Roy Curry, Jimmy Orr remember Willie Richardson

Willie Richardson and Roy Curry were first opponents, then teammates and forever friends. Curry, a Clarksdale native who has lived in Chicago for half a century, loaded up a car Thursday to drive to Jackson to help celebrate the life of Richardson, who died Monday at age 76. “When the Lord wants you, he's going to take you,” Curry said by phone Wednesday night. “That's all there is to it, but I'm here to tell you the Lord took a great man from us this week. Willie Richardson was one...

RIP: Willie Richardson, a Hall of Fame athlete and gentleman

Willie Richardson, a former All-Pro and Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Baltimore Colts and a 1979 inductee into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, has died from natural causes, according to the Hinds County Coroner's office. He was 76. Richardson, a Greenville native and one of Jackson State's all-time football greats, caught passes from Johnny Unitas and was coached by Don Shula. He caught five passes in the Colts' loss to Joe Namath and the New York Jets in Super Bowl III, one of the most famous games in...

We’ve had lots of cross-pollination in Mississippi sports

So now we've got an Ole Miss alum coaching football at Southern Miss. And we've got a Southern Miss alum coaching football at Ole Miss. This, I think, begs the question: Can't we all get along? First things first: Good for USM on hiring Ole Miss alum Jay Hopson to lead the black and gold. He has coached at USM before. He just completed one of the great reclamation jobs in college football at Alcorn. He knows the lay of the land. High school and junior college coaches in this...

A good thing comes to Fred McNair, a Brave who waited

Hall of Famer Willie Richardson, as Blue as a Jackson State Bengal can be, was not the first guy I expected to see at an Alcorn State press conference to announce Fred McNair as the school's new football coach. But there Willie Richardson was waiting in line to shake McNair's hand. “Why am I here?” Richardon asked rhetorically. “I'll tell you, I've known Fred for years. He's a good guy, a really good guy. And here's the thing, so many times people never get the opportunity they deserve. Life can...

Hopson gets a Hall of Fame approval from Jeff Bower

HATTIESBURG— Clearly, Jeff Bower approved. Bower, seated on the second row at a packed-house press conference-turned-pep rally, became emotional as Jay Hopson was introduced as the new head football coach at Southern Miss. Bower stood and applauded and smiled through tearing eyes as Hopson approached the podium. A few seconds into his opening remarks Hopson deflected credit to Bower. “That standing ovation should be for Jeff Bower,” Hopson said. “He taught me so much...he's an integral part of everything I know about coaching.” Hopson served for six years under Bower,...

It’s a much deserved Spoon Night at Green Coliseum tonight

Southern Miss had just been defeated by North Carolina State in the first round of an NCAA Tournament game at College Park, Md. It was the last game of Clarence Weatherpoon's college basketball career. I don't remember how many points he scored, but it was a bunch. I don't remember how many rebounds he got, but they were plenty, too. I remember that USM lost handily in spite of Spoon's remarkable efforts. But here's what I do remember most. None of the Mississippi media contingent could file their stories or...

Two legends — Bert Case on Michael Rubenstein

Back in 2012 we wanted to make a film tribute in honor of the late Michael Rubenstein. I wrote the script. And there was only one voice I wanted to do the narration. There was never a doubt. It had to be Bert Case. I called Bert. He said he would be honored. He did it in one take. And it was perfect. Bert Case was my friend. He was a great friend to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. He was the first guy to interview me...

A Job Well Done!

A Job Well Done By Bill Blackwell I am sure that many USM fans are worried about their football program after the announcement over this past weekend that Head Coach Todd Monken had taken an NFL position as the Offensive Coordinator for Tampa Bay. While the timing could hardly be worse with National Signing Day just around the corner, Golden Eagle fans should take heart from the strong foundation that Monken built in just three years on the job. Inheriting a team that had been winless and working tirelessly to...

When golf is far more than a game and saves lives

We are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at University of Mississippi Medical Center. Tiny, tiny babies are everywhere you look. This day, there are 80 of them, from all over the state, and most are crying. That's a good thing, a doctor tells me. Crying is good. You worry, she says, when they don't cry. Many of these infants were born prematurely. Some are terribly ill. Some have heart defects. Some have neurological problems. Many are fighting for their lives. Most importantly, lives are being saved. There's plenty...

Stories abound at celebration of H.G. Weddington’s life

Hundreds attended the funeral of Hall of Famer Hunter George Weddington Friday morning at First Presybterian Church in Meridian, including a virtual Who's Who of Mississippi golf. Earlier Friday, the funeral hearse, Weddington aboard,  made one last trip around the Northwood Country Club course Weddington played thousands of times. It has been said that the best funerals are actually celebrations of deceased person's life. This one was. So many more stories were told of H.G.'s golfing career before, during and after the services. One I had never heard was this...