As a golfer, Dr. Cary Middlecoff knew how to fill a cavity

They will play the United States Open Golf Championship for the 116th time later this week at storied Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. No native Mississippian has ever won the event, and that will remain the case this week. No Mississippian made the field. Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Johnny Pott, who grew up and learned to play golf on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, probably finished highest of all Mississippians by tying for ninth at Congressional in 1964. But did you know that a future Mississippi Sports Hall of...

Marchant Passes by Bill Blackwell

Up in Cleveland, MS this week they will bury Bill Marchant.  Bill of course is the former Head Baseball Coach of the Statesman and his story is legend in our state.   Bill Marchant was the son of a man in the oil business, he was born in California but raised mostly in Texas and Mississippi.  He loved baseball from an early age and despite not possessing imposing size, he was good enough to catch the eye of Boo Ferriss, the Hall of Fame Coach of the Delta State University...

Casems remember Muhammad Ali’s visits to Alcorn State

This was 1974. Betty Casem, wife of Hall of Fame football coach Marino Casem, was posing for a photo with Muhammad Ali in her living room at Alcorn State in Lorman. “We had a mirror over our fireplace,” Mrs. Casem says. “Muhammad saw his reflection in the mirror and leaned over for a better view. He said, 'Oh, I'm still pretty. Aren't I pretty, Betty? I'm still so pretty.'” Mrs. Casem, speaking by phone from her Baton Rouge home, laughs at the memory. “He was just so funny,” she says....

First guy to knock down Muhammad Ali was a Mississippian

The black and white video, from Madison Square Garden in 1962, is beyond grainy, but you can easily make out that the graceful man in white trunks is future heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. More accurately, the slender, svelte guy wearing white trunks is the man who would become Ali. On Feb. 10, 1962, the day he fought a man named Sonny Banks on national TV, Ali was still known as Cassius Clay. You can discern that the two men are about the same size and that they hit one another...

Memorial Day: A reminder of how young they were…

This is written on Memorial Day morning, the morning after it was announced that both Ole Miss and Mississippi State baseball teams will host NCAA Regionals at once for the first time ever. It is written on the day after Southern Miss's stirring 3-2 victory over tradition-rich Rice for the Conference USA Baseball Championship. Has a relay play from the outfield ever been executed more perfectly? I think not. This is written on a day when we Americans take a day off from work to remember those who sacrificed to...

Coach Wobble’s golf tournament is today; stories will be told

Today, I will play in the Ole Miss M Club's Wobble Davidson Scramble Golf Tournament at Lake Caroline. The tournament raises money for a scholarship in Coach Wobble's name. Davidson, a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer was an original. What follows is the column I wrote after his death 18 years ago... Wobble Davidson, who died Memorial Day of 1998, was an original. He was a philosopher who just happened to coach football. He possessed the vocabulary of an English professor and the delivery of a marine drill sergeant. He...

Best Miss. baseball season gives us a most unlikely scenario

This college baseball season in Mississippi has given us so much to cheer: conference championships, nationally ranked teams, splendid players and so much more. But did you ever think you would see what we saw Saturday? Mississippi State fans openly cheered an Ole Miss victory. The SEC Network showed it perfectly on split screen TV: State fans, in Starkville watching their Bulldogs on the field and the Rebels on their cellphones and portable TVs. Of course, State fans were cheering for their Diamond Dogs. But when Ole Miss got the...

Before John, Kris and Jake Mangum, there was Big John, Sr.

Posted on Categories Rick's Writings10 Comments
  I could never run as fast as Jake Mangum, nor could I hit a curve ball, but I have one thing on Mississippi State's C Spire Ferriss Trophy winner. I knew his grandfather, “Big John” Mangum. That's who I wanted to tell Jake about as we chatted prior to his winning the trophy as Mississippi's most outstanding college baseball player on the same day he was named the Southeastern Conference's most outstanding freshman. “Big John” Mangum, who died in 1994, was one of my first football heroes. He was...

Reed’s teams ran the Notre Dame Box to perfection

Legendary high school football coach Ed Reed won several championships in Mississippi and several more in Alabama. He won at small schools such as Rolling Fork and large ones such as Jackson Provine and Tuscaloosa Central. Reed won in an eccentric river town (Natchez), in the Piney Woods of Lumberton and at Picayune. He won before integration and he won after it. But there was one constant in Reed's 40 years of coaching and his nearly 300 victories, and that is this: His teams always ran out of the Notre...

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...