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Locked on tight... Former Mississippi State Bulldog Wes Shivers locks down on Jerry Carrol on March 7th at the Capitol City Throwdown held at the brand new Jackson Convention Complex. Over 3,500 fans turned out to see Shivers win the Heavyweight title by submission in the first round. The event featured 15 bouts with fighters from all over the Metro Area as well as other parts of Mississippi. Mixed Martial Arts is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing sports not only in Mississippi, but across the nation.

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2 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


Mississippi Sports Magazine - 3

What a Weekend... The Bulldogs knocked off Tennessee 64-61 to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game on March 15 in St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fl. The Bulldogs became the fourth team in the history of the SEC Tournament to win four straight games in four straight days to claim the tournament crown. MSU won the conference tournament title for the third time in school history and first time since 2002.

4 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


Mississippi Sports Magazine - 5



The Void has been filled!


ith this issue, we celebrate the end of our first year of MSM. After we put the finishing touches on it and sent it to the printer, we sat back to reflect on everything that has happened these past 12 months.

As we have said before, this had been a dream of ours for a very long time, and finally realizing that dream has been so wonderful it is hard to describe. It is truly a blessing.     We reflect on the calls we have received and remarks made about how Mississippians have always wanted something to showcase our great athletics, and how proud they are to finally have that void filled.

Greg & Mendy Pevey Publishers

We strive with each issue to entertain and inform our readers, with both everyday sports topics as well as profiles of the out-of-the-ordinary sports and people of Mississippi.   As we were sitting and talking about all that has occurred this past year, we thought about our biggest supporters – our advertisers. Without their support none of this would have been possible. So please go out and visit them and thank them for supporting MSM, so we may continue to give you the sports coverage you want for many more years to come.  Mississippi Sports Magazine wants to thank all of our advertisers who supported us during our first year!

Alumni House Sports Bar

Mississippi College


Papa John’s Pizza

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Rankin County Chamber of Commerce

Cellular South

Regions Bank


Ridgeland Department of Tourism

DeSoto County Tourism

Southern Way Fishing Charters

Diamond Jacks Casino

SuperSport 930AM

Farm Bureau Insurance

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Jackson Academy

Jackson Convention Center

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Mississippi Blood Services

U.S. Coast Guard

Mississippi Braves

Viking Classic

We hope you have enjoyed our first year of MSM. And now get ready for our second year, which starts with a bang with our 2009 Football Preview coming July 1. Thank you Mississippi!

Greg & Mendy Pevey Publishers Philippians 4:13

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8 GODFREY’S TAKE The Godfrey Book Club - Summer 2009

10 CHUCK & DOUG Chuck Stinson & Doug Colson give us their take on what is going on in the State of Mississippi

13 GUEST COMMENTARY Can my child have a future in Soccer? Rusty Bryan, President and General Manager of Mississippi Brilla FC

14 Around the State News and notes of what’s happening in Mississippi

18 BULLDOG SWEEP MSU’s Jarvis Varnado and Alicia Rack take home the Howell and Gillom Trophies as the State’s top College Basketball players

20 PASS HAPPY The Manning Passing Academy still teaching kids the basics on the field and in the classroom

22 LOCAL VOCAL After finding his voice as a child, Ole Miss alum Ron Franklin embarked on a successful career in sports broadcasting

32 MARATHON MAKEOVER: Mississippi entrepreneurs transform lives, turning couch potatoes into marathon finishers

36 COLLEGE NOTEBOOK News Briefs from our Colleges and Universities

46 2009 NBA/MLB DRAFT How the scouts see Mississippi’s athletes


26 Ray Guy Ray Guy has never forgotten where his home is. Southern Miss has always been close to his heart and he is a big help in promoting the University in athletics as well as academics. Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine Mississippi Sports Magazine - 7


G O D F R E Y ’ S TA K E

Summer Reading List – Mississippi Football? Hit the Books... By Steven Godfrey Guest Columnist

Months away. The college football season is still months away, and in the Hospitality State these months of anticipation come long on sunshine, heavy on heat and short on much to think about other than the palpable madness that our seasonal religion inspires come September. Until it’s suitable to drag satellite dishes and coolers of bourbon outdoors (and slightly less miserably hot while doing so), try one of these newfangled devices called “books.” Behold, the official Godfrey Show Summer Reading List! But rather than fire off a list of titles that you should be reading, I’ve compiled a list that WE should be reading. With the exception of one title below, I’ve yet to tackle these tomes and hope to do so while my giant “college football season countdown” construction paper chain dips under 100 links. You think I’m kidding. Enjoy the summer, MSM readers, and pick up a book. Lord knows the TV stays plenty busy in the Fall.

#1 “The Courting of Marcus Dupree” by Willie Morris By the time you read this, I should be well into Willie Morris’ supposedly epic account of college football recruiting in Mississippi. Morris is famous among southern journalists (especially those educated in Oxford, Mississippi) for his “North Toward Home” a youth in Yazoo City, an education in Texas and a life in New York City and beyond that brought him back home to Mississippi. It’s better than advertised, and should be required reading in every high school from Biloxi to Corinth. Your average Bunco club member associates Morris with the mainstream success of “My Dog Skip,” but there’s a subculture of recruiting “experts” and sports writers who celebrate “Marcus Dupree,” a nonfiction piece 8 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

published in 1992 that follows the hype around the namesake Dupree, a black quarterback in Philadelphia (Miss., naturally) who attracts national attention and becomes the center of a recruiting circus that, sadly, we consider all too common in today’s game. Morris’ subject matter would be considered an afterthought in today’s world of Bryce Brown press conferences and online recruiting databases, but Morris was a master of blending the best devices of literature into nonfiction that was so well reported and researched that it needed no embellishment. Naturally, I can’t wait to dive into “Dupree.” Even without having read it I’d recommend the book, but good luck finding a copy – I hit up four chain bookstores and two independent booksellers here at home in Nashville before I could find a well-worn paperback copy buried under unsold copies of some knee-jerk “bio” on Phil Fulmer. Oh, the injustice…

#2 “It Never Rains In Tiger Stadium” by John Ed Bradley Know your enemy. I kid, I kid… (kind of). Journalist John Ed Bradley took his memories of playing for Louisiana State in the late 1970s and collected them in “It Never Rains In Tiger Stadium” which initially attracted me by virtue of Bradley’s life as both a college football player and writer. That unique biography stands to deliver a perspective on the great game that no normal writer, no matter the tireless work, can truly break into – that of the actual player. Conversely, no celebrity athlete’s ghostwritten cash cow can employ the tools of a true wordsmith. During my beat writing days I always found football players who were simultaneously blessed with great communications skills to be the most fascinating. No matter how hard media members attempt to close it, a gap between the world of the press box and the men on the field seems to grow larger each year. The concept of the football player as both journalist and author – feel free to Google Bradley for a laundry list of top-flight writing credentials –

is a fascinating one, because I can personally attest that so much is lost between the player speaking into the tape recorder and the man transcribing his quotes. Plus, if it sucks, I’m not above a purpleand-gold book burning. Nothing starts up the Chiminea faster…

#3 “The GM” by Tom Callahan I’ve had a copy of this since two Christmases ago, but haven’t cracked it, so file this one under “collecting dust on my shelf and making me feel guilty.” That, regrettably, is a large category on my bookshelf. Tom Callahan spent a year with former New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi the season before Eli Manning and company made a Cinderella playoff run and upset the undefeated New England Patriots. While it would seem like Callahan jumped the gun by a year, the 2006 season was Accorsi’s last, and at the time impatient New York fans were at the league veteran’s throat (shocking, I know) for the lackluster character of head coach Tom Coughlin and the perceived “bust” of a top draft pick in Manning. Yes – before there was a David Tyree helment-catch, our Eli was on the fast track out of the Empire City with the world’s stingiest fan base punching the ticket. I’ve been planning on diving into this allaccess look at the NFL’s off-the-field game and its most coveted – and derided – position for a while now, but found a newfound interest in the general manager’s role thanks to my Atlanta Falcons’ recent success being largely attributed to G.M. Thomas Dimitroff. Such positive praise for the Atlanta Falcons is kind of like a unicorn, so it bears further study. #4 “Southern Fried Football” by Tony Barnhart In the interest of full disclosure, Tony Barnhart served as a godfather of sorts to my brief (albeit memorable) run as a newspaper reporter. Barnhart, the Atlanta JournalConstitution writer and CBS commentator, is

Here’s what I know about Boo Ferris – he’s Mississippi’s most famous baseball product, and that’s about it. Hence the problem at hand, and hence the reason we still need great newspaper men even if we might not need their newspapers. I look forward to reading Cleveland’s observations and insights free of the requisite 800 word maximum and disgruntled feedback from college sports fans. – MSM Steven Godfrey is hard at work on his first novel, a choose-your-own adventure tome complete with time travelling dragons, a cameo by Jason Bourne and a foreword by Diane Steele. Check the galleys at

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#5 “Boo Ferris: A Life In Baseball, Well Lived” by Rick Cleveland When the world runs out of Rick Clevelands, there won’t be anymore. As the terminal diagnosis of the newspaper industry seems to have taken an aggressive turn in recent months, the future of writers who earn their chops in the discipline (and delirium) of ink and paper will fade into history books as well. Regardless of your opinion about the print media, it’s impossible not to take pause at the thought of a social landscape without the reliable voice of great newspaper men, and no matter what forum replaces the newspaper, we won’t find universal voices like Rick Cleveland when the dreaded world of amateur bloggers (myself included) inherit the communications throne. Cleveland still speaks as a singular voice for sports in Mississippi as the columnist for the

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TNB 12070-1 MS Sports Magazine - “In Times Like These” Ad 4.5 x 7.125” ______Spell check _______Prod. Artist

the unofficial dean of college football writers in the South, and save for a Beano Cook or two, the nation. Thanks to familial connections he helped me navigate the waters and offered some timeless advice. I came up as a reporter treating Barnhart’s columns and stories as certifiable gospel, and if you didn’t or don’t, you’re a fool. “Southern Fried Football” truly is the 101 textbook on SEC and southern football – its collection of short articles, profiles, rankings and a glossary defining the wonderful chants, traditions and confusing colloquialisms are second to none. Yes, Vanderbilt was once a powerhouse. No, Bear Bryant didn’t start his SEC career in Tuscaloosa. These are the kind of things you’ll need to know if you’re truly a fan. I don’t imagine that Barnhart envisioned the format of “Southern Fried” to court the A.D.D.addled “e-generation,” but I’ve lost count on how many proudly self-described “non-reader” twenty-something men have this book on their coffee table. Pick it up to trace your school’s gridiron chronology, or flip through once and again for a fun fact or two; either way, “Southern Fried” serves as both bathroom and reference reading. In the world of sports writing, is there a higher accolade than that to bestow?

Clarion-Ledger, a post that’s unlikely to exist a generation from now if recent trends continue. Therefore, writers like Cleveland are a treasure in this strange age of transition for the written word, because it’s highly unlikely we in the media will analyze, interview, phrase or look at things in the same way once the great newspaper columnist are gone.


Y O U K N O W W H AT I ’ M S AY I N G ?

Shame on the NFL Hall of Fame


e doesn’t lead many career stats categories for his position. In fact, he’s only in one on the NFL webpage and tied for third at that. I don’t care. Ray Guy belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The former Southern Miss multi sport star made punting an art form. He redefined the

position as a weapon in his 14 years with the Raiders of Oakland/Los Angeles. His foot is legendary. Can you name the punters that are listed ahead of him in the major stat categories? Well Shane Lechler, the Raiders current punter, has the highest career average with a 46.8 for 682 punts. Sammy Baugh, better known as a quarterback during his day, had the highest average in a season with a 51.4. Do those guys ever get mentioned when you talk about the great punters? Nope. Ray Guy is to punting what Justin Timberlake is to pop. He made it cool.

By Chuck Stinson WLBT-TV 3 Sports Anchor and Co-Host of Mississippi Sports this Morning, 620AM Jackson

The one stat he is listed in on the NFL records page is leading the league three years in punting. I swear he led the league for 20 years even though he only played 14. He went to seven Pro Bowls. The Raiders used to send him out there just to get field position.   He’s the only punter that defenses tried to keep OFF the field.   So what is the problem? It doesn’t seem to be a Ray Guy issue as much as it is a punter issue. Call it punter bias.   Rich Eisen of the NFL Network said in January, “I think the problem is he’s a punter. It’s just that simple. That there is too many skilled position players that are out there that people think are deserving to get in. For someone to pull the trigger on somebody who was definitely a weapon at his position no doubt and perhaps the best at it ever, it boils down to the fact that he punts the ball. “   Right. Punting is not a skill or done by an athlete. The fact is, Guy was an athlete that just happened to punt. And truthfully, I understand


what Eisen is trying to convey but I disagree. So does John Madden.   Guy’s former Hall of Fame coach and legendary announcer that just announced his retirement from broadcasting had this to say, “It’s part of the game and a position on the team. And I don’t know that people that are against Ray Guy and don’t vote for Ray Guy don’t think he was the best punter of all time. But they don’t believe a punter should be in the Hall of Fame and to me that’s ridiculous.”   That’s the guy that made the greatest football video game ever! You gonna disagree with him?   Look, Guy punted in 207 games over his 14 years, had over 1,000 punts during that span averaging over 42 yards a kick. He’s being credited with bringing attention to hangtime and net average. Something that wasn’t paid much attention to until he started blasting balls all over the NFL. He hammered one off the scoreboard in the Superdome for gosh sakes!   Still you don’t just judge a player on his numbers. You poll a million NFL fans and ask who is the best quarterback to play you will get a variety of answers. Poll a million and ask who is the best punter ever and I bet I know the answer you get from them all or at least 98 percent of them.   If that player leaves an impression that lasts 20 years after he left the game, he’s a Hall of Famer.   Put him in. - MSM

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Y O U K N O W W H AT I ’ M S AY I N G ?


