Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rick Cleveland: Sports Hall of Fame honors Tyrone Keys

In baseball and horse racing, there's the Triple Crown. In hockey, three goals are a hat trick. In basketball, we have the triple double. In bowling, three strikes in a row is a turkey.

So what do we call the series of anniversaries Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Tyrone Keys is about to experience in the next few weeks?

“I call it a three-layer cake and I can't wait to eat all three layers,” Keys answered.

On Sunday, Sept. 20, in Chicago, Keys and the Bears will celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the 1985 Chicago Bears, who shuffled to an 18-1 record and a 36-point victory over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, Keys will be in Jackson at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame for the 35th anniversary of Mississippi State's landmark, 6-3 victory over Alabama and one of Bear Bryant's greatest teams.

Later in the fall, Keys and the 1975 Callaway High Chargers will celebrate the 40th anniversary of a 12-0 state championship team.

“I'm the guy with a big smile on my face this fall,” Keys said. “How fortunate can one person be to have been part of three such incredible seasons at three different levels over a 10-year period? To celebrate all three all these years later with my teammates is just an unbelievable feeling.”

Keys played a key role on all three teams:

• He was a high school All American and defensive MVP for those Callaway Chargers who won 22 straight games over two seasons.

• He forced quarterback Don Jacob's fumble on the game-saving play of State's 6-3 victory over No. 1 ranked Alabama and helped the Bulldogs win nine games after they had won only three the year before.

• Keys not only played defensive end for Buddy Ryan's fabled Bears' defense but he also played keyboards on the “Super Bowl Shuffle” recording that sold more than a million copies and also featured Walter Payton.

Keys said it is impossible to choose a favorite from among the three remarkable teams, although the fumble-causing tackle of Jacobs would surely be the most memorable play. Alabama, trailing 6-3, faced first and goal at the State 3-yard line with 22 seconds left, Keys shot past an Alabama blocker and hit Jacobs in the Bama backfield. Billy Jackson, the other defensive end, recovered the resulting fumble, causing the legendary Jack Cristil to shout over and over: “THE BULLDOGS RECOVER! THE BULLDOGS RECOVER! THE BULLDOGS RECOVER!”

In retrospect, Keys does see several similarities between the three teams.

“Number one, all three came back from adversity,” Keys said. “Our Callaway team had a bad loss to Greenwood before we started that 22-game winning streak. Southern (Miss) beat us badly (42-14) just three weeks before the Alabama game. The Miami Dolphins ruined the Bears’ perfect season in early December, but we never lost again.”

That's not all.

“I've always said that great football teams have to be great at quarterback and middle linebacker,” Keys said. “All three of those teams had that in common. At Callaway we had Roy Coleman at quarterback and Clump Taylor at middle linebacker. At State, we had John Bond and Johnny Cooks. At Chicago, we had Jimmy (McMahon) and Mike Singletary. All three teams had lots of great players, but you have to be great at those positions.”

Keys, a gentle giant who lives in Tampa but still spends a great deal of time in Jackson, has made working with challenged youth his life's calling. He says he uses lessons learned from all three of those remarkable seasons to get his teaching points across.

Says Keys, “Anything's possible if you work for it.”

And sometimes, the rewards keep coming 40, 35 and 30 years later ...


Mississippi State's landmark, 6-3 victory over Alabama will be celebrated Sept. 23 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Find details at or call 601 982-8264.


Rick Cleveland ( is executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

murrah almost beat them in 75. he blocked a field goal attempt just sticking a hand up at the line. he was a giant and a great player. i know, i was blocking him that night

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS