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Only movie on my iPad — Spirit of the Marathon to have sequel

December 28th, 2011 Comments off

Spirit of the Marathon is the best documentary I have ever seen, and I have seen it so many times I can’t count. Plus, I have listened to all or part of it on every run of more than an hour for more than 18 months. So, to learn in the last couple of days that its sequel is going to be coming out in April was fantastic news.

When Dick Beardsley says, “When you cross that finish line — no matter how slow or how fast — it will change your life forever.” it pumps me up and sends chills through me every single time.

The first movie is one of the most inspirational films ever made. In fact, it’s the only movie I have downloaded on my iPad.

So, I can’t wait to see the sequel.

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For any Mississippians running in the upcoming Jan. 7 Mississippi Blues Marathon, it is a must see.

For more information, go to

What happens when you mix Okra and Gorillas?

December 9th, 2011 Comments off

Here at the Editor’s Notebook, we are Delta State football fans.

So, don’t forget that Delta State’s Fighting Okra or, if you prefer, Statesmen (or, as one of my 5-year-old son’s best friends says — FLYING YOKRA) will be playing in the national semifinals.

DSU will be on the road this week against a team with my second favorite nickname (you probably already know my favorite) — the Pitsburg (Kan.) State Gorillas.

How great is that? Makes me wonder why there are more gorillas out there. I hear the school makes a ton of money every year from jersey and apparel sales. Now that’s the 500-pound gorilla in the room (sorry, terrible pun).

Anyway, you can catch the Okra and the Gorillas at 6 p.m. Saturday on the ESPN family of channels. At my house, it will be ESPN GamePlan.

Enjoy the game and …. GO FLYING YOKRA!!!

Elvis is dead and there’s a reason Glanville isn’t in the NFL

October 3rd, 2011 4 comments

I just got an email that said former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville is coming to Jackson Wednesday to meet with city officials and business leaders to discuss the potential for a Jackson-based United Football League expansion team to participate in the 2012 season.

Former NFL coach Jerry Glanville wants to bring a half-baked pro football franchise football to Mississippi

When Glanville was in the NFL, he dressed in black and left tickets at will call for Elvis. There’s no doubt he will make some reference to Elvis while he is in town.

Folks in Mississippi need to remind Glanville that Elvis is dead and so is his football career. He was a terrible coach then, and Mississippi doesn’t need him coming to try and suck dry the local businesses he would try to con into believing he will be bringing big-time football to Mississippi.

Glanville should be told that Friday night high school football is bigger than any product he may want to bring to town.

Businesses in Mississippi should stay away from the blood-sucking tactics of this minor league sports league with characters like Glanville, who is trying to hang onto a career that wasn’t very good to begin with.

We should know better.

Since the Halloween season is upon us, Glanville and his monsters should be reminded that unaffiliated minor league sports don’t work in Mississippi, ever.

To take from an editorial in the Mississippi Business Journal a few weeks ago that Coach Glanville should read, here is a partial list of the minor league corpses left throughout the towns and cities of Mississippi.

Here is a partial list of the carcuses from the last 15 years:
Minor league hockey has come and gone — twice — in Tupelo.
Minor league hockey has come and gone — twice — in Biloxi.
Minor league hockey has come and gone in Jackson.
Minor league hockey has come and gone in Southaven.
Minor league football has come and gone — twice— in Tupelo.
Minor league baseball has come and gone in Tupelo (twice), Greenville, Meridian (twice), Booneville, Jackson (twice), Hattiesburg.
Minor league basketball has come and gone in Jackson, Tupelo, Greenville, Southaven, Hattiesburg, Biloxi and Meridian.
There is not one minor league sports team open for business today in Mississippi, except for the Mississippi Braves, which is a Double-A affiliate of the MLB Atlanta Braves.
But, Mississippians have been ready to jump at the chance that minor league baseball could harness energy and spending in their communities. The problem is almost all were dealing with independent leagues and mostly questionable business folks, who promised the stars and spun a good yarn, but, in most cases, never produced any kind of substantial business plan.

Coach Glanville, there will be no resurrection of Elvis in Mississippi.

You might want to try Kalamazoo.

The release that was sent out early Monday stated,

This week on Wednesday, October 5, former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville will visit Jackson, Mississippi, to meet with city officials and business leaders to discuss the potential for a Jackson-based United Football League expansion team to participate in the 2012 season.

Coach Glanville, who was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons (1986-1989) and Houston Oilers (1990-1993) performs an advisory role with the United Football League and is leading the league’s expansion initiative.

He will visit Jackson, MS, Salt Lake City, UT, and Chattanooga, TN, in the coming weeks to explore interest in those cities welcoming a UFL expansion team for the 2012 season. The ownership of the new team that joins the Las Vegas Locomotives, Omaha Nighthawks, Sacramento Mountain Lions and Virginia Destroyers in the UFL will have the opportunity to appoint Jerry Glanville as its head coach.

Coach Glanville is available for media interviews on Wednesday afternoon and also by phone. Please contact me if you are interested in talking to Jerry and I will look for an opening in his schedule, which is being finalized.

Coach will travel to Jackson from Sacramento, where he called the Saturday night game between the hometown Mountain Lions and Virginia Destroyers in front of 17,612 fans.

Please let me know if you require more information on the UFL including photos, logos and game footage. There is also information at www.UFL-Football.com.

