Cleveland headed to Mississippi Today as columnist

rick photo in payton shirt

Rick Cleveland, former executive director and current historian for the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, is headed back into sports writing full-time.

Cleveland will join the on-line news publication Mississippi Today as a sports columnist beginning Sept. 1. He will continue to write a weekly column for Mississippi newspapers syndicated through the Mississippi Press Association.

“Obviously, I have mixed emotions about leaving the MSHOF, which I believe so strongly in,” said Cleveland, who became the museum’s second executive director in April of 2012. “I am proud of the improvements we have made and extremely happy that Bill Blackwell is in place as executive director to continue preserving and promoting Mississippi’s incredible sports legacy.”

Added Cleveland: “I started my career writing sports in Mississippi at age 13 and that’s the way I want to finish my career, doing what I love and writing about what I love. I strongly believe in the mission of Mississippi Today and look forward to new challenges.”

Cleveland, long-time sports editor and columnist of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, is the most decorated sports journalist in Mississippi history, having won numerous national, regional and state sports writing awards. In 2011 he became the first sports writer to win the prestigious Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. In 2000, he won the Mississippi Press Association’s Distinguished Mississippian Award. He had been voted Mississippi’s Sports Writer of the Year a record 10 times and has authored of four books.

Ron Winford, president of the MSHOF Board of Directors said: “ When the museum lost its first and only director Michael Rubenstein in late 2011, we knew he would be difficult to replace. The opportunity to hire Rick Cleveland was a no-brainer. The museum has never been stronger. Rick is leaving it a better place than he found it. On behalf of the Board of Directors: Thank-you, Rick.”

Said Mississippi Today co-editor Fred Anklam, Jr.: “We are delighted that Rick has chosen Mississippi Today as the forum for his return as a full-time sports columnist. He has a unique perspective on sports in Mississippi. We are excited to make his columns available free at Mississippitoday.org.”

3 thoughts on “Cleveland headed to Mississippi Today as columnist”

  1. Congratulations on a wonderful career not only as a great sports writer, but as a great ambassador for the state of Mississippi! Although we don’t live in Mississippi, we have family there, and our kids went to school there. We keep close touch with the state and it’s wonderful people.
    I worked for your dad on “work study” when he was SID at Southern in the early 70’s!
    Congratulations & God Bless you and your family!
    Jack and Louise Rodriguez

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