Bold moves pay off for Sanderson Farms golf

  JACKSON — Forty-seven years ago, a few Hattiesburg businessmen got together and hosted an experimental PGA Tour satellite tournament. They called it the Magnolia Classic. The total purse was $20,000. Those Hattiesburg folks never could have imagined what happened here the past few days. Here on a cool, breezy, sun-splashed Sunday at Country Club of Jackson, the $4 million Sanderson Farms Championship, a full-fledged, PGA Tour event, experienced perhaps its showcase day in the event's 47-year history. With an international TV audience viewing on The Golf Channel, 26-year-old Canadian...

No easy fixes at Southern Miss…

I watched Southern Miss play FIU Saturday and lose its 17th straight game. During and afterward, people kept asking: What is wrong? How can this have happened to such a proud program? So, what's wrong? Just about everything. In general, there is a lack of team speed. Some of the best players are hurt, and there are not enough quality players, not nearly enough playmakers. FIU, supposedly the worst team in the nation, won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. And still USM had a chance...

Wilbert Jordan: He was a basketball pioneer

  Wilbert Jordan was the first. He was before Willie Heidelburg at Southern Miss, before Ben Williams and Coolidge Ball at Ole Miss, before Frank Dowsing and Larry Fry at Mississippi State. Jordan, who died March 14 at the age of 62 of an apparent heart attack, was the first African American to play a varsity sport at one of Mississippi's historically white Division I universities. Jordan was recruited from Waynesboro by Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Lee Floyd to play basketball at USM in 1968. “I remember it very...

Happy birthday Bobby Crespino, and thanks

Funny the way your mind works. Fifty-two years ago this month I saw the first football play that registers in my mind. I was eight years old at the time, and had seen plenty of football, but this is the first play I vividly remember. Maybe it was because it was seen from the sidelines at Ladd Memorial Stadium in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. And, maybe, it was because it was just so magnificent. My dad had arranged for my brother and me to be managers for the North...

Bama: Now that was impressive. . .

Hard to say to say what is more impressive: • The last four college football National Champions (3 Bama, 1 Auburn) all have been from that state just the other side of Meridian. • The last seven National Champions are all from the SEC. • Five of the top 10 teams in the final Associated Press are from the SEC. • In the last eight years he has coached college football, Nick Saban has won four National Championships. • Alabama, in trouncing previously undefeated and top-ranked Notre Dame 42-14, treated...

Seahawks' QB Wilson has Mississippi roots

OK, so you saw Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson lead his team to a 24-14 road victory over Washington and Robert Griffin III and into the second round of the NFL playoffs. Right? You saw Wilson pass for 187 yards and run for 84 more without a turnover. Right? But did you see Wilson blow past Marshawn Lynch to throw a downfield block on Lynch's 27-yard touchdown run? Wilson made the other players, including Lynch, look like they were standing still. Wilson's magnificent performance might get lost in all...

A splendid night at the Hall of Fame

We had a splendid night at the museum last night, remembering Babe McCarthy's great Mississippi State basketball teams of the late '50s and early '60s. Author Kyle Veazey joined Bailey Howell, Doug Hutton, Larry Lee and me on a panel. We had a museum full of folks who seemed to hang on every word. The stars of the show weren't here: the great Babe and Dr. Dean Colvard, the president of Mississippi State who defied the state's unwritten law of competing against integrated teams. Both McCarthy and Colvard surely would...

Happy Birthday, Jack!

(Writer's note: Jack Cristil celebrates his 87th birthday today.  I wrote this column the day Jack Cristil announced his retirement in February of 2011.) Doesn't matter which university you pulled for, you listened to Cristil. You listened because he put you there, in the stadium. We knew Jack Cristil couldn't go on forever. Here lately, he has sounded tired, worn out - certainly not himself. So maybe Wednesday's news that Cristil is stepping down after 58 years as the voice of Mississippi State University's football team and 54 years calling...

A visit to Ol' Diz

BOND — The cemetery is modest, perhaps the size of a football field, surrounded by a chain link fence. It's out from Bond, which is out from Wiggins, about 28 miles south of Hattiesburg. Here, Jay Hannah “Dizzy” Dean rests side by side with his wife, Pat, in the morning shade of a cypress tree. You turn off Highway 49 onto a country road, and turn off that country road onto a bumpier country road. You drive through a blue-collar area where the folks don't appear to have much. Knowing...

History — and hoops — at your museum

If you are a sports and/or history buff, you won’t want to miss this evening's  at your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Here’s why: We are approaching the 50th anniversary of Mississippi State’s first game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament when Babe McCarthy’s ballclub defied the wishes of state government and played Loyola of Chicago. Author Kyle Veazey, who wrote Champions for Change, the story of that 1963 team and game, will be on hand to sign his book beginning at 5 p.m. Then, at 6:30, Veazey will...