town. as far as the better school ... thats a more complicated question and a subject of intense disagreement. and vitriol. good luck, and may god have mercy on your soul. btw, how do you feel about college football?
 

Nastase

Rookie
Oxford is a far better college town, but both are good tennis programs. This may be for another thread but ...what is not always understood by rising freshman is (as a D1 player) your activities on and off court are basically with the tennis team. You will do track in the AM, go to school, then practice, then maybe have weights, and then more school or study hall. You won’t get to drink a lot of bourbon at the football games. Understand I am not being negative that’s why you are choosing tennis. But while the campus is one piece of the puzzle...it’s a far smaller piece for the athlete IMO than the regular student. I recommend choose your program and coach foremost. Do everything you can do (under the constraints of the speed- dating recruiting world) to see if the coach is a person you want to be in an 8-hour van ride with. Best of luck and I pick Oxford over Starkville by a wide margin.
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
But while the campus is one piece of the puzzle...it’s a far smaller piece for the athlete IMO than the regular student. I recommend choose your program and coach foremost. Do everything you can do (under the constraints of the speed- dating recruiting world) to see if the coach is a person you want to be in an 8-hour van ride with.
So true-most athletes live in the same dorms or off campus apartments as other athletes, support other athletes by attending their events, and even usually do group projects with other athletes in their classes. They dont have much time to socialize with the NARPs (nonathleteregularperson)-a term I heard my son use after a year at college. No sorority or fraternity for athletes. At midmajor schools, athletes might eat with NARPs as a freshman but the big schools have cafeterias just for athletes and/or a 24/7 training table. On another board, I read about coaches complaining about girls quitting teams b/c they want to join a sorority.

@bobleenov1963 If your niece does not plan to go pro, also suggest to her to attend a college in or near a location where she might want to work post college. Most athletes have annual leases and could work a summer internship and/or maybe take a summer class to ease dual season load. My son was lucky to video interview for an internship back home but it's hard enough for athletes to find time for school career events let alone traveling back home to apply. Now most of the big schools may have great recruiting events for specific teams or all athletes that fit their schedule, but that doesnt happen at all colleges-may depend on strength of Booster Club.
 

3GirlsTennis

New User
Liking the coaches is crucial. My daughter loves her coach and teammates and many of her friends do not... Some players do not play well for coaches who do not trust them or when they feel under constant criticism. My daughter had a lot of really good choices and chose a school not quite as highly ranked as a few of her other options, but after seeing her on campus now and hearing from her, I think she made the exact right choice. Went with her gut. She felt at home with the coach and team. And, who knows--they have a pretty good class--just might move into the top 10 this year from the top 20! :)
 
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