College Football in Today’s Economy


ince September of last year the topic of conversation has been the economy. Anywhere people gather- whether in line at the grocery store, local watering hole, or the water cooler at work, assuming your employer still has a water cooler or you still have a job, the conversation always finds it way back to the economy. You may have started off talking about Lebron’s dunk last

night or who was the latest B list celeb thrown off Dancing with the Stars, but it’s not long before you are discussing bailouts, CEO bonuses or when the next round of layoffs are coming down the pike. What started off as small talk, turned into a stressful, blood pressure raising ordeal. When this crisis began, we had no idea of the size or scope of the problem. Last year the plans were made, the tickets were sold, and fans were going no matter what. As the 2008 season rolled on for the big three, some fans found it easier to gas up the SUV than others. Ole Miss fans had their questions early, but by

By Doug Colson Co-Host of Mississippi Sports this Morning, 620AM Jackson

years end Rebel fans had no qualms about spending the cabbage it took to get to the Cotton Bowl. Southern Miss fans became fiscally conservative during a mid season swoon, but a five game winning streak and a New Orleans Bowl invite had Golden Eagle fans spending in the Big Easy like the Krewe of Colson during Mardi Gras. Where Southern Miss and Ole Miss fans my have felt the squeeze of the economic downturn, the other member of the big three experienced the recession like a UAW union member of the big three automakers. La.Tech foreclosed on the Bulldogs early, and Bulldog fans were filing for bankruptcy protection by mid-season. I firmly believe Coach Croom would be preparing his Bulldogs for a make or break 2009 season if not for the economic funk we are mired in. The risk of entering 2009 with an empty Davis-Wade Stadium and empty coffers to boot was a risk not even an AIG CEO was willing to take. The Hiring of Dan Mullen generated a buzz ensuring that Bulldog fans will flock to Starkville and keep the booster’s donations rolling in. The Rebels’ preseason ranking have fans dreaming of an SEC championship, and that is all Pete Boone and company need for fiscal success. While down Highway 49, the Southern Miss faithful are buying Golden Eagle stock like day traders swooping up tech stocks in the late nineties. While I think excitement in Hattiesburg, Starkville and Oxford will help fund the athletic departments of the big three, I’m not sure it would have mattered that much in the end. Oh we all talk a good game about cutting back and tightening our belts, but how many times have I said, “This is the year I will start that Roth IRA” but never have? We are addicted to the euphoria of a huge win over a rival. We get sick and depressed when our team suffers a crushing defeat, spend hours listening to sports talk radio, posting on message boards and all day Saturday in the fall setting up and tearing down our tailgate parties. We live in a society where we have to be entertained every waking moment. Sports help us escape from the harsh realities of this world’s problems. Economists say the money we spend on sports is a discretionary expense, and as budgets get tight sports will be the first thing to go. There was I time when I believed this. Now I say hogwash! People will brown bag it to work, carpool to save gas, start drinking domestic instead of imports, but they will not give up their tickets all because college football is part of the entertainment industry. The one recession proof industry in this world is entertainment. Because when times get tough, we all need an escape. – MSM

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On the


Coaches Giving Back??? Eustachy Gives back $25,000 Bonus

Southern Miss men’s baskeball coach gave back a $25,000 bonus to the school partly because of the economic downturn and partly because he had not done a good job. “This season has been very frustrating, not only for the coaches and fans, but also for the team,” he said. “I apologize to the administration and fans for this year’s results and will continue to work toward the success of the Golden Eagle program. “The university, fans and administration have been so supportive. I am part of the Golden Eagle family and I want the team and program to succeed more than anyone else does. To that end, until I can turn around the program I have told the administration that I do not want a contract extension and I will donate part of my compensation package back to Southern Miss to help during these difficult economic times. I want to win a championship at Southern Miss and I know that we can do it.” Southern Mississippi Athletic Director Richard Giannini accepted Eustachy’s offer. “I think it displays the sincerity he has for trying to turn the program into a successful program,” Giannini said. “I respect him for what he did. He knew the economic times we were having and we need to use every dime we can find.” Eustachy has a base salary of $380,000 per season; the $25,000 bonus he is giving back is a separate part of a compensation package based on incentives and ticket sales.

Houston Nutt Gives $100,000 to Ole Miss

Wanting to give something back to a place that has come to mean so much to him, University of Mississippi head football Coach Houston Nutt, along with his wife, Diana, committed $100,000 to Ole Miss. “This is something we’ve always wanted to do,” Nutt said. “Diana and I have been talking about this since we moved to Mississippi. We wanted to give back because both the university and Oxford have been so good to us. We have felt so welcome and just love it here.” Half the gift will create scholarships for deserving student-athletes. “It is refreshing to see coaches give back to a university,” said UM Athletics Director Pete Boone. “Houston Nutt’s contribution to our scholarship program will help ensure the athletics 12 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

department’s ability to continue to provide opportunities for young men and women to achieve their goals in life.” The other half of the gift will be used toward the university’s Indoor Practice Facility. “The Indoor Practice Facility is a building I go to work in every day,” Nutt said. “I’m so appreciative to have it for our athletes and staff. It’s a place I use, but more than that, it’s a building very much used by the community. Every day, in addition to athletics events, there are community meetings or science fairs taking place. It’s a place for everyone.” The 150,000-square-foot facility, which opened in 2004, was made possible by UM’s Commitment to Excellence in Athletics Campaign, a $35 million initiative to upgrade the university’s athletics programs. To make a gift to the UMAA, visit www.

On the

Slide Ole Miss Football Scheduling

Let’s see, first it was a rumored match up between Ole Miss and Texas Christian University...FAIL. Then it was talks with the University of Colorado...FAIL. Then it was talks with Indiana University...FAIL. Then it was North Dakota State...FAIL. The list goes on and on. In March Ole Miss “finally” signed a deal to play Northern Arizona!!?? Sure the placement of a second game in 2009 with a Non-BCS school does nothing to help Ole Miss in season tickets sales and with their strength of schedule. But with all the pre-season hype the Rebels are already getting (many have Ole Miss ranked in the Top 7 nationally in “early” preseason polls) I can see how some teams may not want to travel to Oxford next season. What this schedule may do to help the Rebs however, is that by not getting a game scheduled for September 12, that date is now open and the Rebels will then play 11 consecutive games without an open date including all of their SEC games. In my opinion if Ole Miss can handle their business in those 11 weeks I still believe they should get the attention of the BCS. Not in my 39 years has Ole Miss gotten so much pre-season love from the national media. So it goes without saying I’m betting most Rebel fans (or any other schools fans for that reason) have no idea how to handle this much hype. With the loss of some key players on the o-line as well as All-American Peria Jerry on the defensive front, the Rebels had some holes to fill this Spring and when the summer two-a-days kick off.

Vol. 1 No. 6 May/June 2009

Published by Pevey Publishing, LLC Publishers Greg & Mendy Pevey Layout Greg Pevey Columnists Rusty Bryant, Doug Colson, Steven Godfrey, Yolanda Moore, Chuck Stinson,

Contributing Writers James O. Covington, Jack Criss, Cary Estes Contributing Photographers Greg Pevey, King Photography, Sports Information offices at Ole Miss, MSU, USM, Miss. College, Advertising Sales Greg Pevey, Jay Pevey, Mendy Pevey Mississippi Sports Magazine is published bi-monthly by Pevey Publishing, LLC to promote Mississippi’s sportsmen and women, colleges, universities, high schools, communities and citizens in an informative and positive manner. We welcome contributions of articles and photos; however, they will be subject to editing and availability of space and subject matter. Photographs, comments, questions, subscription requests and ad placement inquiries are invited! Return envelopes and postage must accompany all labeled materials submitted if a return is requested. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Mississippi Sports Magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement. Pevey Publishing, LLC is not affiliated with any institution, college, university, or other academic or athletic organization. Subscriptions are $24 (1 year, 6 issues). Make checks payable to Pevey Publishing, LLC and mail to: 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, MS 39047 or subscribe online at


Pevey Publishing, LLC Mississippi Sports Magazine 405 Knights Cove West • Brandon, MS 39047 PUBLISHING Phone: 601-503-7205 • Fax: 601-992-2885 email:



Can My Child have a Future in Soccer?

W By Rusty Bryant

President and General Manager
Mississippi Brilla FC

ith the continued rapid growth of soccer among our children and youth, parents have rightfully begun asking the question “Can my child have a future in the game of soccer?” Everyone is more than aware of the financial implications involved in the “Big 3” sports, ranging from college scholarships to potential professional contracts. However, most Mississippians are unaware of the numerous opportunities that exist for our elite players to further their soccer careers into college and beyond. For girls in Mississippi, the path to success is somewhat defined. As our three major Division I schools (Ole Miss, MSU, and USM) now offer varsity women’s soccer, many of our aspiring girl soccer players can have a legitimate goal of earning a soccer scholarship to an in-state Division I college. Examples include Mallory Coleman (Clinton) and Hannah Weatherly (Tupelo), who are current standouts at the University of Mississippi. Others have taken their game to programs out of state, including Rachel Givan (Ridgeland), currently at the University of North Carolina, and Nikki Bush (Clinton) who plays at LSU. Of course other options exist in Division I (Jackson State, Alcorn State, and Mississippi Valley State), Division II (Delta State), Division III (Mississippi College and Millsaps), and NAIA (Belhaven and William Carey), as well as the numerous Junior Colleges across our state. Following college, women players can move into the professional ranks through the United Soccer Leagues’ W-League, or the newly formed WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer). Because the three major Division I schools in Mississippi do not offer varsity soccer to men due to Title IX rules and regulations, future soccer plans for our boys seem to get a little more confusing. However, there are actually many more options available for men at the college and professional levels. Many young men from our state have had very successful college careers at various Division I schools across the country. Jackson Academy’s Michael Ueltschey won a National Championship with the University of North Carolina a few years back, and Clinton’s Michael Brown had a stellar 4 years at the Staanford University. St. Joseph products Jacob Lawrence (Bowling Green State University) and Tripp Harkins (University of Memphis) are two out of many who have extended their soccer careers with out of state Division I college scholarships. Other Mississippian’s spread out across the country playing Division I college soccer include Starkville’s Michael Lindsay (South Carolina), Pearl’s Chris Williams (UAB), Callaway’s Alandus Brooks (UAB), Madison’s Bryson Moore (Clemson), Clinton’s Michael Goodlett (Memphis), and Northwest Rankin’s Chris Porter (Memphis). Of course the same Division II, Division III, and NAIA schools are available to the men, and many of our state players have had standout careers at these schools. Tupelo’s Keith Armstrong (Mississippi College) and Jackson Academy’s Philip Buffington (Mississippi College) have made names for themselves at a smaller, but very successful, soccer program. While every soccer player would like to follow in the footsteps of Brandon’s Justin Mapp (MLS Chicago Fire) to the highest level of soccer in America, very few players will ever boast Major League Soccer experience. However, there are numerous other professional levels within the United States. The United Soccer Leagues currently has a 3-tier professional soccer system that is just under Major League Soccer. USL-1, USL-2, and the PDL (Premier Development League) are current options for our elite players to further their soccer careers after college. Fortunately, Mississippi now offers a local team that competes in the Premier Development League. Mississippi Brilla FC, based out of Clinton, is entering its third year in the PDL, and offers the highest level of soccer in the state. Many of the players mentioned above have played or are playing for Mississippi Brilla FC. These players have the opportunity to play at a high level, and also the ability to move up the professional pyramid. Philip Buffington, a two-year standout with Mississippi Brilla FC, recently signed a professional contract with the Harrisburg City Islanders in the USL-2. Youth clubs across Mississippi are becoming more specialized and professional; therefore, our children and youth have a better opportunity to develop as soccer players. With this development comes the desire to see our children and youth succeed at the next level. With the vast soccer opportunities now available to our kids, there is no reason we should not expect to see Mississippians playing at the highest levels of soccer across America for many years to come. - MSM

Mississippi Sports Magazine - 13



Mannings Honored by Mississippi Senate

(L-R), Archie Manning, Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, Senator Willie Simmons, Drew Mayor Jeffrey Kilpatrick, Eli Manning and Governor Haley Barbour.


he Mississippi Senate on March 10, 2009, honored football great Archie Manning his sons, Super Bowl 42 champion quarterback Eli Manning of the New York Giants, Super Bowl 41 winning quarterback Peyton Manning and their mother, Olivia. Standing inside the chambers of the Mississippi Senate, Archie and Eli Manning accepted Senate Concurrent Resolutions 593, 594 and 598 on behalf of Peyton and Olivia, who did not attend the ceremony. Governor Haley Barbour also issued a proclamation declaring March 10, 2009 as “Manning Day,” in Mississippi. District 13 Senator Willie Simmons of Cleveland, primary sponsor of the resolutions honoring Archie, Eli and Peyton, said the Manning family’s Mississippi roots, their legacy within the state and their contributions to football made them worthy of the praise. Now a New Orleans resident, Archie Manning was born and raised in Drew, Mississippi, Simmons’ district, and was a standout quarterback at the University of Mississippi before beginning his professional career with the New Orleans Saints. Eli followed his father’s footsteps and attended the University of Mississippi before beginning his professional career with the New York Giants. Eli recently made Oxford his home. “I thought it was important that the Mississippi State Legislature and the Governor give recognition to the Manning family who has 14 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

given so much to the country and to the state of Mississippi in the area of sports and as humanitarians,” Simmons said. “So today we wanted to bring the Manning family to our state Capitol and give them their flowers while they can smell them.” The resolutions also cited Eli and Peyton Manning’s assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans where they assisted with delivery of more than 30,000 pounds of water, Gatorade, baby formula, diapers and pillows. The Mannings started out in the office of Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, signing footballs, photographs, jerseys and other memorabilia for senators, legislative staff and others. Following the presentation the Mannings went to the House of Representatives where they also were received with thunderous applause. The father and son pair then spent time signing autographs for a large and continuous line of visitors to the Capitol before leaving. District 18 Senator Giles Ward was primary sponsor of Senate Concurrent Resolution 598 that honored Olivia Manning, a Philadelphia native. The Senate also commended the Manning’s son Cooper, a former All-State high school receiver who stopped playing football at the direction of doctors. - MSM



Oak Grove Coach receives Regional Award The National Federation of State High School Associations announced in March the selection of Coach Lonny Ray Schraeder of Oak Grove High School as the Section 3 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award.” The “Spirit of Sport Award” seeks to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive spirit of sport that represents the core mission of education-based athletics. The recipient of this award must be a coach, athletic administrator, administrator, or any others associated with the school or the school’s athletic program. The award may be given in recognition of a specific act or for an activity of longer duration to an individual who has overcome some sort of adversity or challenging circumstances. Coach Schraeder survived a terrible automobile accident while he was in college. The accident ended his football career, but it did not dampen his spirit. Although he lost a dear friend and both of his legs below the knee in that accident, he finished his education and became a teacher and coach. He is a tremendous inspiration to all with whom he comes in contact. He has a great love for students, and he is active in his school and community in sharing the message of the dangers of drinking and driving. Oak Grove Athletic Director Tim Heldt says, “He is a great Christian friend who never hesitates to share his testimony of where he gets his true strength. I am honored to have him as a friend and to be a part of nominating him for this award.”

Coach Schraeder coached at Petal Middle School and Petal High School prior to accepting the football coaching position at Oak Grove High School. A 1997 recipient of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Human Performance and Recreation Distinguished Leadership Award, he has distinguished himself in the classroom as well as on the sports field. He received the WDAM Golden Apple Teaching Award in 1995 and was Oak Grove High School’s Teacher of the Year for the 2007-2008 school year. Coach Schraeder is a daily reminder to his students of the dangers of drunken driving. However, he uses his experience to inspire others with a “can do” spirit that is always upbeat and positive. He speaks to Hattiesburg area students on a regular basis, and he conducts many personal counseling sessions with people who have lost their limbs to encourage and reassure them. Dr. Ennis Proctor, Executive Director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association, stated, “As a husband, father, coach, and community member, Coach Lonny Schraeder inspires everyone he touches. I am pleased that the National Federation has seen fit to recognize this outstanding coach and man with this award for the southeastern states. He stands tall as a positive role model for all of us. I salute Coach Schraeder for his many accomplishments.” Dr. Proctor presented Coach Lonny Ray Schraeder with his “Spirit of Sport” certificate and award at the April 9, MHSAA Legislative Council meeting. He was also recognized in the NFHS’s nationally distributed publication “High School Today” and on the National Federation website at - MSM

Choctaws finish Fourth at Table Tennis Nationals Mississippi College’s table tennis team put on a fantastic performance at the Nationals in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. Killer spins, wicked slams and solid defense was all part of the MC’s winning formula. MC’s women’s table tennis team finished in 4th-place to beat out fifth-place Stanford University. With nearly 4,900 students, MC was among the smallest schools at the 2009 National Collegiate Table Tennis Association tournament. It’s dynamic women’s doubles team of Haijing “Jenny’’ Wu and Jie “Jessica’’ Zhou almost advanced to the finals against powerhouse Texas Wesleyan (the 2009 champs). The NCTTA’s three-day tournament that concluded April 5 attracted 39 teams including more than 250 players from the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. “We did much better than last year - it was wonderful,’’  said MC Table Tennis captain Ken Qiu, who also coaches the nine-member squad on the Clinton campus. “This year our attention shifted to the women’s team.’’ Qiu, whose attack game wore out teams like Virginia Tech in singles matches, is determined to see MC return to the Nationals in 2010 and do even better. Qiu joins other star players for MC including Maria Montano, a biochemistry major from Venezuela, who transferred to MC in January. Getting her to play for the Choctaws was a real coup for Baptist-affiliated MC. Until a few months ago, Maria was the top player at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. MC’s team is truly international. The team includes players from China, Taiwan and Venezuela and two Mississippi natives, including Ben VanHorn of Clinton and Stephen Stetelman of Hattiesburg. There’s little time to rest. MC’s team will host the fall Dixie Division regionals in October, and hopes to put on another stellar performance during Homecoming 2009 weekend. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 15




le Miss defensive lineman Marcus Tillman of McCall Creek, Miss., has been selected as the 20th recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award, which goes to a rising senior defensive player each year. The award, sponsored by Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, honors the late Chucky Mullins, who had his Ole Miss career come to an end during the 1989 Homecoming game against Vanderbilt when he was paralyzed after making a tackle. After returning to his studies at Ole Miss, Mullins passed away on May 6, 1991. The selection of Tillman was announced during the Chucky Mullins Courage Award Banquet on April 16, 2009, which is sponsored each year by Phi Beta Sigma and Phi Kappa Psi fraternities. Tillman was recognized during the Ole Miss annual Grove Bowl spring football game in April. For the first time, the finalists for the award were announced in advance, and the others included cornerback Marshay Green and safety Kendrick Lewis. In addition to the revealing of the winner, attendees saw video highlights of many former award winners offering their reflections on Chucky Mullins and the significance of the honor and also heard from Ole Miss Assistant Athletics Director Jamil Northcutt, representing the past recipients. “All three of them could have very easily represented this award,” said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, who announced the winner at the banquet. “Since day one, Marcus doesn’t miss a class, he doesn’t miss a tutor session, he doesn’t miss a weight workout. He does everything the right way, and he’ll be a great representative of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award. I’ve been so proud of Marcus. He has been so consistent.” “It’s another motivator to work harder and reach the goals that I have,” Tillman said. “This is the highest honor I’ve received. I’ve had a lot of awards going back to high school, but this is at the top.” Tillman, who wears No. 92, will have the honor of wearing a “38” patch on his jersey during his senior campaign.  Mullins wore No. 38 as a player at Ole Miss. A three-year letterman, Tillman will enter his senior season with 89 total tackles, including 54 solo hits. He also has 15.5 TFLs, 3.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries and two pass break-ups. During his three years with the Rebels, he has played in 37 games, staring 36. Tillman earned first-team Freshman All-America honors in 2006, when he finished tied for second on the team with 5.0 TFLs and third with 2.0 QB sacks. Tillman joins 19 former Ole Miss Rebels to receive the Chucky Mullins Courage Award.  They include Chris Mitchell, Jeff Carter, Trea Southerland, Johnny Dixon, Alundis Brice, Michael Lowery, Derek Jones, Nate Wayne, Gary Thigpen, Ronnie Heard, Anthony Magee, Kevin Thomas,  Lanier Goethie, Jamil Northcutt,  Eric Oliver, Kelvin Photos Courtesy Robinson, Patrick Willis, Jeremy Garrett and Jamarca Sanford.

Ole Miss Athletics

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Photo Courtesy Mississippi State University


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Clean Sweep for Bulldog Pair O

n March 30th at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, juniors Jarvis Varnado and Alexis Rack were awarded the 2009 Cellular South Howell and Gillom trophies, respectively, in recognition of being the top male and female collegiate basketball players in the state of Mississippi as voted upon by the members of the media. “If we continue to see the caliber of players we had here tonight, you’ll soon see basketball move toward the popularity level of football,” executive hall of fame director Michael Rubenstein said. “There is no question basketball is moving in one direction, and that’s up.” Varnado, who led the Bulldogs in scoring (12.9) and rebounding (8.8) this past year, is the third MSU player to win the Howell Trophy, as he joins Lawrence Roberts (2005) and Jamont Gordon (2008). And it’s been a season of accolades for the Brownsville, Tenn., native, who once again led the nation with 170 blocked shots. He was named All-SEC and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the Associated Press and the league coaches and was the SEC Tournament MVP after leading the Bulldogs to their third title in school history with a 64-61 win against Tennessee. “It’s an amazing feeling,” Varnado said in regards to winning the award. “I feel like I’m dreaming.” Rack, a Franklin, La., product, was instrumental in the Lady Bulldogs advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they defeated Texas before losing a heartbreaker to host Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. She averaged 14.8 points a game, and the All-SEC selection was fifth in the conference in assists with a 4.3 average. “I have to credit my teammates,” said Rack, whose 1,179 career points rank 10th all-time at MSU. “They are the reason for my success. This is just amazing. I can’t even describe the feeling.” In attendance making the presentations were the namesakes of the two awards: former Ole Miss All-American Peggie Gillom and former Mississippi State All-American and national basketball hall of famer, Bailey Howell.

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Alexis RACK Jarvis VARNADO

Photos of Varnado and Rack Coourtesy of Mississippi State University

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

Executive Director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Michael Rubenstein, Jarvis Varnado, MSU Men’s Head Coach Rick Stansbury

Photo by Mississippi Sports Magazine

MSU Women’s Coach Sharon Fanning, Alexis Rack, Peggie Gillom

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Pass Happy The Manning Passing Academy still teaching kids the basics on the field and in the classroom By JAMES O. COVINGTON Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine


hen you arrive, you press a button and a sequence of keys, and a metal curtain slides open. Kris, in her usual bliss and Louisiana flair, will seat you until the legend arrives from his hardy lunch. Enter Archie Manning, the father, the son, and – in many Mississippi towns – the holy football spirit. Archie Manning, as laid back as ever, glances down at the upcoming NFL schedule and yawns. His two sons, Peyton and Eli, will try to navigate their teams to Miami this winter for a Manning Super Bowl that looks ever so reachable this season after a close run at it the past two years. “Man, the Colts have a brutal schedule this year,” Archie says with a grimace. “The Giants do, too. And the Saints, they have some good home games this season that will be fun to watch.” Archie notes that Eli, the youngest Manning of the bunch, will play his first game ever inside the Louisiana Superdome this fall, an October 18 clash with the Saints that is sure to be a hot ticket in the Manning household. Taking a brief look ahead is rare in Archie’s world, because the present is always keeping him busy. His schedule is tight, almost too tight if you ask Kris, his secretary who keeps him sound and tuned for the days and weeks ahead. In between speaking engagements and shooting new Bank Plus commercials, Archie is looking forward to the time he’ll have with his sons at the annual Manning Passing Academy, July 9-12 in Thibodeaux, La., on the campus of Nicholls State University. The camp, which prides itself as being “The Premier Offensive Skills Camp in the Nation,” gives the Mannings time to be together, relax, reflect and interact with high school kids who love the game of football all across the nation. “We’ve had campers sign up from as far a way as Guam and Alaska,” said Archie, who started the Academy in 1995 with 180 kids in attendance at Tulane University. Since then the Academy has grown in leaps and bounds, and now

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Eli, Archie and Peyton Manning

averages 1,000 campers every year, with top college players and coaches across the nation serving as guest instructors. Archie and his three sons – Peyton, Eli and his oldest son Cooper, a former wide receiver at Ole Miss – oversee the camp and its schedule. “We stick to the basics and cover all aspects from on the field to in the classroom,” Archie said. “The came is geared towards the skill positions of quarterback, wide receiver, tight end and running back.” Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead will be one of the many guest instructors at the camp this year, which still has a few spots open. Campers can register online at “Every year we strive to make (the camp) better,” Archie said. “Eli, Peyton, Cooper and myself are out there fulltime, coaching and going over fundamental drills and more. I can’t say enough about my sons work and involvement with the camp. They make it fun.” Archie and Eli will be in Jackson on Saturday, June 27th for An Evening with the Mannings at the Jackson Convention Center. All proceeds raised will benefit the Eli Manning Children’s clinic at Blair E. Batson Hospital. World famous chef Emeril Lagasse will also be on hand to help with the benefit. “That’s always a fun night, too,” Archie said. “We’re in Mississippi quite a bit. Eli lives in Oxford now and Olivia and I try to make as many Ole Miss ball games as we can, plus see the boys play, too.” No matter the circumstances or the fame, Archie Manning hasn’t forgotten his roots. The Drew native is still the same ole gunslinger who made crowds go wild in his heydays in the late 60s and 70s as a Rebel and a Saint. His sons are now enjoying that spotlight like never before, while dad is still keeping busy in New Orleans, New York, Indianapolis and Oxford. “I always said no matter what I do or where I go, I’ll always be from Mississippi,” Archie declared to Mississippi senators in March, when legislators honored him and his family. His legend has continued to grow through his post-playing years. Sons Eli and Peyton are Super Bowl champions and making a name for themselves as superstars of today’s NFL. With a wink and a smile, Archie nods and looks out across his office window, the Superdome to his left and downtown New Orleans to his right. He’s thinking now. And when he does that, it’s a touchdown … - MSM



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Local Vocal

After finding his voice as a child, Ole Miss alum Ron Franklin embarked on a successful career in sports broadcasting By CARY ESTES Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine


efore Ron Franklin ventured out for a life immersed in the sporting world, he brought that world to him. As a young boy growing up in Hazelhurst, Miss., in the early 1950s, Franklin would retreat to the sanctuary of his room, close the door, and turn on an electric football game. There, on the vibrating metallic playing surface of Franklin’s field, players moved erratically in a steady hum (including that one guy who would always mysterious churn furiously in a tight circle). And as the action took place in front of his youthful eyes, Franklin would call out a play-by-play. Linemen butted heads. Tailbacks broke for daylight. Cornerbacks were alone on an island. There was constant electricity in the stadium This was Ron Franklin’s imaginary life as a child. It turned out to also be his real life as an adult. For nearly 40 years, Franklin’s soothing baritone has drifted across America’s airwaves and into our homes and cars. First as the play-byplay voice for the Houston Oilers and the University of Texas, and then for the past 22 years as a game commentator for ESPN. This was, of course, never the plan. How could it be? How could a young child from 1950s small-town Mississippi ever envision such a wondrous life? Traveling throughout the country and even venturing overseas. Sitting in person to watch games that, during his youth, he could follow only through a crackling transistor radio. And yet, as the electrically charged running back with the permanently outstretched arm vibrated down the sideline, and young Ron Franklin’s voice rose to that high pitch children have when something exciting is happening, the moment felt right to him. It felt comfortable. Without knowing it, Franklin already was heading down what would become his chosen career path. “It was something that interested me more than I realized at the time,” Franklin said. “Sports has always really been my love, and football is my passion.” Like most boys, that passion initially was for playing the games. Franklin received permission from his mother to pursue athletics, but under one condition. He also had to take voice lessons. “We had a couple of uncles who had pretty good voices, and she

thought I had a decent voice and she wanted me to try to cultivate it,” Franklin recalled. “Some of the things that have really helped me with my voice came from those early days when I was taking voice lessons. “When I say my prayers, I always thank my mom for what she did for me, having the insight to make me do that.” The decision paid off after Franklin’s family moved to Oxford when he was 14. Franklin suffered a head injury in high school that resulted in the formation of a blood clot. Not only was his football career over, he no longer was eligible for the military. At about this same time, Franklin came upon an opportunity to work as a teen DJ. Suddenly, all those years of voice lessons made sense, especially as Franklin began to explore the possibility of combining his broadcast capabilities with his love for sports. “I thought, ‘This is really an intriguing business,’ ” Franklin said. “(The injury) is what directed me at a broadcasting career, because I really do care for sports. And the more I investigated it, I realized that they’ll actually pay you for doing this.” While a student at the University of Mississippi, Franklin got a job working at WSUH-AM. He often broadcast the wake-up shift, spent most of the day attending classes, and then returned to the station in the evening to cut commercials. He also flexed his improving voice box by performing in college theater productions, including “South Pacific” and “The Music Man.” “All of that really turned into a very important part of my life,” Franklin said. “But sports was always there also.” So after graduating from Ole Miss, Franklin began working his way up the television sports-anchor ladder. He spent two years in Roswell, N.M., and 3½ years in Tulsa, Okla., before being offered a job with the CBS affiliate in Houston in 1971 at age 29. “It was not a terrific amount of money,” Franklin said, “but it was more money than I thought I’d ever see.” Franklin picked up a side gig as the play-by-play announcer for the Houston Oilers, a position he held through the 1982 season (a span that included the Oilers “Luv Ya Blue” playoff runs of the late 1970s). It was, Franklin said, a wonderful time in his career. And yet, for a former country boy weaned on Ole Miss football, there was something missing. A Sunday NFL game just couldn’t match

“I thought, ‘This is really an intriguing business,’” Franklin said. “(The injury) is what directed me at a broadcasting career, because I really do care for sports. And the more I investigated it, I realized that they’ll actually pay you for doing this.”

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Photo by Rich Arden/ESPN

Mississippi Sports Magazine - 23

a Saturday afternoon on a college campus. So when the opportunity arose in 1983 for Franklin to become the play-by-play man for the University of Texas, he quickly accepted. “It wasn’t that I didn’t like the pros, but I was longing for being around college athletics and particularly college football,” Franklin said. “The color, the pageantry, just everything that goes on with college football. I just knew I would enjoy that more. “As it turned out, that hire really changed our life in a lot of ways, because we fell in love with Austin. Our son went to Texas, and we still live there now.” Franklin had been announcing University of Texas football and basketball games for only two years when he received an offer to work for ESPN. The network was still young at the time, but it was growing rapidly and had become the hot place to work in sports television. Nobody was turning them down. Franklin turned them down. They couldn’t believe it. Nobody told them no,” Franklin said with a laugh. “But I had promised (Texas athletic director) DeLoss Dodds I’d give him at least three years, and I didn’t want to go back on that. “When I told him about (rejecting ESPN’s offer), he raised his eyebrows and said, ‘They can offer you things I could never offer. They can pay you so much more money than I can pay you, it’s not even funny. If they call you again, take it.’ ” Sure enough, Franklin received a second offer from ESPN the following year. He was told there would not be a third. This time he accepted. Even since, Franklin’s life has been a near-endless array of stadiums and arenas, big games and memorable moments. From 1987 to 2005, he anchored ESPN’s Saturday college football primetime games. In 2006, he switched to ESPN2’s college football primetime, and then in 2007 moved to ESPN on ABC to call mainly Big 12 games. In college basketball, Franklin is ESPN’s primary play-by-play man for Big 12 games. Over the years he has provided ESPN with play-by-play for tennis (including the 1991, ’92 and ’93 French Opens), college baseball and the U.S. Olympic Festival In addition, he has hosted The NCAA Today and Sportsman’s Challenge, as well as the Bassmaster Classic fishing tournament. “I’ve been so blessed. I’ve been very, very lucky,” Franklin said. “I’ve been blessed to have been at the right place at the right time. To be able to do so many college football games, especially in the SEC, which to me is coming back home. I know the schools and I understand the people, because they’re the kind of people I grew up around.

“Every year when we start another season, I’d think, ‘Man, you are so lucky. Don’t be stupid enough to mess it up.’ ” Even though he has several decades of events to choose from, Franklin said two of the most memorable games he has called occurred in the past three years. And they took place only 12 months apart. The first was the epic national championship showdown in the 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC, with the Longhorns prevailing 41-38 on a touchdown run by quarterback Vince Young with only 19 seconds remaining. Franklin called the game on radio for broadcast nationally and on the Armed Forces Radio Network. “For Vince Young to perform the way he did and for them to pull that thing out was amaz-

“My greatest disappointment is the fact that GameDay has never come to Oxford. That’s a sacrilege. It is so silly,” Franklin said. “I tell Fowler, ‘You guys have to come to Ole Miss.’ Maybe now that (head coach Houston) Nutt is there, and I think they’re going to get consistently better, maybe now they will do that.”

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ing,” Franklin said. “I heard from people for a month after that. Soldiers who were someplace overseas listening to the game. That was really, really special.” Almost a year to the day later, Franklin was fortunate enough to be calling the 2007 Fiesta Bowl between Oklahoma and Boise State. The Sooners were heavy favorites, but Boise pulled off the shocker in overtime, winning the game on a trick-play two-point conversion. It has been called one of the greatest games in college football history, and certainly one of the biggest upsets. “Do you believe in miracles? Well, in this case, I thought that was a miracle,” Franklin said. “I thought Oklahoma would run them off the field. That one had so much drama. It was a game that was truly, truly fun to do.” Despite all his travels and the fact he now lives in Texas, Franklin said he remains an Ole

Miss fan at heart. After calling the late-night Orange Bowl game this past New Year’s Day, he intentionally booked the earliest flight he could find the next morning in order to be home in time to watch the Rebels play in the Cotton Bowl. “I got home just before the game started, and we sat there glued to the television,” Franklin said. “I was very proud of the way they played.” Though Franklin admits he has to put aside his feelings for Ole Miss whenever he is working, he is quick to extol to his colleagues the majesty of a football Saturday in Oxford. In fact, he said he regularly campaigns to ESPN GameDay host Chris Fowler for the need to have the traveling pre-game show make a stop at The Grove. “My greatest disappointment is the fact that GameDay has never come to Oxford. That’s a sacrilege. It is so silly,” Franklin said. “I tell Fowler, ‘You guys have to come to Ole Miss.’ Maybe now that (head coach Houston) Nutt is there, and I think they’re going to get consistently better, maybe now they will do that. “Because that absolutely is one of the fun college places on the planet. And the downtown and everything, good heavens, I don’t know of a more fun place if you’re a fan who enjoys college football but also wants to have a good time for the weekend. You don’t have to look too much past that zip code. “Everyone else is a rank amateur compared to The Grove. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing that comes close. A Saturday night in Baton Rouge is very good. Those people have a really good time. There are a lot of good places. But The Grove is absolutely, totally unique. There are some others that are pretenders, that try to do the same thing. But in my heart and mind, The Grove will always be No. 1.” As Franklin talks and becomes increasingly excited, he slips ever so slightly out of his deep, rich broadcast voice, and the hint of a slight Southern accent creeps in. It is a fleeting moment, but it is a telling example that the 67-year-old Franklin has not abandoned his Mississippi roots. That’s also evident a few moments later, when the subject turns to bass fishing. “My dad took me fishing when I was really young, and bass fishing is still absolutely an obsession with me,” Franklin said. “I caught a 9½-pound bass earlier this year. It’s big to me, really important to me. “That’s something I still have with me that will never leave. And that comes from no place else but Mississippi.” The boy who once called play-by-play for those electric football games so many years ago might no longer be in Mississippi, but it is obvious that Mississippi has never left the boy. - MSM

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Mississippi Sports Magazine - 27



Six Seconds to History Former Southern Miss kicker Ray Guy took punting to new heights, and gave football a new stat “I was never much on hang time until we got Ray. But then we started clocking how long his punts hung up in the air. Sometimes he kept it up there as long as six seconds.” – John Madden, former NFL head coach and television broadcaster By CARY ESTES Mississippi Sports Magazine


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seconds. That doesn’t seem very long at all. A mere wisp of time. But in man’s battle against gravity, six seconds is the equivalent of batting .400 or rushing for 2,000 yards. It is a benchmark few can reach. Ray Guy was a six-second man during his football playing career at Southern Mississippi and later with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. He was a punting phenom-

enon, a lanky country-boy from rural Georgia who didn’t know anything about the proper techniques of kicking the ball. He just knew how to create sonic booms with the swing of his leg. Guy set several NCAA records while playing at Southern Miss from 1970-72, and then became the first pure punter taken in the opening round of the NFL draft (by Madden’s Raiders). There he became a seven-time Pro Bowler, and arguably the greatest punter the game has ever seen.


A lot has changed at Southern Miss since Ray’s senior year in 1972. But his love for the University has never wavered.

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“He’s the first punter you could look at and say, ‘He won games,’ ” Pro Football Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan has been quoted as saying. But ask Guy today about his achievements, and he shrugs them off as no big deal. He was just playing a game he loved, and trying to do his best. “I didn’t have any individual needs,” Guy said. “When I was out there, I was just being a part of that play. A part of that time and that game. Everything I did through my career at Southern Miss and with the Raiders, it was just an action to a situation. That’s all it was.” Only it was much more than that. Guy actually was creating history, six seconds at a time.


One Second Guy maintained a home in Hattiesburg while he played in the NFL, before returning to Georgia in 1990 following the death of his father. But even when he was gone, Hattiesburg and Southern Miss remained nearby in his heart. “I hadn’t really left Hattiesburg,” Guy said. “I just moved back over to Georgia for awhile. I still claim Hattiesburg as my home.” About two years ago, Guy was approached with an offer to return to Hattiesburg to work with the school in public relations and marketing as a special projects manager. “Sort of an ambassador for the university,” according to Guy. Currently, one of his primary responsibilities is to help plan activities for the school’s Centennial Celebration next year. Southern Miss received its charter on March 30, 1910, though the university did not officially open its doors until 1912. Guy is focusing on the history of Southern Miss athletics, a project that includes vast amounts of research. “I’ve probably done more studying in the last year than I had all four years at Southern,” he said with a laugh. “It’s amazing what you can learn when you go to the library.” Guy wants there to be some sort of historical presentation before the first home game of each Southern Miss sport in 2010. So he is researching the history of USM athletics, dating to the inaugural football game on Oct. 13, 1912 (a rousing 30-0 victory over the Hattiesburg Boy Scouts, which doesn’t seem like a fair fight). The head coach for that first team was Ronald J. Slay, who also was a professor in the Southern Miss science department. Those types of tidbits are easy to learn when it comes to football and men’s basketball. Tracking down the history of many of the other sports, however, is much more difficult. “We’re going to need a lot of help from the community and former graduates, to find out (information) through their family members who attended Southern Miss way back when,” Guy said. “I’d also like to get people to donate a lot of memorabilia from the history of Southern Miss, and we’ll set it up in a room and display it.” In addition, Guy said he is hoping to coordinate a parade for the 2010 homecoming that would be a living look at the history of the university. “We’re looking at having a homecoming parade downtown where they used to have it,” Guy said, “and maybe get the fraternities and sororities involved where each one can work on one decade. “We’ll start in 1910 and go to the modern-day times. Find the clothing they wore back then to signify that particular decade. That way, as each part of the parade comes through, everybody can see how South28 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

ern Miss changed from 1910 all the way through to 2010. “What I’m doing is trying to bring forth all of that history.” And an important part of that history is none other than one William Ray Guy.

Two Seconds A native of Swainsboro, Ga., Guy was recruited to play for Southern Miss as a free safety and kicker. He would partake in all the drills with the defense, and then retreat to a nearby hillside to work for an hour on his kicking game, with only a manager and a ball boy accompanying him. “He had averaged about 44 yards (per punt) in high school,” recalled P.W. Underwood, who was Guy’s head football coach at Southern Miss and who still lives in Hattiesburg. “I told all our assistants, ‘I don’t want to catch anybody coaching him. If we can just maintain his average in high school, that’s good enough.’ If he had any bad habits, I just wanted them to leave him alone.” The only habit Guy seemed to have was to work hard and do whatever was asked of him. Underwood said Guy was a natural athlete and an extremely easy player to coach. “That rascal would work, but it wasn’t work to him. It was fun,” Underwood said. “He never lost his focus on being an athlete. I’ve never seen a fellow who would give you the time like he would. When you told him we needed to do something, he didn’t ask any questions. He just went right to work. “But we never gave him a format to follow when he went up on that


“He’s the first punter you could look at and say, ‘He won games,’” Pro Football Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan has been quoted as saying.

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hill (for kicking practice). I said, ‘He knows more about this stuff than I do. What am I going to tell him?’ He had a ritual that he went through, and he enjoyed doing it.” Guy admits that when it came to punting, he simply was going on instinct. He said kicking a football as high and as far as possible was an easy game to play in the wide-open farm land of his youth. “That was just something to do to entertain yourself,” Guy said. “I had no clue what the hell I was doing. I just knew I could do it.”


Three Seconds Oh, he could kick the ball all right. Long, high floating kicks that formed beautiful rainbow arcs. In his very first game as a sophomore (freshmen were ineligible to play at that time), Guy set the tone for his career by booming a 77-yard punt. He wound up averaging 44.7 yards per punt during his three playing seasons, including an NCAA-leading 46.2-yard average as a senior in 1972. He was a unanimous All-America selection that season. Guy’s career highlights include a then-record 61-yard field goal in the snow at Utah, and a 93-yard punt that remains the sixth-longest in NCAA history. But don’t expect Guy to go into great detail about either kick. He considers both plays to be nothing more that a situation where 11 players all did their job. “If it wasn’t for the 10 guys up front, I wouldn’t have gotten off either kick, because they had to block,” Guy said. “All I had to worry about was doing my job, and that’s what I did. “I wasn’t trying to overpower it. I wasn’t trying to go beyond my ability. I was just trying to keep everything on the same tempo and rhythm, and all of a sudden that sucker just kept going. It just happened.” For somebody who could achieve such literal heights, Guy comes across as being remarkably down to earth. Underwood said that is Guy’s true personality. He recalled a moment when Guy, who also played baseball at Southern Miss, pitched a no-hitter and then joined the football team for spring drills midway through practice. “After practice, we went in to get dressed, and that’s when I found out he had just pitched a no-hitter,” Underwood said. “He never mentioned it. He just came out and practiced as hard as you’d want him to. That’s the kind of kid he was.”

Four Seconds The Oakland Raiders obviously saw something special in Guy, because they chose him in the first round of the 1973 NFL draft (and the 23rd player taken overall). Never had a punter been picked so high. “They all thought (team owner) Al Davis and the Raiders were crazy,” Guy said. But never had a punter been able to boom the ball so high. The NFL began instituting “hang time” as an official statistic in large part due to 30 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Guy’s kicking ability. Still, Underwood said even the Raiders didn’t fully appreciate what type of athlete they had drafted, because they insisted on using him as only a punter, and not for field goals and kickoffs. “They said that to punt and to placekick, you have to lock your ankle two different ways,” Underwood recalled. “I said, ‘Well, if you don’t tell him, he won’t know that.’ ” Indeed, there were quite a few things about professional football that Guy did not understand. Beginning with the identity of his new team. Remember, this was in the pre-ESPN and pre-Internet days, before information was readily available to the masses. In addition, the Raiders had joined the NFL from the AFL only a few years earlier, and Guy had grown up following the traditional NFL teams. “The phone rang (on draft day) and it was Coach Madden,” Guy said. “I talked with him for a long time. Then when I got off, I asked, ‘Where the hell are the Raiders.’ I didn’t know hardly anything about them.”

Guy eventually discovered that he had joined the perfect team for him. Led by quarterback and Alabama native Kenny Stabler, the 1970s Raiders were a fun-loving team that worked hard and played hard. Guy said he quickly felt at home. “I felt relaxed, because those guys were just like me,” Guy said. “They were from different backgrounds in life, but they were good ol’ boys playing a game they loved to play and they were having fun. “We all had a lot of fun. We had bets going on during practice and things like that. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation than to be with an organization like the Raiders, especially with the coaches and players who were there. Because they were like the kind of guys I grew up with.”

Five seconds The Raiders’ gamble on Guy paid off easily. Guy never missed a game during 14 seasons in the NFL, playing in 207 in a row. He finished with a career punting average of 42.4 yards. He had 619 consecutive punts without a block, which is the second-longest streak in NFL history, and he never had a punt returned for a touchdown. The Sporting News magazine proclaimed Guy to be, “the finest punter in the history of the world.” And while Guy would never praise himself to that degree, he does acknowledge his place in football lore with a personalized car tag that reads, “Hangtime.” All of which makes Guy’s exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame somewhat puzzling. The hall obviously doesn’t hold kickers in very high regard. Only one fulltime placekicker, Jan Stenerud, has been inducted, and no punters have made it. Yet somehow, former supervisor of officials Hugh (Shorty) Ray is in the Hall of Fame. Guy admits that the snub “kind of hurts,” particularly because he believes many Hall of Fame voters simply do not respect kickers as being true athletes. “I’m known as a punter only, but when I grew up I was a fulltime player who also punted,” Guy said. “The phrase that a punter is not an athlete, that just frosts me to no end. How do you know they’re not athletes? “Physically, a punter has to be an athlete. You have to have the physical attributes to be one, or you can’t do it. And you have to be an athlete from a mental standpoint. You may only get on the field one or two times, but that one little part is still an intricate part of the outcome of a game. It should be respected. It should be noticed. And it should be recognized that this is a player.”

Six seconds In the end, no matter how high or far Guy kicked the ball, it always ended up back where it started. On the ground. So it is with Guy, who has returned to where his college playing career started. On the campus that he loves, in the town that he affectionately calls home. “Once I stepped on the campus in 1969, there was no doubt I was going to Southern,” Guy said. “I fell in love with Southern Miss and the community. It was like that was my hometown. “I came back here with the vision of giving back to the university more than what they gave me. I go and do whatever’s needed from a fundraising standpoint. I speak to civic clubs, youth groups, alumni dinners, Eagle Club deals. Whatever it takes and wherever I need to go, that’s where I go. I do what I do best. I run my mouth.” Outside of his numerous speaking engagements Guy’s focus for the next 12 months will be on USM’s Centennial Celebration. But he sees his relationship with the university extending far beyond that. Guy said Southern Miss has barely tapped into its potential, and he wants to help lead the way to growth and improvement at the university as it enters its next 100 years.

“I want to make this thing bigger and better,” Guy said. “I know it’s going to be bigger and better. I know what Southern Miss can do. And I want to be a part of that and contribute to that any way I can.” Nearly 40 years later, Ray Guy remains a team player. - MSM

By The

NUMBERS Ray Guy spent 13 years as a punter in the NFL with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. Many consider him the best punter to ever play the game. Here’s a look look at Guys’ statistics. We believe they are Hall of Fame worthy. n Only Punter ever taken in the first round of the NFL draft n Played in 207 consecutive games n Punted 1,049 times for 44,493 yards, averaging 42.4 yards per punt, with a 33.8 net yards average n Had 210 punts inside the 20 yard line (not counting his first 3 seasons, when the NFL did not keep track of this stat), with just 128 touchbacks n Led the NFL in punting three times n Had a streak of 619 consecutive punts before having one blocked n Has a record of 111 career punts in post season games n Had five punts of over 60 yards during the 1981 season n Never had a punt returned for a touchdown n 7x Pro Bowl selection (1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980) n 6x First-team All-Pro selection (1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978) n 2x Second-team All-Pro Selection (1979, 1980) n 3x Super Bowl champion (XI, XV, XVIII) n NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team n NFL 1970s All-Decade Team n Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame n Georgia Sports Hall of Fame n At the 1976 Pro Bowl, Ray Guy became the first punter to hit the Louisiana Superdome video screen. Officials then raised the screen from 90 feet to 200 feet. n Ray Guy was known for punts with a high hang time; he once punted the ball with so much hangtime that the opponents pulled the ball and had it tested for helium. The hangtime statistic was also instituted in the NFL during his time, probably because of him Mississippi Sports Magazine - 31


SPORTS BIZ Marathon Makeover founders Robin Simpson (l) and Mark Simpson (r) celebrate a successful finish with fellow runner George Alliston.

Marathon Makeover: Mississippi

entrepreneurs transform lives, turning couch potatoes into marathon finishers By JACK CRISS Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine


ark Simpson turned a challenge from a friend into a statewide health and wellness program that has exploded into the Mississippi athletic environment changing countless lives along the way. Marathon Makeover is a 40-week wellness program that takes “couch potatoes” off the couch and transforms them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually through the process of training for a marathon. “It’s really about transforming one’s total wellness within a supportive community toward an audacious goal,” says Clintonbased Simpson, who is the co-founder and co-director of the organization. Why a marathon? “The marathon is an point of reference that, seemingly, all things in life are judged by,” Simpson answers. “You so

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often hear things referred to as being a ‘marathon’ – the connotation is that it’s the ultimate definition of accomplishment or perseverance.” There are other marathon programs out there for individuals to choose: Why did Simpson start this one? And in Mississippi of all places? “I was talking to a marathon fanatic one day,” Simpson relates the story, “a guy who ran a marathon once a week. He was complaining about how no one in Mississippi wanted to ever train for and run a marathon. I told him that it’s not so much that no one here has the desire, it’s just that they wouldn’t know where to start. He laughed and said to me, ‘Simpson, I could have you ready to run a marathon in six months. I’ll even train you if you can find five other people to do it – but you won’t be able to.’ That was the gauntlet being

Over 830 runners participated in last year’s Marathon Makeover half-marathon in Ridgeland

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thrown down,” Simpson says. And he picked it up. would be for us to have our very own half-marathon. Chuck Gautier, It took Simpson a little bit longer than six months – nine, to be exact an alderman in Ridgeland, actually was the one who encouraged us to – but he did, in fact, find some twenty-two people to train alongside start this road race and open it up to the general public. So, we put the him as he prepared for the Chicago Marathon in 2004. “Twenty of those ball in motion, and with the help of the City, H. C. Bailey Company folks finished the marathon with me,” Simpson says. “That gave me the and the people at the Renaissance, we put on our first half marathon impetus to do this type of training on a regular basis. There was such a in June of 2008.” Over 830 people registered for the race resulting in groundswell of interest and support from that first group that my wife, one of the state’s largest races and a post-race survey undertaken by Robin, and I decided to form Marathon Makevoer.” (For the record, Marathon Makeover rated it a Nine out of Ten. Simpson says the 2009 Simpson completed the 2004 Chicago Marathon – his first race – in five half marathon will be a bigger and better one. hours and three minutes. He has completed five more since.) “For this year’s half we’re bringing in a race director from Austin, Charging a nominal fee for their time, the Simpsons officially kicked Texas who was the logistics coordinator for that city’s half marathon off Marathon Makeover in 2005 taking 54 participants to Chicago that as well as other races,” Simpson says. “His expertise and experience will year. Marathon Makeover currently has over 450 people training for a add a whole new level to the Renaissance race this June.” In addition, marathon. Marathon Makeover will be putting on a full marathon in October to “Robin and I have pulled together a team of coaches to help us,” replace the group’s yearly trip to Chicago. Simpson says, further explaining the program. “The group outgrew “We did the math,” Simpson tells us, “and realized that, in 2008, by just the two of us as far as providing the necessary training and tools. taking over 300 people to Chicago resulted in over $200,000 being Last year we broke our dropped in that city’s local groups into area economy. We thought: groups and now have a why not do that locally Clinton, Ridgeland and and invest in our home? Brandon Reservoir team Plus, it would afford in the Metro Jackson our participants the area. We have a turnkey opportunity for more training system which is of their family members DVD based that all of our and supporters to witness coaches use equipping their accomplishment them with the program’s and cheer them on.” The consistency and sharing inaugural Marathon the insights we developed Makeover Marathon, in the previous years.” which will also include Marathon Makeover a half, will be held has expanded further on October 17 in the in 2009, becoming a Highland Colony area. franchise with new teams Registration will open in Vicksburg, MS and at the Renaissance at Mobile, Alabama. Colony Park Half For those individuals Marathon in June. The group at Christ United Methodist Church wanting to participate Avid and in Marathon Makeover, enthusiastic promoters, Simpson says it’s essentially “wide open.” With a doctor’s go ahead, Mark and Robin host their own Marathon Makeover talk show Friday the only requirement of the program is that participants must be over mornings from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on SuperTalk FM Radio and will also the age of 21 (unless 16 and over training with a parent) and in good soon be publishing a full color, glossy health magazine called Marathon health. “We’ve had several participants and finishers over the age of 70,” Makeover magazine. “Additionally, one of our partners, Don Warren, Simpson says, “and people from all other ages and backgrounds.” is a professional video-tographer and is continually shooting video Simpson and his Marathon Makeover team were participants in for promotional purposes and future products to compliment our the now-infamous 2007 Chicago Marathon in which one runner died program. and many others were hospitalized due to the extreme heat and fluid “Marathon Makeover can drastically improve people’s lives,” Simpson shortage. Did having a group of first-timers in the middle of the worst says. “We’ve seen so many wonderful, inspiring stories of people who, marathon disaster in the sport’s history cast a pall over the program? perhaps going through life changes or difficulties, have participated Quite the opposite, according to Simpson. with us, reached a challenging goal, and came through it transformed. “It was one of those defining moments, without a doubt,” he says. “It That’s why we use as many media means available to us as we can to get served to build our characters and resolves I see in retrospect. I think the word out. We want people happy and motivated and we’ve seen that it highlighted the effectiveness of the Marathon Makeover program, happen so many times.” honestly. We arrived with 135 participants and all of us felt ready. Yes, Marathon Makeover is a true community in every sense of the it was hot, but we trained in heat. Although the race was called off word, Simpson says. Not only do people complete the program having in mid-stream, the amazing thing is that we had over a dozen of our accomplished a major athletic event, becoming happier and healthier in people finish and they ALL would have finished if it had been allowed the process; they also establish ties and relations that will last lifetimes. to continue. We ended up saying that Mississippi was ready for Chicago “I stay in touch with so many of our participants and can’t tell you but Chicago wasn’t ready for Mississippi!” all of the great success stories I’ve heard. It is so gratifying to me and Last year, Marathon Makeover put on its own road race at the Robin,” Simpson says. “That was our purpose in creating Marathon Renaissance at Colony Park in Ridgeland, a half marathon. “Of course Makeover and it moves me to see so many instances where we’ve you have to hit the 13.1 mile mark in training for a full marathon,” accomplished our mission.” - MSM Simpson says, “and with our previous groups we would always celebrate and acknowledge that momentous step with our members. For more information, please log on to or It was suggested to me that a really special way of acknowledgement emailing 34 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Expect more determination. There’s no such thing as a small goal, in sports or anywhere else. For every athlete who sets a world record, there are millions of us with personal aspirations that feel just as important. That’s why Regions always starts by listening to you and learning what goals drive you each day. Then we work harder than anyone to help you get there. So whether you’re opening your first checking account or starting your first business, we’ll handle the heavy lifting and let you enjoy the thrill of victory.

1.800.regions | © 2009 Regions Bank.

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4/15/09 11:34:43 AM

FLOWOOD PLAZA In front of Wal-Mart






McDOWELL ROAD 717 W. McDowell Rd.


