A great day in Baldwyn, a day to remember “Babe”

Babe McCarthy marker

Cleveland
Cleveland

The late Babe McCarthy (MSHOF Class of 1974) was properly honored Thursday with a marker on Main Street in his beloved hometown of Baldwyn.

The marker overlooks the area about a block away where his daddy operated a cotton gin.

The Babe was a self-made coach, who grew up in basketball country and became one of America’s greatest basketball coaches. He coached his hometown Baldwyn team to a state championship, later coached briefly at a Tupelo junior high and then was hired by Hall of Famer Dudy Noble to coach Mississippi State. The result was a remarkable piece of Magnolia State sports history.

Babe went head-to-head with Kentucky’s fabled Adolph Rupp and won more than

Babe McCarthy
Babe McCarthy

his share, taking the Bulldogs to four SEC Championships and eventually the NCAA Tournament in 1963 when McCarthy and Mississippi State defied Mississippi state government and played against an integrated Loyola team.

Many of Babe’s former players, including the great Bailey Howell and Kermit Davis, were on hand Thursday. So was Kyle Veazey, author of Champions for Change, which documented McCarthy’s courage in 1963.

It was a beautiful fall day in Baldwyn, a day to remember.

For more about Babe and Baldwyn, click here.

Babe grave
Babe’s modest grave site, less than a mile from the new historic marker, lies, partly shaded by a mimosa tree, and beside the graves of his mother and father. As you see, he died at the too- young age of 51.

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