Long-time, award winning sports journalist Rick Cleveland was named today as the new executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
Cleveland, 59, succeeds the late Michael Rubenstein, the museum’s only previous director.
“We think Rick is the perfect fit,” said Oscar Miskelly, chairman of the museum’s board of directors. “Nobody has a deeper knowledge of the history of Mississippi sports. Nobody has more contacts in the sports world. This is a home run for all involved.”
Cleveland, a Hattiesburg native, has spent the last 33 years in the newspaper business, where his columns have won numerous state, regional and national awards.
“Readers know that I am passionate about Mississippi’s incredibly rich sports history,” Cleveland said. “I have written about most of the athletes and coaches who are in the Hall of Fame and I have covered scores more who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the years to come.
“Nobody knows more than I how big the shoes are that I am going to try to fill. Michael was a dear friend. I intend to pick up where he left off. Both Michael and I were involved in the museum before the foundation was laid. This place is dear to my heart.”
Cleveland’s retirement from the newspaper profession is effective April 13. He begins his new job May 1. Cleveland’s late father, Robert H. “Ace” Cleveland, a long-time sports writer and sports publicist, was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1998