It feels good to be back home in the Pine Belt

By ANDREW ABADIE,
Six years ago, the hope of being considered the No.1 ranked team in the state of Mississippi was as far-fetched as having a coach staying more than one year for the Oak Grove boys’ basketball program.

 It’s great to be back. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Andrew Abadie. 

Some of you may remember me from my time working with former Sports Editor Camal Petro.  

Together we co-hosted the PineBeltSPORTS Podcast of which I freelanced. With that said, PineBeltSPORTS and the Pine Belt area is nothing new to me. 

You also may not know that I am a proud New Orleans native which makes me a big Saints and Pelicans fan. Some of my Southern Miss friends may cringe, but as a kid I grew up as a diehard Tulane fan. 

I recently graduated from Southern Miss this past December but prior to graduation, I accepted a job in Iowa as the assistant sports editor for a local daily newspaper, the Marshalltown Times-Republican where I have worked the last six months. 

I learned three main things in Iowa. No. 1 -- it’s cold and that is no exaggeration.  No. 2 -- there is a lot of corn there and I mean A LOT of corn.  No. 3 -- I missed the Pine Belt very much, especially its high school sports. 

Some of you may remember that while attending USM, I spent a lot of time covering Southern Miss and high school sports.  

As a student, I eventually became the editor of the Student Printz and created and co-hosted the weekly radio show, HubCitySportsTalk on WUSM.  

At the same time, I freelanced for the Laurel-Leader Call, the Hattiesburg American and as previously mentioned, PineBeltSPORTS.  I also hosted the Pine Belt Sports Drive on WMXI 98.1. 

Little did I realize the deep associations and connections I made after spending all of that time and effort covering local sports here.  These connections are what drew me back to Hattiesburg. 

In my opinion, the passion for sports here in Mississippi and the South as a whole I don’t think can be matched anywhere else. 

I hope to live up to the expectation of the PineBeltSPORTS brand and my goal is to make sure it stays a go-to for local sports coverage. 

With all that said, here is a rundown of how I plan to give coverage in this area.  First thing to know is YES…the PineBeltSPORTS Podcast will be returning and go out every Thursday.  

Some of you may remember that Camal and I did a Facebook live show during football season.   

In keeping with that concept, the PineBeltSPORTS podcast will also be aired live on Facebook to include fan interaction and questions.  

Be sure to be on the lookout for that. 

Unlike before, my coverage will now include 10 high schools with the addition of North Forrest and Forrest Country Agricultural.  

However, at one point I did cover both of these schools so even though they are new for PineBeltSPORTS, they aren’t new to me. 

Just like before, this will be a weekly column for me so I’ll always be open to ideas for it.  

With that said, if you have any story ideas or tips, please email me at andrew@pinebeltsports.com or you can text or call me at (601) 596-4475. Follow us on Twitter @PineBeltSPORTS

Also, I ask any local coaches reading this to please add my phone number and twitter handle to your contacts. 

I look forward to seeing you out there. Giddy Up!

 

Abadie is a New Orleans native and proud graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi.