Here, we knew Favre first, before we could spell his name

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In Mississippi, we knew Brett Favre long before he started an NFL record 321 consecutive games, long before he threw 508 NFL touchdowns, and long before he threw for nearly 72,000 yards. We knew No. 4 before became a three-time NFL MVP, before he was an 11-time Pro Bowler, before he played through injuries that would have required hospital care for normal humans, and before he was generally recognized as the toughest hombre in sports. We knew The Gunslinger before he made a difficult recovery from painkiller addiction, before he...

Replay: Recalling 1999 Egg Bowl, Sirmones’ big moment

Former Mississippi State tight end C.J. Sirmones was shot and killed July 26 in Lawrence County, Tenn. State fans best remember Sirmones for his game-tying catch against Ole Miss in the 1999 Egg Bowl. A reader asked if I could post my column from the next day's newspaper. From the Nov. 26, 1999 Clarion-Ledger. STARKVILLE - You never count them out. Never. Not these Bulldogs. Down by 13 at Auburn with just over two minutes to play? No problem. Down by six to LSU with under two minutes left? No...

RIP: Billy Turner, journalist, Methodist preacher, friend

GRETNA, La. — At Billy Turner's Memorial Service today, preachers spoke eloquently of his passion for Jesus Christ, his family, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Braves – in pretty much that order. They could also have talked about his passion for high school football, newspapers, music and good storytelling. Billy was passionate about all those, as well. Billy Turner was a sports journalist turned Methodist preacher. He poured his soul into both occupations. When he left newspapers, his writing ability and command of the language surely helped him...

“Wee Willie” Heidelburg was USM’s 143-pound giant

This is the last of a six-part series about the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2016. JACKSON — Forty-six years have passed since Wee Willie Heidelburg jitterbugged into the end zone twice to help 50-point underdog Southern Miss defeat undefeated Ole Miss and Archie Manning 30-14 on the then-brand new Astroturf at Oxford. Young football fans today could scarcely imagine the scene that day. The crowd was all-white. The cheerleaders were all-white. The bands were all-white. The coaching staffs were all white. The players were all Caucasian, as...

Larry Smith: He epitomized Dave Whitney’s Alcorn Braves

Off the basketball court, Larry Smith is one of the nicest, most polite, and unassuming guys you would ever want to meet. On the floor, when he played for the Alcorn State Braves and with three teams in the NBA, Smith took on a different personality, entirely. “Mr. Mean,” was the nickname given to Smith as a freshman at Alcorn State by then-Alcorn sports information director Gus Howard. “Gus said every time he looked at me on the court I never smiled,” Smith says. “He said I always had a...

Kay James, a Hall of Fame coach, won big, made it fun

This is the fourth in a series about the inductees into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016. The record shows that Kay James won 403 games in 22 seasons (1977-99) as women's basketball coach at Southern Miss. She ranks in the top 25 all-time nationally among NCAA Division I coaches in victories and guided the Lady Eagles to 10 post-season bids. But even those gaudy statistics do not tell the story of her impact on Southern Miss or women's basketball — and certainly not on her players....

Wesley Walls, a rugged, five-time Pro Bowler, heads to Hall

Former Ole Miss All-American Wesley Walls, one of the last, great-two-way players in college football history and a five-time Pro Bowler in the National Football League, goes into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night. “I am humbled,” Walls said. “When you think about all the great athletes who have played sports in Mississippi and realize you are recognized as one of the elite, it is truly humbling.” Walls, from Pontotoc, was a high school quarterback and fullback but became a highly productive defensive end and tight end at...

Healthplex to host prep football media event Thursday

The Jackson Touchdown Club Presented by C Spire and the Madison Healthplex Performance Center will co-sponsor and host a special High School Football Metro Area Media Night Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the Madison Healthplex Performance Center. Eight area high school football coaches and many of their players will be present. Each will provide an overview of their team's prospects and will be available for individual intervies. Coaches expected to attend include: Tyler Peterson, Brandon; Judd Boswell, Clinton; Tim Shramek, Germantown; Anthony Hart, Madison Central; Toby Collumn, Northwest Rankin;...

Jackie Sherrill proud to be going into Mississippi shrine

This is the second of a series of stories about the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame's inductees for the Class of 2016. Jackie Sherrill was born in Duncan, Okla., but he spent his formative years in Biloxi and, much later, coached the Mississippi State football Bulldogs for 13 seasons. He knows much about the Magnolia State's storied sports history. And that's why it means so much for him to be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. “When you look at the athletes this small state has produced, it's...

Millsaps’ Sean Brewer follows father into MSHOF

(This is the first of a series of stories on the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016, which will be inducted in ceremonies Saturday night, July 30, at the Jackson Convention Complex. See below for ticket information.) The so-called football factories contributed by far the most to the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015. No surprise there. You had superstars such as Ricky Williams of Texas, Brian Bosworth of Oklahoma, Trev Alberts of Nebraska and Wes Chandler of Florida… And right there, right in the middle...