/Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame selects its latest legends

Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame selects its latest legends

Cleveland is Mississippi Today’s sports columnist. He was also a former editor for The Clarion-Ledger and columnist for Mississippi Today. His father Ace Cleveland is a sports writer and director of sports information. Ace Cleveland was posthumously inducted into the hall in 1998. This year’s class also includes Rick Cleveland, who was named Mississippi Sportswriter of the Years 10 times. * Bob Braddy Sr. is the first full-time baseball coach at Jackson State University. He took the program from NAIA into NCAA Division I, and is the SWAC’s winningest coach. * Eugenia Conner, who coached her Harrison Central basketball team four consecutive Class 2A State championships and was a four-time All SEC player for Ole Miss. In 1994, Connor died. * Marcus Dupree was the Fiesta Bowl MVP, 1st Team All-Big Eight Conference Conference Conference and played for the Oklahoma Sooners. He later transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi. He was also a player in the USFL, NFL. * Leslie Frazier is currently the NFL’s defensive backs coach. He was an All-SWAC selection in both baseball and football at Alcorn State University. He also played for the Super Bowl XXX champion Chicago Bears. Jay Powell, a first-round Major League Baseball draft selection out of Mississippi State University, pitched in major league baseball for 11 years, including game seven for the Florida Marlins during the 1997 World Series. He is currently the Jackson Academy’s head baseball coach. Ace Cleveland warned his son against becoming a writer. After the Hall of Fame induction Thursday in Jackson, Cleveland stated that he had inspired him to pursue it. However, he tried to convince him otherwise. “He said that if your brain is sharp enough and you are talented enough to do it well, you can make lots of money doing other things.” Cleveland began his career as a sports writer in eighth grade for The Hattiesburg American. He covered low-profile high school football matches. He still writes about sports at 63 years old. People ask me all the times, “Do you ever get tired of going on games?” The simple answer to this question is no. Cleveland said that there’s always something new. Bill Blackwell, Hall of Fame executive director, stated that the entire class had an impact far beyond Mississippi. “There are national names there. Leslie Frazier was the second head football coach in the NFL to attend a historically black college. Marcus Dupree, a nationally-recognized talent who graduated from high school broke many national records. Jay Powell was a big leaguer for 11 years. Eugenia Conner was the most prominent female basketball player of her time. Bob Braddy was an athletic director and long-time coach at Jackson State. All in all, it’s an extremely deserving group.” Marcus Dupree, who is widely regarded as the greatest high school football player in Mississippi history, spoke at the Hall of Fame. He said that this award is just as much about the people who have helped him throughout his life and career as it is about him. Dupree said, “It’s my family, my grandmother, my grandparents, and my little brother in particular.” “He had cerebral palsy and I discovered he couldn’t play football. It gave me more motivation to do what I could to see his smile.” The 27-member independent committee considered this class as well as the others. Cleveland, a former executive director of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, said, “One thing that makes this so meaningful to me, is all the great coaches and players who have been nominated over the years and they are not yet in this place.” He said that now that he is in, he will do all he can to ensure some of these people are in the upcoming classes. August 4-5, 2017 will see the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.