You really couldn't make it up. . .

You spend more than half a century watching Mississippi sports, and you think you know about everything there is to know— but, as I learn every day, I don’t.

 

Have been working on updating all the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame bios recently and am nearing the end of the alphabet. It is simply amazing the rich sports heritage we have in this relatively poor state. For instance, here are just two of the gems I learned — or learned I had forgotten —while working on the Ws today:

 

• Paul Wells, a long-dead Hall of Famer inducted way back in 1970, was the captain of the 1913 Mississippi State football team. And — and here’s a big AND — he was also at the time the world record holder in the 220-yard dash. That’s right, the world record sprinter was the Mississippi State football captain.

 

• Willye B. White, from the Delta town of Money, was a 16-year-old 10th grader in 1956 when she won the Olympic Games silver medal in the long jump at Melbourne. Sixteen! Here’s the kicker on the late Willye B. White, a marvelously warm and gracious lady: She began running and jumping and winning ribbons for her high school track team when she was a 10-year-old fourth grader.

 

You know we hear all the time about Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Archie Manning and Brett Favre — as well we should — but Mississippi’s rich sports history goes way, way back and includes a lot more than NFL heroes. Witness Paul Wells and Willye B. White.

 

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