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Mississippi State unveils new Adidas football uniforms Photo courtesy Mississippi State University


he Mississippi State athletic department and Adidas recently unveiled the Bulldogs’ new home and away football uniforms at the Barnes and Noble Campus Bookstore. Available in retail outlets in mid-July, the maroon and white jerseys feature gray accents and incorporate the university’s new marks and logos. The uniform will feature the new university athletic wordmark in the center of the chest, marking the first time in the modern era the full “Mississippi State” name has ever been displayed on the jersey. The Bulldogs will wear the uniforms for the 2009 season, the first season under new head coach Dan Mullen. “With our new partnership with adidas, and working with Coach Mullen, we were able to not only update the look of our football team, but also proudly display the full name of our university and include our new logos and marks,” director of athletics Greg Byrne said. The new uniforms are a change from head to toe for the Bulldogs, as it also includes a maroon helmet, a return to the headgear color the Bulldogs wore from 1963-65 and from 1974-2003. Mullen’s team will also wear black socks and black adidas shoes. The new modernized fit jersey features ClimaCool, a unique system of fabric placed in high heat zones –such as the shoulders – that enhances ventilation allowing a continuous supply of fresh air to the body. Both the new-look jersey and pants also incorporate For-motion cuts, strategically placed seams that remove excess fabric to enhance the natural movements during a game while reducing obstruction and abrasion. “This is a new and exciting uniform for our guys to wear,” Mullen said. “We wanted to create a look that was both visually appealing to our current and future players and included the colors and traditions of those Mississippi State teams that came before us.” - MSM

is now Online! Every issue of Mississippi’s #1 Sports Magazine is now online for your enjoyment. Visit our website at and click on the Blog tab to view each issue and to keep up with news and notes about MSM. 36 - Mississippi Sports Magazine



ith Tupelo as the location for your next sporting event, you’ll have better play and less work, thanks to Tupelo’s quality and versatility of venues, not to mention the strength and depth of our support services.



What are you waiting for? When its time to get away, DeSoto County, Mississippi is the perfect spot. Acres of outdoor recreation, including championship golf, fishing, boating and camping plus serious shopping, delectable dining and outstanding accommodations. Add in cultural heritage and historic attractions across the county, and you’ve cooked up the oh-so-perfect family getaway! We’re just minutes from Memphis, TN and Tunica, MS. So, what are you waiting for?

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MISSISSIPPI BLOOD SERVICES Mother’s Day Promotion: Thursday, May 7

Be Registered for a Chance to Win One of the Following: • A Strand of Pearls from Crown Jewelers • Luggage from Apple Annie’s • Mary Kay Gift Basket • Mother’s Day Flower Arrangement from Joy Flower Shoppe

Save a DJ Promotion: Thursday, May 21

Be Registered for a Chance to Win Cool Prizes AND • Free T- shirt to All Donors (while supplies last) • Blood Donor Appreciation $10 Gift Card for Blood Donors Who Come in from May 21 through June 30

Father’s Day Promotion: Thursday, June18

Be Registered for a Chance to Win Dad a Gift of Appreciation Mississippi Sports Magazine - 37

MISISSIPPI STATE B U L L D O G S Georgia Tech, Vandy games switched on 2009 Football slate Mississippi State’s 2009 football games against Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt will be swapped from their previously announced dates, the Southeastern Conference announced today. The Bulldogs will now travel to Vanderbilt on September 19 and welcome Georgia Tech on October 3. “In working with the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference and within our new television deal with ESPN, we switched the dates of these two games,” director of athletics Greg Byrne said.   Mississippi State will play seven home games in the fall, including what will now be a three-game homestand featuring games with LSU, Georgia Tech and a homecoming contest against Houston.    

MSU Football 2009 Schedule Sept. 5 JACKSON STATE                  Sept. 12 *at Auburn Sept. 19 *at Vanderbilt Sept. 26 *LSU Oct. 3 GEORGIA TECH Oct. 10 HOUSTON (HC) Oct. 17 at Middle Tennessee Oct. 24 *FLORIDA Oct. 31 *at Kentucky Nov.  14 *ALABAMA Nov. 21 *at Arkansas (Little Rock) Nov. 28 * OLE MISS *SEC Game

New JumboTron taking shape at Davis-Wade Stadium The $6.1 million true HD board, will span the roof of the Leo Seal M-Club Centre in the south end zone at Scott Field, and will be operational by October, 2008. When completed, the new board will measure 152 feet wide by 135 feet, 6 inches tall, with a main HD screen 111 feet wide by 47 feet high.  It will be the largest true high definition board in the Southeastern Conference.  The board will also contain two vertical HD displays and one horizontal scoreboard display.   The new construction was approved by the Board of Trustees, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.  Capturion Network Inc., a Laurel, Miss., based outdoor sign and video display company will serve as the project contractor.   With the new light emitting diode (LED) technology, the board can serve as a single video display or be divided into multiple windows to show a variety of statistics, graphics, animation, replays, and live video.  It also provides ample room for sponsorship displays.   “We appreciate the support our fans have provided our football program through the years, and this new video display board will enhance our fan’s experience at a Mississippi State football game, Byrne said. This display area will provide entertaining video as well as statistical information in a way that has never before been seen at Scott Field.   A new sound system will be located in a cabinet located above the video display.   The stateof-the-art sound system will be designed and installed by Pro Sound, an audio company based in Miami, Fla.

Bailey, Goldman Named MSU Nominees for McWhorter Post-Graduate Scholarship Softball player Sammie Jo Bailey and golfer Noah Goldman have been nominated by Mississippi State University for the H. Boyd McWhorter ScholarAthlete Post-Graduate Scholarship. The H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete PostGraduate Scholarship has been presented by the Southeastern Conference since 1986 to the league’s top male and female scholar-athletes. Bailey, a senior from Lithonia, Ga., has a 3.97 grade point average, majoring in Business Information Systems.  She is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll (spring 2009 honor roll released later this spring) and is a threetime National Fastpitch Coaches Association AllAmerican Scholar-Athlete. She has been the recipient of MSU’s Halbrook Award three times, awarded to the highest GPA of all female student-athletes, and has earned the Newsom Award at State for the highest GPA on the softball team, three times. A three time member of the National Dean’s List, Bailey is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi 38 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

and Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Societies and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Bailey is a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, she has been the SEC Player of the Week once in 2007, the SEC Freshman of the Week and SEC Freshman of the Year in 2005. She is president of MSU’s student-athlete advisory council and is the treasurer of the M-Club community service organization.  She has participated in various community service activities including Operation Christmas Child, Bully’s Book Blitz (reading to local elementary school children), campus trash pickups and the SEC “Together We Can” canned food drive.  Goldman, a graduate student from Longwood, Fla., has a 3.68 grade point average, working to earn his Masters of Business Administration. He is a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll (spring 2009 honor roll released later this spring) and has been a member of the MSU Academic Honor Roll for the past six semesters.  He has been a two-time recipient of the MSU Newsom Award as

the top scholar-athlete on the golf squad. He has been a Dean’s List student four times and a President’s Scholar once at State and is currently working on his MBA. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in General Business in the summer of 2008. On the golf course, he won SEC Golfer of the Week honors in 2006 and 2008 and made the 2008 Cleveland Golf All-America Team.  He has also bee named to the Golf Coaches Association of America PING All-Region Team twice.  He has been the individual medalist for three tournaments, including two Magnolia Cups and the Roadrunner Intercollegiate. Goldman has served as a volunteer in the community, working with students in primary grades on special projects and assisting teachers with student writing. He has done Meals on Wheels (delivering meals to senior citizens) and volunteered in schools in his native Seminole County.  He has also assisted Hurricane Katrina victims following the storm.

Ron Polk, Rafael Palmeiro Selected For National College Baseball Hall Of Fame

Mississippi State University is well-represented in the 2009 National College Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Class, announced March 24 in Lubbock by the College Baseball Foundation. Former Mississippi State head baseball coach Ron Polk and three-time All-American Rafael Palmeiro are among 10 collegiate players and coaches selected for enshrinement in the fourth induction class of the CBF’s Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen based on the votes of more than 110 representatives from coast to coast. Voters include retired and active coaches, media members and previous inductees. “This is an exciting day for the Hall of Fame every year,” said Mike Gustafson, co-chair of the Hall of Fame and member of the CBF Board of Trustees. “It’s another remarkable class. We are delighted to finally recognize the ‘small school’ category of college baseball. Coach Gillespie was the overwhelming choice of our voting committee.” Joining Polk and Palmeiro in this year’s HoF induction class are Joe Carter, outfielder, Wichita State; Darren Dreifort, pitcher/DH, Wichita State; Kirk Dressendorfer, pitcher, Texas; Barry Larkin, shortstop, Michigan; Keith Moreland, catcher/utility, Texas;  and Todd Walker, second baseman, Louisiana State, Vintage Era inductee Branch Rickey, a player and coach at Ohio Weslyan; and small college inductee Gordie Gillespie, head coach at St. Francis. The 2009 inductees will be honored on July 3 as part of the College Baseball Foundation’s annual celebration of both the past and present of college baseball from July 2 through July 4 in Lubbock. “This class is not short on household names in college baseball,” said Jeff Chase, co-chair of the Hall of Fame and a member of the CBF Board. “Last year’s group was dominated by pitchers, but this year the position players have taken over. We can’t wait for the induction festivities in early July.” Polk, the winningest coach in any sport in Southeastern Conference history, is one of only three coaches to lead three different schools to the College World Series — Georgia Southern, Mississippi State and the University of Georgia. He concluded his 35-year career as a head coach last spring with a career record of 1,373-7002 (.662). His teams made eight College World

Series appearances, won five SEC championships and made 23 NCAA regional tournament appearances. Palmeiro, along with Dressendorfer, was one of only 11 players in history to be named firstteam All-American three times. He was twice named All-Southeastern Conference and was an SEC All-Tournament Team selection in 1983. In 1984, he was the SEC’s first triple crown winner with a .415 batting average, 29 home runs and 94 RBIs. Polk and Palmeiro become the second and third inductees from Mississippi State. Former Bulldog All-American Will Clark was named to the inaugural CBF Hall of Fame class in 2006. Among the 2009 Hall of Fame class is one Vintage-Era inductee and the first “small school” inductee. Branch Rickey, player and coach from Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan is the Vintage-Era inductee. The Vintage-Era designation is for those who played or coached prior to 1947. The University of St. Francis head coach Gordie Gillespie is the small-school inductee. His career at Lewis University and St. Francis has seen him become the winningest coach in college baseball history. The “small school” designation is for two and four-year schools other than NCAA Division I. Gillespie, who has coached for more than five decades, said he is thrilled to be a part of the 2009 College Baseball Hall of Fame Class. Joe Carter, who played at Wichita State from 1979 to 198National Player of the Year by Sporting News in 1981. A two-time first-team All-American, he was twice named MVP of the Missouri Valley Conference and three times named to the All-MVC team. In 2007, he was the top vote-getter when the MVC chose its AllCentennial baseball team. Darren Dreifort led Wichita State to consecutive College World Series appearances from 1991 to 1993, including appearances in both the 1991 and 1993 final games. The winner of Golden Spikes and Smith Awards in 1993, he was a two-time first-team All-American and AllMVC performer. He was the 1993 MVC Pitcher of the Year and in 2007 he was named to the MVC All-Centennial team as both a designated hitter and relief pitcher. Kirk Dressendorfer, who pitched at Texas from 1988 to 1990, was a three-time first team

All-American, making him one of only 11 in history to be so honored. His 45 wins made him one of the most decorated players in Southwest Conference history as he won three SWC MVP awards and three All-SWC team honors. He also was named to three All-SWC Postseason Tournament Teams. Michigan’s Barry Larkin was a two-time firstteam All-American shortstop. He was the first two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and in 1983 he was the Big Ten Postseason Tournament MVP. He twice led the Wolverines to the College World Series and finished his career with a .361 batting average. Keith Moreland was a three-time first-team All-Southwest Conference performer as a third baseman at the University of Texas, and twice named first-team All-American (1973, 1975). He helped lead the Longhorns to three consecutive Southwest Conference crowns, three straight NCAA Regional/District titles, a trio of College World Series appearances and the 1975 National Championship. His teams went a combined 16021 in his three seasons. Perhaps best known for signing Jackie Robinson to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey was named the most influential figure of the 20th century in sports by ESPN. He played his first two seasons at Ohio Wesleyan before signing a professional contract, whereupon he assumed the head coaching duties. While playing for the St. Louis Browns, he coached baseball and football at Allegheny College. Upon completion of his playing career, he began studies at the University of Michigan Law School. He served double-duty in Ann Arbor as the Wolverines baseball coach, where his most famous pupil was Hall of Famer George Sisler. A Hall of Famer himself, he later embarked on a career as a major league manager and executive and is credited with creating the concept of farm systems as well as the batting helmet. Todd Walker played second base at LSU from 1992 to 1994 and was a two-time first-team AllAmerican. Arguably the greatest position player in the annals of LSU baseball, he was named AllSEC three times and in 1993 was named Most Outstanding Player at the College World Series for the National Champion Tigers. He also was named to the Omaha World-Herald All-Time College World Series Team. Mississippi Sports Magazine - 39

OLE MISS R E B E L S Terrico White Named SEC Freshman of the Year, 2nd Team All-SEC Ole Miss point guard Terrico White has been named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, as the league unveiled its men’s basketball coaches postseason awards in March. In addition, White and Rebel teammate David Huertas were both tabbed to the All-SEC second team, while White was one of three unanimous All-Freshman team members. White had a banner year in his first season with the Rebels, leading all freshmen and ranking fourth among all players with 18.4 points per game in SEC play. He is the second player in school history to receive SEC Freshman of the Year honors, joining 2001 selection Justin Reed. “We’re obviously very excited for Terrico,” said Rebel head coach Andy Kennedy. “I’ve said many times that if he was not the freshman of the year in this league then there was no way this team could have experienced any level of success. He was presented with a big challenge and he responded.” Being forced to move from his natural wing position to become the team’s point guard midway through the season, White excelled in his new role and produced eight 20-point outings in league play. In fact, his 20.7 scoring average in the 11 games since Jan. 27 is thirdhighest among all freshmen in the nation during that span. The Memphis, Tenn., native was a three-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection

during league play. “Wow, it’s exciting to be the freshman of the year when there are so many good players in the SEC,” White said. “I’m just glad I could come in and help Ole Miss win games, and I hope we can keep winning and get to the postseason this year.” Huertas is the team’s leading scorer in all games with 18.2 points per game, while he averaged 16.3 in SEC contests. He has produced 12 20-point games this season and scored in

double figures in 28 of 29 contests. The Puerto Rico native’s 151 3-pointers made since joining Ole Miss are the most in a two-year span in school history. It is the second time in three seasons under Kennedy that Ole Miss has had two players earn All-SEC honors from the coaches. “Not only Terrico, but all of our freshmen have been given an opportunity to play early, and that experience will do nothing but make them better for the future,” Kennedy said. The future looks very bright for a Rebel team that returns every scholarship player next season. In addition to All-SEC picks White and Huertas, Ole Miss will welcome back preseason All-SEC first team member Chris Warren, veteran guard Eniel Polynice and 2008 All-Freshman pick Trevor Gaskins from injury. Current sophomore starters Zach Graham and Malcolm White and freshman starter Murphy Holloway will also help make up a formidable nucleus of returnees. LSU’s Trent Johnson earned SEC Coach of the Year honors and LSU senior guard Marcus Thornton was selected SEC Player of the Year. Alabama’s Justin Knox earned SEC ScholarAthlete of the Year honors. Jarvis Varnado of Mississippi State was picked as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row, and South Carolina’s Brandis Raley-Ross earned SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year honors. Coaches voted on eight member teams for First Team All-SEC, Second Team All-SEC and for the SEC All-Freshman Team. They voted on a five-player squad for the SEC All-Defensive Team. They were not permitted to vote for their own players and ties were not broken.

