MSU's Looney doesn't take fan support lightly

MSU coach D.J. Looney pauses for a photo with Houston Everett.
Staff Writer

One by one, fans went through the lines at Mississippi State football’s Fan Day at the Palmeiro Center on Saturday.

Autographs were signed. Pictures were snapped. 

Mississippi State tight ends coach D.J. Looney looked on with a smile on his face. He knew the same people that showed up Saturday will be the ones clanging cowbells inside Davis Wade Stadium when the season kicks off in 13 days.
“We’ve got great fans that are very supportive and whether it’s going great or bad, we call it our family,” Looney said. “They’re always there and always support us.”
Looney has felt all kinds of love from MSU fans throughout his life.

It started when he played his college football as an offensive lineman for the Bulldogs from 2007 through 2010, then in 2011, Looney started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at MSU. 
The following season, Looney left Starkville and has since had coaching stops at East Mississippi Community College, Central Arkansas and Georgia. Earlier this year though, Looney returned to his alma mater.

“I am excited to come home to Mississippi State,” Looney said after being hired. “Every coach dreams of coaching at their alma mater one day. I am grateful to (head coach Dan Mullen) and the administration for this opportunity and I am glad to be a Bulldog.”

Days like Saturday reinforced why Looney loves MSU so much. He has been through the wars with the Bulldogs. He says he knows all about the passion State fans have.

“There is nothing better than our traditions with the fans,” Looney said. “Those fans push you. There is nothing better than having that good atmosphere with the crowd and cowbells ringing. It’s unreal the support and push you get by that atmosphere. Our place is rocking all the time and those cowbells are loud. It definitely gives you a boost.”

Looney said fan support doesn’t just increase the energy for the Bulldogs on the field. It makes life harder for opponents.
“You want it to be as loud as possible,” Looney said. “Because on the flip side of that, playing on the road is so tough. Teams have to switch up and go to a silent cadence. It’s tough not being in your own locker room, being on the road and having to think when it’s loud. There is a lot of adversity. We get to see some of those things from the flip side, so you definitely appreciate all that being on your side when you’re at home.”

Starting in just a couple of weeks, Looney will get to enjoy the love from the MSU fans again. He got a small taste on Saturday. While the players and Mullen were the star attractions of the day, Looney got a few picture requests himself.

He didn’t get the chance to speak to everyone in attendance. However, Looney said, if he did, he’d love to share his appreciation for the Bulldog faithful.

“We just thank the fans for their support and we need them,” Looney said. “It doesn’t matter the week. It doesn’t matter the opponent. It doesn’t matter the conditions. We want them out there to support us. I know they will. We need them and it shouldn’t be minimized how big of a role the fans play.”