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;...

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...

Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic will celebrate 20 years

The Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic, one of Mississippi's largest road races and a Magnolia State Independence Day tradition, will enjoy its 20-year anniversary July 4. A fund-raiser for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, the race is designed to be a family-friendly event with categories for all ages. The main event is a 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) walk and run. Ice-cold watermelon is available for all walkers and runners — or crawlers. The race begins at 7:30 a.m. Bolton native Calvin Smith, formerly the world's fastest human and a two-time Olympic...

Gov. William Winter will receive MSHOF’s fifth Rube Award

By Rick Cleveland Gov. William Winter, a staunch supporter of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame long before a museum even existed and a life-long supporter of the Mississippi athletics at all levels, has been selected the 2016 Rube Award winner. The Rube Award, named for the late Michael Rubenstein, is voted on by the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and is based upon one's lifetime contributions to Mississippi sports. Rubenstein was a long-time, award-winning Jackson TV sportscaster before becoming the MSHOF executive...

Five C Spire Ferriss Trophy finalists announced

Three slugging outfielders, one pitcher and another player who pitches, hits and can play a number of positions are among the five finalists for the 2016 C Spire Ferriss Trophy, which will be presented at a luncheon Monday at the Cleveland Country Club. Chosen by Major League scouts, who cover Mississippi, and by Mississippi's college coaches, the finalists include three Mississippi State players and one each from Ole Miss and Delta State. The finalists include Delta State's Will Robertson, Ole Miss's J.B. Woodman and Dakota Hudson, Reid Humphreys and Jake...

Happy 77th birthday to the great Ralph Boston of Laurel

Happy 77th birthday to the great Ralph Boston, born May 9, 1939, in Laurel, MS. What follows is a column I wrote about Ralph four years ago when he was a mere 73. ••• It was 52 years ago this week, about a month before the 1960 Rome Olympics. Ralph Boston, a Laurel farmer’s son and the youngest of 10 children, was a nobody, a largely unknown 21-year-old student at Tennessee State. Boston, at 73, well remembers the night a nobody became a big somebody. The U.S. Olympic track and...

Updated May 9: C Spire Ferriss Trophy Watch list

What follows is an updated (Monday, May 9) C Spire Ferriss Trophy watch list. The trophy will be awarded May 23 at a luncheon at the Cleveland Country Club. The Ferriss  Trophy, named for Mississippi and Major League baseball legend Boo Ferriss, goes annually to the state’s most outstanding college baseball player. Unlike the other C Spire most outstanding player awards, the media is not involved in the voting, which is done primarily by Major League Baseball scouts and college coaches, with fan voting accounting for 10 percent of the...