Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rick Cleveland : Can't we all get along?

So now we've got an Ole Miss alum coaching football at Southern Miss. And we've got a Southern Miss alum coaching football at Ole Miss. This, I think, begs the question: Can't we all get along?

First things first: Good for USM on hiring Ole Miss alum Jay Hopson to lead the black and gold. He has coached at USM before. He just completed one of the great reclamation jobs in college football at Alcorn. He knows the lay of the land. High school and junior college coaches in this state know and respect him. He will work his fanny off. My guess: He will win.

Hopson is not the first Ole Miss alum to coach at Southern Miss. Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Thad “Pie” Vann, who first brought USM football to national prominence as a small college powerhouse that knocked off the likes Alabama and Georgia, was a three-year standout and captain of the 1928 Ole Miss Rebels. Long-time USM athletic director Roland Dale, a Hall of Famer who hired so many Hall of Fame coaches, was first a standout lineman for Ole Miss before becoming one of Johnny Vaught's most trusted coaching lieutenants. Dale famously accepted the USM head football coach's job before turning it down and returning to Vaught's staff. Years later, he was back at USM as an effective and accomplished athletic director.

And Freeze is not the only USM alum who coaches football at Ole Miss. Derrick Nix, the Rebels' highly regarded running backs coach, ranks as one of the greatest players in USM football history. He was a record-smashing (and linebacker smashing) running back, a member of USM's Team of the Century and a member of the elite USM Legends Club.

Bobby Collins, who used to dominate Mississippi State (and Ole Miss) when he coached USM, played football for Mississippi State. Collins will tell you that as a player he carried the great Jackie Parker's bags at Dear Ol' State, but Collins was a fine player in his own right, both as quarterback and punter.

We have so many cases of these allegiance switches through the years here in the Magnolia State. It all goes to show something I've learned in 50 years of covering Mississippi sports: It's not about the mascots or the school colors, it's about the people.

Andy Kennedy, the winning-est basketball coach in Ole Miss history, grew up in Louisville, a fan of nearby Mississippi State. He has joked that the first cuss word he ever employed was “hell” as in “Go to hell Ole Miss.” Funny how things work out.

Hopson's father, Dr. Briggs Hopson, served two years as the president of the national Ole Miss Alumni Association. Jay was a four-year letterman at Ole Miss as a safety and an Academic All American as a senior. He also coached at Ole Miss under David Cutcliffe between two different three-year stints at USM.

The point being: A coach may change shirt colors, but he doesn't change character. The same coach can be loved and reviled by the same group of fans at different stages of his career, depending on his place of employment. Meanwhile, he's the same guy.

Hall of Famer Van Chancellor graduated from Mississippi State but was a record-setting women's basketball coach at Ole Miss before Olympic and WNBA fame. As Van would say, “Who'd a thunk it?”

Answer: Dudy Noble, that's who, the father of Mississippi State athletics. Noble attended State (then Mississippi A & M), where he earned 14 varsity letters in four sports — football, basketball, baseball and track. He graduated in 1915, but not before accounting for five touchdowns in a 65-0 victory over Ole Miss.

Now, here’s the part so hard for so many to believe. In 1917, Dudy Noble became the head football coach at The School Up North – yes, Ole Miss. Noble coached football at Ole Miss for two seasons, basketball for one and baseball for two. For the record, Noble’s two Ole Miss football teams lost both times they played State.

Noble returned to his alma mater in 1919 and remained there for the next 40 years until his retirement in 1959. He was the athletic director from 1938 until he retired.

Even though Coach Dudy spent two of the formative years of his coaching career at Ole Miss, he apparently left with no affinity for the his alma mater’s arch-rival. Noble once told a Tennessee sports writer: “I already know what hell is like. I once coached at Ole Miss.”

Yes, and Noble once owned a bird dog, a lazy mutt that refused to hunt.

Dudy Noble named him “Mr. Ole Miss.”

And so it goes...


Rick Cleveland is historian of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and a syndicated columnist.


Anonymous said...

"Begs the question" is perhaps the most often-misused expression in the English language. It actually means to avoid or skirt (beg off", if you will) the question. What you meant to say was, "invites" the question, perhaps?

Anonymous said...



begs or begging the question is a statement based on the premise that the answer is given. has nothing to do with "beg off"

it was used correctly here

Anonymous said...

10:23 English major at that School up North.

Anonymous said...

OM and Southern get along.

Word! said...

Well this is the first time I remember this happening: While the Rick Cleveland article is mildly interesting, the debate about "begs the question" is much more interesting. 10:39 is correct that 10:23's usage is incorrect, but the explanation of what is correct isn't exactly spot on as best I can tell. There is actually a website dedicated to the topic,
Beg The Question

Hope I got that part about pasting a link into a blog right!

What Happened To Paul Harvey said...

Actually the term 'spot on' (as used above by 'word') is the most over-used expression in the English language. But, it will soon be eclipsed by 'I know right'.

Eye No Write said...

"Begs the question" actually means "suggests we ask ourselves".

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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