Oxford-University Stadium Nearing Completion Oxford-University Stadium is nearing completion. Some of the amenities that will be added include 880 club seats between first and third base, as well as an increase in box seats from 400 to approximately 1,700. The overall number of chairback seats will rise from 2,951 to over 6,000, and all current chairbacks will be replaced. Fans will also be able to enjoy concession areas in the stands and additional restroom areas with handicap accessibility. 
Average attendance last season was 4,850 with over 10,000 fans filling the park during regional competition, but Boone said these numbers should soar once fans are able to enter the new facility. “Last year, when you actually count tickets, we had over 9,000 people in the park during the regional games,” he said. “With this increase, I think we will be able to get at least 10,000 and possibly 11,000 people comfortably in the stands during a game.”
The outside of the park will be of red brick with a new roof that will be similar to other buildings on campus. The facade will be of a traditional style that Boone said will coincide with the architectural style of Ole Miss. “In keeping with the look of campus with the red brick, red roof and capstone, Chancellor (Robert) Khayat and I believe that the stadium will be very attractive,” said Boone. “Once you enter campus, you will be able to see a beautiful structure welcoming you to the university.”
The expansion will certainly have its advantages in terms of game environment, but it will also play a major role in future success for the baseball program. The facility will open the door for recruiting, as well as an enhanced gameday atmosphere for players. “When everybody sees the rendering and what’s going to happen, they will see that the stadium is going to be very impressive,” said Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco. “It’s going to be the nicest stadium in the country, help in recruiting and have that wow effect.” These upcoming changes to Oxford-University Stadium are on 40 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

the heels of several other recent additions and renovations to the facility. Beginning with the 2006 season, the park received a new scoreboard which contains a large video board capable of showing highlights and replays throughout the course of the game.
Before this season, the outfield area underwent some alterations as Oakes Pavilion in left field was improved and extended through left-center field to allow fans to enjoy the grills and more natural seating of the park. The right field seating was also extended and more picnic areas were built to benefit Ole Miss students. “I don’t think there will be a better looking or functioning facility in the nation,” said Boone. “With the quality and feel of this expansion, you won’t be able to get any better. This will be an absolutely gorgeous facility that will make baseball at Ole Miss a truly remarkable event.”

Ole Miss legend Preston “Pep” Bennett passes away

University of Mississippi athletics lost one of its greats on March 30, 2009 with the passing of Preston P. “Pep” Bennett, a 2005 inductee of the Ole Miss M-Club Athletics Hall of Fame. Bennett hit the gridiron for the Rebels in 1939 as a member of the freshman football team. After being named to Baker’s Sophomore All-America First Team in 1940, his legend grew from there as he took the field as a quarterback for head coach Harry Mehre in 1941. Following the 1941 season, Bennett enlisted as a pilot in the United States Navy to fight in World War II. He served the U.S. in the armed forces until his discharge in 1946, at which time he re-enrolled at Ole Miss, joining the football team for a final season under then-head coach Red Drew. Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss in 1946, Bennett continued his education, receiving a Master of Education in 1947. During his time at Ole Miss, Bennett was a member of Phi Eta Sigma academic honorary and ODK leadership honorary. He was also a member of the Rebel golf team and Kappa Alpha Order. Following his graduation, Bennett returned to his hometown of Meridian, Miss., to coach until 1950, at which point he moved to Clarksdale to pursue a career in farming. Bennett served as a Southeastern Conference official for five years following completion of his degree at Ole Miss. He became a sustaining member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1980, and was named as a recipient of the Distinguished American Award from the Ole Miss Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2000, Bennett was honored with the Bill Wade Pioneer Unsung Hero Award by the All-American Football Foundation. Bennett was married to the former Gene Thomas. The couple has a daughter, Penelope “Penny” Frazer of Clarksdale; a grandson, Preston Bennett Frazer of Memphis, Tenn.; and three great-grandchildren, Katherine Elizabeth Frazer, Preston Bennett Frazer, Jr., and Charles Harry Frazer, all of Memphis. “I’m pleased to receive the honor of being inducted into the M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame,” Bennett said at the time of his induction. “This is a wonderful group of athletes, and it is exciting to be included among such a great group of athletes from Ole Miss. I have never enjoyed anything more than I enjoy being a part of Ole Miss.”

Ole Miss announces 2009 and 2010 Football Schedules Following a lengthy process to accommodate ESPN’s request to add this year’s Ole Miss game at South Carolina to its Thursday Night national television package, Athletics Director Pete Boone announced the Rebels’ complete football schedules for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Highlighting the 2009 schedule will be home Southeastern Conference dates with Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU, while SEC road trips will be to South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State. The non-conference schedule has Coach Houston Nutt’s Rebels visiting Memphis to open the season on Sept. 5, while home games with Southeastern Louisiana, UAB and Northern Arizona will provide nonconference opposition in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.  Ole Miss will be facing the Lions, Blazers and Lumberjacks in football for the first time in school history, with the Oct. 17 UAB game designated as Homecoming on the Oxford campus.  Moving the South Carolina date from a Saturday to Thursday night resulted in two additional schedule adjustments for Ole Miss in 2009.  Ole Miss was to have played Vanderbilt on Sept. 19, but that game is now scheduled for Oct. 3.  Another change that became necessary was to move a scheduled home game with Southeastern Louisiana from Sept. 12 to Sept. 19. “Over the past several months, due to the ESPN request, we have been in and out of discussions with literally 15 to 20 schools in order to complete our 2009 schedule,” Boone said. “When you have to consider things like available dates and each team’s needs for home and away games, it does complicate the decision-making process.” The final piece of the puzzle fell into place this week when Ole Miss

OLE MISS 2009 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE DATE OPPONENT                         LOCATION Sept.   6 Memphis Memphis, TN Sept. 12 Open Sept. 19 Southeastern Louisiana Oxford Sept. 24 South Carolina (ESPN) Columbia, SC Oct.    3 Vanderbilt Nashville, TN Oct.  10 Alabama Oxford Oct.  17 UAB (HC) Oxford Oct.  24 Arkansas Oxford Oct.  31 Auburn Auburn, AL Nov.  7 Northern Arizona Oxford   Nov. 14 Tennessee Oxford Nov. 21 LSU Oxford Nov. 28 Mississippi State Starkville, MS HC -Homecoming

added Northern Arizona for a game on Nov. 7. The Rebels will have an open date on Sept. 12.   While the 2009 schedule includes two Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) teams in Northern Arizona and Southeastern Louisiana, Boone noted that this year’s schedule was an anomaly.  “We didn’t intend to schedule two I-AA teams nor do we anticipate scheduling two I-AA teams in the same year again,” he said. In the past six seasons, Northern Arizona has played  Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams Arizona (2004, 2005, 2007), Arizona State (2006, 2008) and Utah (2006).  In addition to playing Ole Miss this season, the Lumberjacks will also face Arizona.  The Rebels are among a number of BCS schools playing two FCS opponents this season.  They include Atlantic Coast Conference members Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State; Big 12 Conference member Kansas State; and Big East member South Florida.    The 2010 schedule will have Kentucky replacing South Carolina inside the SEC for a game to be played in Oxford.  Other home dates with SEC teams include Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State, with SEC road games set at Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU.   Non-conference opponents at home in 2010 will be Fresno State,  Jacksonville State and Louisiana-Lafayette, with Tulane on the road. Boone also announced additional non-conference opponents for the future, which will include home-and-home dates with Texas, Tulane, Clemson and Georgia Tech as well as return dates with UAB and Fresno State, plus home games with Southern Illinois and Central Arkansas.   

OLE MISS 2010 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE                          DATE            OPPONENT                         LOCATION Sept. 4  Jacksonville State               Oxford Sept. 11 Tulane New Orleans, LA Sept. 18 Vanderbilt Oxford Sept. 25 Fresno State Oxford Oct. 2 Kentucky Oxford Oct. 9 Open             Oct. 16 Alabama                  Tuscaloosa, AL Oct. 23  Arkansas                         Fayetteville, AR Oct. 30  Auburn                           Oxford Nov.  6  Louisiana-Lafayette              Oxford Nov. 13  Tennessee                        Knoxville Nov. 20  LSU                              Baton Rouge, LA Nov. 27  Mississippi State Oxford

Mississippi Sports Magazine - 41

SOUTHERN MISS G O L D E N E A G L E S Southern Miss Announces 2009 Football Schedule Six Saturday home games, which include in-state foe Alcorn State and Atlantic Coast Conference power Virginia, highlight the 2009 Southern Miss football schedule that was released today by the school. “We are pleased all six home games will be on Saturdays, which is best for our fans,” said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini. “The C-USA and non-conference schedule is well balanced and we look forward to hosting Virginia from the ACC.” Southern Miss will play five teams that reached bowl games a year ago, including Memphis, East Carolina, Houston, Tulsa and Kansas. “We have a very challenging schedule with four quality non-conference opponents 2009 Southern Miss to go with our always challenging C-USA Football Schedule games,” said Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. The Golden Eagles, which won their final Sept. 5............... Alcorn State five games of 2008 that includes an R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl victory over Sept. 12....................... UCF* Troy, open the season with three consecuSept. 19.................... Virginia tive home games. The Golden Eagles start Sept. Kansas the campaign at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at Roberts Stadium, Sept. 5, against Alcorn Oct. 3....................... at UAB* State, before opening Conference USA play Oct. 10............... at Louisville here against UCF (Sept. 12). The homestand Oct. 17.................. Memphis* concludes against Virginia, Sept. 19. The Golden Eagles then take to the road Oct. 24...............Tulane* (HC) the following three weeks as they play at Big Oct. Houston* 12 foe Kansas (Sept. 26), UAB (Oct. 3) and long-time and former league rival Louisville Nov. 7................... Open Date (Oct. 10). Nov. Marshall* A pair of October home games then await Nov. 21....................... Tulsa* USM with Memphis (Oct. 17) and Tulane (Oct. 24) coming to town before finishing Nov. 28......... at East Carolina* the month at Houston (Oct. 31) on Hallow* C-USA game een. The Tulane game has been designated homecoming for this season. Southern Miss will then enjoy an open date before traveling to C-USA foe Marshall (Nov. 14). The home schedule concludes Nov. 21 against Tulsa, while the regular season wraps up in Greenville, N.C., at East Carolina, on Nov. 28. The C-USA championship game is set for Dec. 5, and will be the East and West Division Champions. The Golden Eagles, who will play Alcorn State, Virginia and Kansas in football for the first time this season, hold a 126-53-3 combined record over the nine opponents that they have met on the gridiron. Southern Miss has winning records over eight of them – UCF (3-1), UAB (9-0), Louisville (18-8-1), Memphis (37-21-1), Tulane (21-7), Houston (7-4), Marshall (3-1) and East Carolina (268) – and trail in the series against Tulsa (2-3-1). Season tickets for the 2009 season are available by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) as well as online at, or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Athletic Ticket Office from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Southern Miss Athletics Department is giving a highlight DVD of the 2008 season to fans that join or renew their Eagle Club donation, as well as making their season ticket and spring game ticket purchases prior to or on the date of this year’s annual Black and Gold Spring Game, April 18, at 6 p.m. The priority deadline is May 1. Please note that times and additional television information will be released at a later date and that the dates of the schedule are subject to change.

Southern Miss Announces Pair of National Television Games for 2009 Football Season Southern Miss and Conference USA announced March 25 that CBS College Sports will broadcast

the Golden Eagle football games against Virginia and UAB this season. The Virginia game, set for Sept. 19, will be shown live at 2:30 p.m., CT on the network from Carlisle-Faulkner Field at Roberts Stadium, while the UAB contest has been moved from Saturday, Oct. 3, to Thursday, Oct. 1. Game time against the Blazers is set for 7 p.m., CT from Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.   The network can make additional picks 12 days in advance of Conference USA games beginning on or after Nov. 1, leaving the possibility for more Golden Eagles games to be televised nationally. Additional games may also be selected for regional broadcasts at a later time. 42 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

2009 Summer Football Camps Position Camp (May 29-31) Our Position Camp is “instruction intensive.” Each camper will receive as much individual instruction in football fundamentals and techniques as possible during the five available practice sessions and one testing period. Our camp is a “non-contact” event. Participants will be broken into practice groups according to grade classification, skill level and size. This camp is for young men who are at least thirteen years of age through rising high school seniors.

During the three-day session, campers will receive instruction in both offensive and defensive aspects of the game, with an emphasis on each player’s desired position. Daily schedules will include practice sessions in addition to film study with position coaches. Instruction will also be given in strength, conditioning and speed training.

-Overnight: $220 per camper (includes room and basic meals)
-Day Campers: $180 (includes lunch and dinner)

Kicking Camp (May 29-31) During the five available practice session and one testing session, each participant will receive individual instruction in his choice of field goal kicking, kickoffs, punting, long snapping or holding. Approximately 16 hour of instruction are available at each camp where coaches will work with each individual, answer any questions and go the distance to bring out his hidden potential. Camp participants will be videotaped for film-critique session an then given instruction on the field and on how to improve their strengths an correct their weaknesses.

The goal of this camp is for each individual who attends to leave with the knowledge of the basic skills and techniques to achieve his best. There will also be a very strong emphasis on the mental side of the game, which is taught both on the field and in the film room.

This camp is for young men who are at least thirteen years of age through rising high school seniors. Cost is $200.

