Taking a Look At Top 10 Mississippi Sports Stories
The calendar moved over to 2022 this past weekend, so my hope is for more normalcy in the world rather than the insanity we experienced in 2020 and 2021.
Looking back on the past 12 months in the sports world, Mississippians have seen two National Championships, witnessed unbelievable feats by our state’s athletes as well as frustrating losses by our favorite teams and were saddened to lose two notable sports greats.
COVID-19 is still consuming our headlines and is likely the top sports story of the past three years. One exciting thing for 2021 was that fans were able to come back to the athletic arenas, which brought back the excitement of attending games. Unfortunately, COVID continues to threaten to take over the headlines as we begin 2022.
The Top Mississippi Sports Stories:
No. 1- Mississippi State winning the College World Series was the highlight of the 2021 Sports Year in the Magnolia State. It was the school’s first National Championship in any sport. The Bulldogs, led by the College Player of the Year Tanner Allen, brought the state something to remember.
No. 2 - The Ole Miss Rebels finished second in the SEC West and earned a bid to the Sugar Bowl. The Rebels offense was explosive and an improved defense led to the school’s first 10-win regular season in program history.
No. 3 – The Jackson State Tigers captured the SWAC Championship and were invited to the Celebration Bowl. The Tigers won with a strong defense and a ball control offense. The Tigers also put the college football world on notice by signing the nation’s top football recruit, Travis Hunter.
No. 4 - Austin Riley led the Atlanta Braves to the World Series title over the Houston Astros. The former DeSoto Central baseball star hit .303, blasted 33 home runs, drove in 107 runs, scored 91 runs and played a solid third base for the World Champs.
No. 5 – College baseball in our state is almost as popular as football. We have the proof as Mississippi State ended the season as the top ranked team in the college baseball world. Ole Miss ended play in the Arizona Super Regional and was ranked No. 13 while Southern Mississippi ended their season ranked No. 23. Delta State, Jackson State and William Carey also had great seasons.
No. 6 - Moss Point native Devin Booker won a gold medal playing for the U.S. team in the Tokyo Olympics. Booker’s Phoenix Suns lost in the NBA Finals to Milwaukee.
No. 7 – We lost a great football coach and even better man as former Southern Mississippi football coach Bobby Collins died in 2021. The Laurel native coached the Golden Eagles from 1975-81 where his coaching record was 48-30-2. The former MSU quarterback and assistant coach was also head coach at SMU where he compiled a 43-14-1 mark. Collins had only one losing season as a head coach. Also we were saddened about the loss of former Ole Miss quarterback Jim Weathersby. The Pontotoc native made his name by writing songs for Gladys Knight like the “Midnight Train to Georgia”.
No. 8 - The quarterback play of Ole Miss Rebel Matt Corral, MSU Bulldog Will Rogers and JSU Tiger Shedeur Sanders was exciting to watch this past football season. They are all winners and exceptional leaders who helped return fans to the stadiums.
No. 9 – Former Madison Central baseball player Spencer Turnbull pitched the first no-hitter in the Major League by a Mississippian. The Detroit Tigers hurler tossed his gem in May against Seattle.
No. 10 - The Ole Miss Lady Rebels’ golf team won the NCAA National Championship. All-American Julia Johnson led the Lady Rebels. Ally Ewing won the Bank of Hope LGPA Match-Play held in Las Vegas in May. It was the Fulton native’s second LPGA championship.
Dale is a Waynesboro resident who has been writing sports in Mississippi since 1973. Listen to Dale’s Brouhaha Sports Show with Marshall Wood each Tuesday at 6 p.m. on WABO FM 105.5 in the Waynesboro area. To listen to the broadcast on your computer or smart phone anywhere in the world, go to Google Chrome, go to wabo105.com and click listen live.