A hole-in-one for the (old) ages

Ted Williams, the great baseball slugger, once famously said: “By the time you know what to do, you’re too old to do it.”   Try telling that to Natchez golfer Pete Buttross, who took up golf at age 72 when his wife bought him a set of clubs upon his retirement.   One month after turning 93, Buttross made a hole-in-one, using a 5-wood to ace the difficult 132-yard seventh hole at Beau Pre Country Club. It was Buttross's third career hole-in-one, but, only his first since turning 93.  ...

We're headed into November, all tied

You've heard of a blind spot? If not, I'll give you a sample. Orley Hood has a blind spot. They are called the New Orleans Saints. I can't tell you the last time Orley forecast a Saints game correctly. His heart gets in the way of his head. That blind spot is all that keeps Big O from running away with this picks competition the way Bama keeps running away from everybody the Crimson Tide plays. If Orley could pick the Saints right, he'd be six or seven games ahead,...

Notes, quotes and you know what. . .

Back in August a certain guy who has made a living watching football for more than four decades wrote this:   If Hugh Freeze were to win five games, he ought to be Coach of the Year. If the Rebels win six, they should go ahead and commission a statue. Unfortunately, I think the Rebels are destined for 3-9. Freeze inherits a mess. This is going to take some time.   I stand corrected, but only about the record.   Freeze's Ole Miss Rebels defeated Arkansas 30-27 at Little Rock...

My man, Strib. . . a Mississippi treasure

Lafayette Stribling and me at the MHSAA State Tournament in 2010. This is a Clarion-Ledger column I wrote on Lafayette Stribling back in February, 2004, when he was coaching at Mississippi Valley State. Strib retired from Tougaloo Tuesday after a truly remarkable 55-year career in coaching. Strib is a Mississippi treasure.         ITTA BENA − Fifty−one years ago, Lafayette Stribling, the son of poor Leake County sharecroppers, graduated from Harmony Vocational High School in Carthage. He had to borrow a friend's suit for the ceremony.   He...

Ray Glier: The SEC is Goliath

Note from Rick Cleveland: Ray Glier, the hardest working sports journalist I know, will sign his book How the SEC Became Goliath Wednesday afternoon beginning at 5 p.m. at Lemuria. I've read it. SEC football fans will love it. I asked Ray to write a short essay from the book for our website and it follows....   By Ray Glier   Archie Manning knew the right question to ask Hugh Freeze in the interview process for the Ole Miss football coach. It wasn’t just what kind of offense you are...

Flip has St. Joe on the go

I see where Madison St. Joe advanced to 10-0 on the season last night, quite an achievement for Coach Flip Godfrey's Bruins. Godfrey, whom I first covered when he was at Canton Academy, can flat coach, and he has surrounded himself with an outstanding staff. Years ago, The Clarion-Ledger did a special project called “One Friday in Mississippi.” Writers were dispatched across the state to spend the day and night at high schools of all sizes. I drew Canton Academy. Flip gave me all-access, from the pep rally to the...

Happy 81st, P.W. Underwood

Happy 81st birthday to Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer P.W. "Bear" Underwood of Hattiesburg. What follows is a piece I wrote a while back for a 100th anniversary USM football program. . . The date was Oct. 17, 1970. It was a muggy day, unseasonably warm. I was an 18-year-old USM freshman writing sports for the Hattiesburg American, and I had just seen a miracle. Southern Miss, coached by second-year Golden Eagle coach P. W. “Bear” Underwood, had just stunned mighty Ole Miss 30-14 on the new artificial turf at...

Thank-you Billy Watkins, Jack Carlisle

Clarion-Ledger writer Billy Watkins, like Coach Jack Carlisle, is a Mississippi treasure. Can't tell you how many times I have picked up the newspaper, read something Billy wrote and immediately have thought, "Boy, I wish I had written that."   Billy penned the following story on Jack for Sunday's Ledger. Because of space constrictions, some of it hit the cutting room floor. What follows, thanks to Billy and his editors, is the entire version.   -- Rick Cleveland   By Billy Watkins bwatkins@clarionledger.com They trailed 40-0 at halftime, and inside...

You really couldn't make it up. . .

You spend more than half a century watching Mississippi sports, and you think you know about everything there is to know— but, as I learn every day, I don't.   Have been working on updating all the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame bios recently and am nearing the end of the alphabet. It is simply amazing the rich sports heritage we have in this relatively poor state. For instance, here are just two of the gems I learned — or learned I had forgotten —while working on the Ws today:...

Nobody could write like Grantland . . .

It is the most famous first paragraph, the lede we call it, in the history of sports journalism. Grantland Rice typed it 88 years ago after watching Notre Dame play Army. It follows:   Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at...