A Hall of Fame Weekend | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

A Hall of Fame Weekend

This weekend the MS Hall of Fame inducted six new members: Will Clark, Jennifer Gillom, Coach Paul Covington, Reggie Collier, Hill Denson, and Coolidge Ball. In a time when athletes are constantly embroiled in one sort of controversy or another, it was refreshing to see a sports event where everything anyone had to say was complimentary and laudable. Just days after the MLB trade deadline's headlines about Manny Ramirez's trade as result of his refusal to play for his club, this weekend was about celebrating those who were always willing to step up, period. In a time where athletes agonize over the to retire or not to retire question, Will Clark quietly retired at the end of one of his best seasons in the pros. Before an Olympics begins where the media is sure to constantly be talking just as much about the Chinese's ability to run the games, Jennifer Gillom - gold medal-winner 1988 - has only good things to say about her honors at the Olympics. In an era where coaches can be just as big drama queens as their players, Paul Covington and Hill Denson always just wanted to coach for the sake of coaching and for the sake of their players. Denson still loves coaching at Belhaven as much as he did fifteen years ago at Southern. Covington says he still finds time to stop by practices, just for the atmosphere. While players today sometimes complain about having to wait a year before NBA eligibility kicks in after high school, Coolidge Ball just wanted to play ball - even if that meant being the first African-American to earn a basketball scholarship from Ole Miss. Finally, when any professional athlete seems obsessed with immortality, Reggie Collier couldn't be more thrilled to have earned his place in history, as a Hall of Fame inductee and with the retirement of his jersey at USM. Truly, the contributions and legacies of these six Hall-of-Famers are still relevant and will always be praise-worthy.

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