Langston Rogers was a valuable mentor

Cowboys Camp Football

Stephen Hawkins works for the Associated Press in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, covering the Cowboys, the Mavericks, the Rangers and a lot more. He got his start as a student intern under Langston Rogers. He has not forgotten.

I still remember sitting in Langston Rogers’ office on the Ole Miss campus on a January day in 1987. I had just started my first semester in Oxford and was eager to be part of the Sports Information department. While more than willing to put me to work, he quickly told me, “I can’t pay you.”

What Langston did for me over the next 3 ½ years as a student — and really in nearly a quarter of a century since graduation — is priceless.

Langston taught me so many valuable lessons just in the example he set being fully dedicated to what he did and tirelessly doing so. If you know him, you certainly understand his nickname: “Chicken Hawk.”

I always thought I had accomplished something by getting my first real newspaper byline at age 13 or 14. Langston was 9 when he got his.

I share half of Langston’s nickname. I’ve always been called “Hawk” only because it’s a shortened version of my last name. Langston’s nickname, in contrast, is well-earned. He works with a Chicken Hawk’s pace and fervor.

When I got to Ole Miss, I had the background for writing feature stories for game programs and releases. That was only part of what I did as a student assistant under Langston, who gave me responsibilities in so many different areas and roles. And, yes, I did get on his work-study payroll those last three years.

During my time as a student under Langston, I was given the opportunity as a primary SID contact for several sports, including baseball during the transition from old Swayze Field to the now 25-year-old stadium I still see as new. I was responsible for media guides, game-day operations, interacting with coaches and players, and dealing with media and fans seeking information in the pre-Internet and pre-Twitter days.

Working the sidelines during home football games, I was linked to Langston by walkie-talkie. If you heard `SID-15’ over the P.A. at games from 1987-89, that was Langston’s cue he was trying to get in touch with me.

The summer after my junior year, Langston took several of his student SIDs to CoSIDA in Washington D.C. He was giving us a chance to make contacts since graduation wasn’t far away. What I really remember, though, was Langston with us at a toga party (I wish we could find some pictures).

One of the duties Langston gave me was writing basketball game stories for the AP. At the time, that was just one of my many tasks. Maybe Langston knew it could lead to more than that, which it has.

I went to work for The Associated Press in Jackson in the summer of 1990 after graduating from Ole Miss, and have been with the company since. I moved to Dallas-Fort Worth as an AP sports writer in 1999.

Even since moving to Texas, I am constantly around people who know and love Langston. There are former Rebel baseball players I’ve talked to in MLB clubhouses, officials from the Big 12 and other college conferences and so many Ole Miss alums in the DFW area. Those are always enjoyable conversations.

Rarely do I speak with Bo Carter, the former Mississippi State SID who now lives in the DFW area, without a story and a smile about Langston Rogers.

Even though Langston never scored a touchdown, made a game-winning basket or hit a home run for Ole Miss, he now will have a deserving place in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. He is one of the Rebel greats.

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