Junior Camp (June 5-7) Our Junior Camp is for young men who are seven to 12 years of age. Each camper will receive individual instruction in football fundamentals and techniques from Southern Miss coaches, will participate in a “Punt, Pass and Kick Competition” and workout at the Golden Eagles’ practice facility - including a practice in The Rock!

Participants will be broken into practice groups according to grade classification, skill level and size.

-Overnight: $175 per camper (includes room and basic meals)
-Day Campers: $150 (includes lunch and dinner) For more information on these camps and others available at USM go to http://southernmiss.

Twenty-Six Southern Miss Student-Atheltes earn C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal A total of 394 student-athletes have earned the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal during the 2008-09 academic year, Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced Friday. The medals are given to those C-USA student-athletes who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or better. The sport of volleyball led the way with seven recipients, followed by women’s soccer with six and baseball with two. The following is a complete list of the medal winners, listed by institution:  


Baseball (2) - Derek Copley (Dyer, Tenn.), Wade Weathers (Quitman, Miss.) Men’s Basketball (1) - Bryson Brewer (Waynesboro, Miss.) Women’s Cross Country (1) – Cheris Fletcher (Albany, Ga.) Men’s Golf (1) - John Gregory Joseph (Valdosta, Ga.) Women’s Golf (1) - Ashley Joubert (Ponchatoula, La.) Women’s Soccer (6) - Amy Davis (Vestavia Hills, Ala.), Jordan Gauthier (Lafayette, La.), Liz Hamlin (Kenner, La.), Jana Mason (Tupelo, Miss.),

Elisha Tarbell (Mandeville, La.), Hannah Vanderboegh (Pinson, Ala.) Softball (2) - Brittney Jones (Rayne, La.), Leslie LeJune (Houston, Texas) Men’s Tennis (3) - Domagoj Anic (Zagreb, Croatia), Jan Burmeister (Kronberg, Germany), Marcus Wessinghage (Ingelheim, Germany) Women’s Tennis (1) - Elja van Berlo (Erp, The Netherlands) Women’s Track and Field (1) - Tandra Patterson (Pascagoula, Miss.) Volleyball (7) - Caitlin Clarke (New Orleans, La.), Amelia Hendrickson (Belle Chase, La.), Lisa Knecht (Metairie, La.), Katie Matlock (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Ashley Petrinec (Bloomington, Ill.), Lauren Sears (Ashburn, Va.), Kelsea Seymour (Long Beach, Calif.)

Eagles move Spring Practice Session to Madison Central High School Southern Miss football coach Larry Fedora took his Golden Eagles to Madison and Madison Central High School on Friday, March 27th to showcase his team to the fans in the Jackson/Metro area. “This gave our fans outside of the Hattiesburg area a unique way to get a chance to see this team prepare for next year, as well as view first-hand the amount of effort and preparation it takes to get ready for the season,” said Fedora. “Our Jackson area fans got to see us scrimmage for the first time this spring.”   The practice was the sixth of 15 scheduled workouts for the Golden Eagles.  The drills culminated April 18 with the annual Black and Gold Spring Game.

Over 1,000 Eagle fans showed up to watch the scrimmage at Madison Central.

Coach Fedora talks with starting quarterback Austin Davis during warmups.

New Defensive Line coach Deke Adams giving his guys a little motivational speech before the scrimmage.

Offensive Line Coach Chris Kapilovic shouts out instructions during the O-lines position session. Mississippi Sports Magazine - 43


college news briefs

MC Equestrian Team Member Meredith Guider Returns to Nationals

Mississippi College equestrian team standout Meredith Guider will return to the national championships in hopes of improving her 4th place finish a year ago. “Congratulations to (Meredith) for working so hard to achieve this honor,” said Becky Baumel, the team’s interim coach. “It will be a tougher competition (the Nationals), but we are hoping she can improve. She still has the skills to be able to do that.” A senior from Utica, Guider on Saturday received second in the novice over fences at the zone regionals in Georgia to qualify for the Nationals. Last year, she was one of 18 riders in national competition in Los Angeles. She left California last May with a remarkable 4th place finish. In just their second season, MC’s team finished 6th overall in the region for total points, said Baumel, a former star rider at Findlay University in Ohio. The Nationals is sponsored by the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. Only the top two riders in each of the nine regions participate in the Nationals. The team is based at 2,000-acre Providence Hill Farm. Now with six members, the team is open to both men and women. Guider and other members of the team were featured when they made a visit to the Mississippi State Fair last fall. Guider, a business major, was a former star rider at Virginia Intermont College before she transferred to Mississippi College in 2007. Providence Hill Farm owner Jamie Martin, who’s been a big booster of the team for its two seasons, was delighted to learn of Guider’s outstanding performance over the weekend. “She’s very proud of her,” Baumel said Monday. Next year, MC hopes to have a bigger equestrian team. Going to the Nationals again should be a good way to attract more interest in MC’s program and enhance student recruitment, Baumel said. 44 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

Alcorn promotes Collins to Head Football Coach After receiving input and overwhelming support from Alcorn State University (ASU) senior football players, ASU President Dr. George E. Ross today announced that Earnest E. Collins, Jr. has accepted a one-year contract to serve as Head Football Coach. “Coach Collins is providing our studentathletes with much needed consistency and stability during this transitional period,” said President Ross. “I am thankful for his ability to

keep the team pulled together as a family, and am delighted he is willing to continue to lead our program. I am looking forward to a great season.” Head Football Coach Collins will be assisted this season by offensive line coach Willard Scissum; defensive coordinator Zachary S. Shay; offensive coordinator Dino J. Dawson; Quarterback coach and recruiting coordinator Michael Armour; special teams and defensive line coach Keith Majors; running backs coach Terrance D. Robinson; secondary coach Jack Phillips; and assistant defensive line coach and football operations Quentin Qualls.


Lady Statesmen finish season ranked sixth by ESPN/Coaches Poll The Delta State University women’s basketball team climbed 18 spots to finish sixth in the final USA Today ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll. National Champion Minnesota State Mankato earned all 27 first place votes in the poll, while runner-up Franklin Pierce finished second. Alaska Anchorage, who made the National Semi-Finals for the second straight season finished in third. California (Pennsylvania) and West Texas A&M rounded out the top five. The Lady Statesmen (30-7) had another stellar season after their second straight trip to

the Final Four. Ouachita Baptist was the only other Gulf South Conference representative in the poll. The Lady Tigers came in at number 25.

Delta State’s Bug Cooper named State Farm/WBCA Honorable Mention AllAmerican Delta State University point guard Sarita “Bug” Cooper, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, has been named an State Farm/Honorable Mention All-American by Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, as released by the WBCA. The honor comes on the heels of Delta State’s march back to the NCAA Division II Final Four.

Mini Ticket Plans Have Arrived!

For the first time ever, the Mississippi Braves are offering Mini Ticket Plans for the 2009 season. Visit or call the M-Braves ticket office to purchase your tickets today at 601-932-8788 or 888-Braves4

“Bug is such an exceptional player and an even better person,” said Sandra Rushing, Lady Statesmen head coach. “We would not have enjoyed the level of success we attained this year without her play. I believe she is, hands down, the best point guard in the country and is very deserving of this recognition.” Cooper guided the Lady Statesmen to a 30-7 overall record in 2008-09, while leading every level of NCAA women’s basketball in assists with 289. In 37 games and 36 starts, the Indianola native averaged 8.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game.  The super-sophomore was named to the All-Gulf South Conference West Division First Team after leading the Lady Statesmen to their fourth-straight league championship. She also garnered All-NCAA South Region Tournament honors and Second Team All-South Region accolades by Daktroniks.  The State Farm/WBCA All-America Team is nominated and selected by coaches of the WBCA.

Jackson State Football searching for Assistant Coaches The Jackson State football team is looking to fill two restricted earning coaching positions. One position will work on the offensive side of the ball, with the tight ends and offensive tackles. The other position will work on the defensive side ball, with the linebackers. Previous playing and/or coaching experience in those areas are highly recommended, but not required. Extensive computer skills, knowledge of video editing equipment and the ability to break down game film are required!! The selected candidates will have coaching, practice video and film exchange responsibilities. These individuals will also be responsible for all film breakdowns, scouting reports, editing, recruiting and other duties as assigned. Compensation for these positions is $10K for nine months (rooms/boarding is not included). Meals may be included, but are not guaranteed. Interested individuals can send their resumes and a cover letter via fax to 601-979-1950 to the attention of Coach Darrin Hayes (Defensive Coordinator). If you have questions call 601979-5834.

Photo Credit: Rick Guy/Clarion Ledger

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Mississippi’s NBA & MLB Draft Hopes By JAMES O. COVINGTON Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine As June goes, so goes the draft. Both the Major League Baseball (June 9-10) and the National Basketball Association (June 25) will hold their annual drafts, respectfully. Locally a few Mississippians could hear their names called in the MLB Draft, while Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado is the lone Magnolia state prodigy with high expectations in the NBA Draft. Varnado, a 6-10, 210-pound forward/center is a projected mid-first round pick. Several teams are interested in the shot-blocking star, with the New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, and Boston Celtics leading the way. Varnado will have several private workouts with teams this month in preparation for the draft. The NBA Draft has two rounds, compared to 50 rounds in the MLB Draft. Both are three weeks apart. Every year, Mississippi averages 8.4 players drafted in the baseball draft. This year could be a higher than normal amount of players getting drafted in the Magnolia state. Projected high MLB Draft picks, likely going rounds 2-8 are South Panola pitcher David Renfroe, Taylorsville High speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton, Ole Miss senior pitchers Scott Bittle and Ryan Buckvich, plus Rebels junior outfielder Jordan Henry. Meridian Community College products Corey Dickerson and Tyler Vick could be picked in the Top Ten rounds as well. Other names you might hear on draft day from Mississippi are Southern Miss’ James Ewing, Bo Davis, and Brian Dozier. Mississippi State slugger Connor Powers, and speedsters Grant Hogue and Jet Butler are also on scouts lists. Gulf Coast Community College southpaw Clint Dempster, South Panola first baseman/pitcher Ethan Bright, Neshoba Central hurler Donnie Tabb, Vicksburg High’s Trey Prentiss, Brookhaven Academy catcher Kolby Byrd, and Sumrall’s Jared Miller are also a few among others that may be late draftees by teams.

46 - Mississippi Sports Magazine

MSU’s Jarvis Varnado

Ole Miss Pitcher Scott Bittle

MSU’s Connor Powers

South Panola’s David Renfroe

Mississippi Sports Magazine - 47



The Power of a Dream


Yolanda Moore Columnist

usually don’t watch reality television or entertainment shows because I feel there is no value in them and they teach our children bad habits but a few nights ago I was watching the entertainment news show Extra and they showed a clip of the reality television show called Britain’s Got Talent that featured Susan Boyle, a 47-year-old contestant on the show. When she first came onto the stage and the judges asked her to tell them about herself, she told them where she was from and how old she was. Simon Cowell, one of the judges on the show asked her what was her dream and who she would like to be as successful as. Miss Boyle answered, without hesitation, “I want to be a professional singer”. She went a step further and said that she wanted to be as successful as Elaine Paige. The audience gasped as she said this because Elaine Paige (according to her website) is considered the “First Lady of British Musical Theater” It seems as if the audience was appalled that Susan would even utter the great Elaine Paige’s name let alone say that she wanted to be like her. The audience, and I am sure the rest of Britain, wrote Susan off before they even heard her sing. They looked at the way she was dressed and her age and wrote her off as another reality star wannabe. They didn’t know who she was or where she had come from. All they knew was that she had a dream. She opened her mouth and started to sing (ironically she sang the song “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical Les Misérables) and the rest, as they say, is history. Susan Boyle has become an international superstar. Her performance was posted on You Tube and has been viewed more than twenty million times. She has been featured in both British and US newspapers. She has appeared on CBS Early Show and is scheduled to make an appearance on Oprah. The world just cannot seem to get enough of Susan Boyle. At 47, Susan has become an inspiration to people all around the world. She believed in herself enough to audition for the show and when her opportunity came she was ready. She didn’t doubt herself despite the reaction she got when she walked onto that stage and said, “I want to be a professional singer” and she didn’t waiver when Simon Cowell rolled his eyes when she said she wanted to be as successful as Elaine Paige. Regardless of our perception of her, Susan Boyle knew what she had on the inside of her and she knew that if given the opportunity, she could make her dreams become a reality. I think back twelve years ago when I was trying out for the WNBA. No one thought that I would be able to make it because I had had three knee surgeries and I had just given birth to my second daughter just four months earlier. Even my former college coach (who was also my WNBA coach) didn’t think I had what it took to play at the next level. He even went so far as to have an assistant coach call me and try to deter me from coming to the Houston Comets’ tryouts. The assistant coach’s exact words were, “Yolanda, you have about a snow ball’s chance in hell of making our team”. Little did they know that I had been dreaming of playing professional basketball since I was in high school and that I was working hard each and every day in the gym and in the weight room so that I would be ready when my opportunity came. I was upset and hurt but I had a dream on the inside of me and I was not about to let someone else’s opinion of me stop me. Needless to say, I went to that tryout and I made the team. Out of more than two hundred women who tried out, I was one of only four who was chosen to fill the remaining Houston Comets’ roster spots. If I had given up or if I had believed what that assistant coach told me about my chances of making the team, I would have missed my opportunity to become a WNBA champion (a two-time WNBA champion). You see, that’s the power of a dream. It gives you hope. It keeps you going. When everything else around you seems dark and hopeless, that dream you have on the inside of you is what keeps you fighting to see another day because you never know if today is the day that you will get the chance to show everyone what you are made of. I love hearing stories like this because they give us hope that no matter what people think of you and no matter what your current circumstances are, you have the power to make your dreams come true. So, the next time someone tries to tell you that you can’t do something, go to You Tube™ and watch Susan Boyle’s performance. If that doesn’t motivate you and empower you to live your dreams then nothing else will. - MSM

Yolanda Moore is a Port Gibson, Mississippi native, former Lady Rebel basketball player, two-time WNBA Champion, author, and an independent sports college planning consultant. You can contact Yolanda for assistance or additional information at 48 - Mississippi Sports Magazine


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