Here's a suggestion for Hall of Fame. . .

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(Mark Doiron, right, formerly of Vicksburg, has been an Allstate agent 28 years in Madison.  He has officiated college football for 20 years. What follows is taken from a letter Doiron wrote to me. Would like to know what others think. — Rick Cleveland) Does or will the Hall ever consider selecting great high school athletes that made such a tremendous impact on a sport but never had the opportunity of continuing to further themselves on that particular sport because of finances of going to college or even maybe playing...

USM loses football great John T. Russell

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By Ken Shearer             Former Southern Miss football standout John Thomas Russell died May 3, at about 2:30 a.m. at a hospital in Austin, Texas. He was 76.          John had suffered a severe stroke on April 27. Funeral arrangements are incomplete but the funeral is expected to take place late next week in Tylertown with the burial at the family's home church cemetery near Monticello.         John and Miriam had lived in Leander, a suburb of Austin, Texas, for a number of years where he had been in the...

Sports writer turned pastor: 'Calm down'

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By Billy Turner Seriously, let's all calm down. The world as we know it didn't change this week. Culture didn't overtake Scripture as our GPS. The sun didn't stop in the sky (oh, that would be impossible, right?). However, there's no question that things blew up. Here's a sampling of the great culture wars from the past couple days when NBA player Jason Collins came out as a gay man. APPEARANCE CANCELLED In Wisconsin, former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler is out an $8,500 appearance fee after a church canceled...

Sid Salter: Bulldog Hopper's role in '42'

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By Sid Salter A Mississippi baseball manager – one with an acknowledged background that included less than progressive racial views early in his life – played a pivotal role in bringing the first black player to America’s pastime. The number one movie in America this week is “42: The Jackie Robinson Story,” a marvelous film that chronicles the iconic baseball player’s struggle to climb from the old Negro Leagues to become the first African-American to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. The movie makes note of the Mississippi...

Sid Salter on Dr. Donald W. Zacharias

By SID SALTER In life and in death, Donald W. Zacharias cast a long shadow over Mississippi State University — the school he successfully led from 1985 to 1997 — the second-longest tenure in the history of the university behind founding president Stephen D. Lee. Higher education in Mississippi has had few better friends. Long and lanky, and possessed of a lilting voice that served him well during his college days as a radio basketball announcer and disc jockey, Zacharias sought to preserve and grow MSU’s land-grant mission while expanding...

A race from Starkville to the Hall of Fame

By William "Brother" Rogers Cool Papa Bell was the fastest man ever to play baseball, and he grew up in Starkville.  His achievements, primarily in the Negro Leagues, earned his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1974.  His Hall of Fame plaque reads in part, “…Contemporaries rated him fastest man on the base paths.” Born and raised in the Oktoc community, James Bell left Starkville at the age of 19 and joined the St. Louis Stars.  He began a career in professional baseball that...

Randy Watkins chewed, briefly, on baseball

By Randy Watkins The year was 1977 and I was practicing daily on my golf game in advance of the PGA National Junior Championship to be played at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Having advanced through two different qualifying tournaments, I was excited to play in one of the biggest and most prestigious junior golf tournaments in the world. One problem: All I did from daylight till dark was hit balls, chip and putt and play as many holes as daylight allowed often finishing after dark. The exception was an...

'Doc' Woods left a Natchez track legacy

By Joey Martin Just wanted to throw in something about former Natchez track coach Henry "Doc" Woods, who died of cancer on February 9 in Dallas. Woods coached track and field for 43 years, starting out at the former Sadie V. Thompson High School before moving on to North Natchez and Natchez High. He won 19 state championships in track and field, was nominated for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and served as president of USA Track and Field. Woods is the second-most colorful coach I've ever worked with....

Last sermon on the mound. . .

By Douglas W. Shanks “Howdy Pardners, I’ve been waiting for you!” – with that booming introduction from the man himself, I was face to face with a true American legend. I was stunned at the hugeness of the man; everything was gigantic. His hands were massive. He stood at least 6’4” and he had one of the largest smiles I’d ever seen. “Ole Diz” was about to conduct his last personal tour of the Dizzy Dean Hall of Fame Museum in Wiggins, MS. For the next two hours, we walked...