A Daunting Task

Posted on: January 07,2016

A Daunting Task
Bill BlackwellCropped Bill
As I take over the leadership of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, I am keenly aware of the responsibility that has been given me.  For a small and impoverished state Mississippi has produced leaders in many categories.  In the arts, music, literature and of course athletics our state has excelled.
The first two Executive Directors of the MSHOF have laid the groundwork.  Michael Rubenstein, was the original person manning this position.  A popular and well known television personality, Michael got things started in the correct direction.  Although the coffers were often limited, he set the tone of operating in a first class manner.  He is credited with starting events like the C Spire Outstanding Player banquets and making them special gatherings that people wanted to attend.  Michael along with Margaret Ferriss-White and Lulu Maness set the plan and executed it for rentals, exhibits and events.  They were a small staff but they proved hard work can be rewarding.
After Michael’s long battle with illness left a huge hole here at the Museum our Board of Directors reached out and selected Rick Cleveland the long time sports writer and editor from the Clarion-Ledger to succeed Michael.  Rick was a perfect choice, he knows more about sports in this state than anyone.  He has covered most major events statewide since he was in high school and writing for the Hattiesburg American before coming to Jackson.  He brought that knowledge and ideas of needed changes to the position.  We are now in a much stronger position than he inherited and much of his vision for the museum can be seen in the many changes we have made.  Fortunately for the staff, we will still have Rick onboard as Historian to continue to use his ideas.  That is a luxury he didn’t have when Michael passed away.
Keeping this bar of excellence up to the level that has been set will be a major undertaking but I think with the support and dedication of our small staff we can continue to strive to tell our story and educate the next generations about the impact our inductees have had on not only our state, but the nation and world.  Much of my agenda will be to build on the solid foundation that has been laid.
Thanks to our Board of Directors for selecting me and to Rick, Lulu, Andrea Patterson, Cully Turner and all our volunteers for their support, I look forward to my tenure here at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.  Please stop in to visit and see what we have to offer.

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