About The United Football League: The UFL provides high-quality professional football during a traditional fall season while embracing innovation and fan interaction. The UFL serves its local communities with pride and dedication, and aims to provide every fan with an exciting and memorable game experience. The inaugural 2009 champion Las Vegas Locos won a second championship in 2010, lifting the William Hambrecht Trophy with a 23-20 win over the Florida Tuskers. The 2011 season kicked off on September 15 and features the Locos, Omaha Nighthawks, Sacramento Mountain Lions and Virginia Destroyers. The UFL is led by Commissioner Michael Huyghue and is funded by a consortium of private investors. For season tickets, more information and to interact with passionate football fans, please visit www.UFL-Football.com.

Mississippi State to win easy game against Memphis

August 29th, 2011 1 comment

If you are a Mississippi State football fan these days, life is pretty good.

Most college football experts believe the Bulldogs will win as many as 9 or 10 games before any SEC title game or bowl contest.

Oddsmaker Danny Sheridan even has the Bulldogs a 27 1/2 point favorite in their season opener against Memphis on Thursday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Elvis’ hometown.

Rarely has MSU’s future looked so bright. Does that mean the Bulldogs need to be taken down a notch. Probably not. … I say the Bullies win by at least 35. But what do I know? I am just the editor of a business newspaper.

Find out what the readers of the Mississippi Business Journal think.

Right out of ‘Swamp People’: Greenville gator nabbed

August 11th, 2011 Comments off

An 11-foot American Alligator was captured on the streets of Greenville …

11-foot ‘gator nabbed prowling Greenville streets

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi wildlife department sergeant and six others caught an 11-foot-alligator prowling the streets of Greenville.

Master Sgt. Hugh Johnson told The Delta Democrat-Times (http://bit.ly/ntYfBM) that a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy spotted the alligator while patrolling Wednesday morning.

The alligator was to be released at the Pearl River Wildlife Management area in Madison County.

“He’s a reminder that where there is one, there are others. This must be taken very seriously. They can hurt you,” said Johnson, who was bitten on his right thumb earlier this year by one of the reptiles.

“These animals are hungry,” said Johnson. “They will eat anything that gets in their way.”

Johnson advised residents not to feed alligators and to call authorities if they spot one.

“I can’t emphasize enough on how important it is to call someone if they spot one of these things,” he said. “They are very dangerous.”

Mississippi State, Ole Miss ready for Aggie invasion

August 11th, 2011 Comments off

An image released by the University of Mississippi shows a proposed expansion to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss. The university has announced plans to raise $150 million to build a new on-campus basketball arena and upgrade the football stadium. The first phase of the program would build a 10,000-seat basketball arena to replace Tad Smith Coliseum, a cramped facility that was built in 1966 and holds slightly more than 9,000 fans. It would also include renovating the concourse and premium seating in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

On the eve of college football taking center stage across the South, folks here in Mississippi appear on the verge of having a new team (maybe two) to pay attention to on a regular basis.
In a story that flamed up quickly last week, Ole Miss and Mississippi State could add Texas A&M to its Southeastern Conference Western Division permanent schedule as soon as next season.
The Aggies to the SEC, according to reports in multiple newspapers, appears to be picking up steam less than a month before the new, restructured Big 12 plays its first season.
Having said that, don’t expect the SEC to add the Aggies without throwing in one more to make scheduling easier. An SEC with 13 teams isn’t as tidy as one with 14. So, if A&M is brought into the fold, look for a school like Missouri to make the move, too.
I think a 16-team SEC is where the league is headed with Florida State and Clemson likely contenders to come into the league.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss look like they have been gearing up  for any potential moves.
Just last week, Ole Miss officials announced a $150 million fund raising campaign, along with plans to replace the university’s basketball facility and improve Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The University said $100 million from premium seating charges in both venues and $50 million from philanthropic donations.
In addition to the new basketball facility and football stadium improvements, plans call for creation of a Hall of Fame to showcase Ole Miss Athletics history.
Meanwhile, MSU has been working on a plan, raising funds, for expansion of Davis-Wade Stadium by 5,000 to 7,000 seats at a potential cost of $100 million.

A rendering of what Davis-Wade Stadium at Mississippi State will look like when expansion is complete.on.

A football-specific facility, which would house offices and more, would be part of the deals as would upgrades to MSU’s outdoor practice fields.
Completion could be ready in the next couple of years.
For now, it appears Mississippi’s two SEC schools are finanacially prepared to take on the added challenge of  Texas A&M and whoever else comes calling in a new-look super league.
The question left is how quickly all of this could happen.
Some reports show a deal between A&M and the SEC as imminent with the Aggies coming on board for the 2012 football season. Other reports show the deal making A&M ready for 2013.
Either way, money talks and the SEC is rarely on the short end of the stick. Landing A&M would mean millions in TV money for the league and ultimately billions if it lures the likes of FSU and Clemson down the road.
I’d be willing to bet my lunch money Georgia Tech and Tulane wish they had never left the league way back when.

New TV ad for Bill Luckett is a good one

July 19th, 2011 Comments off

If you like good, positive political advertising, check out the latest ad from Bill Luckett. … Good job.

Jackson blogger weighs in on NASCAR track

June 8th, 2011 Comments off

Interest is growing about the proposition of building a NASCAR track in Mississippi.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant has used the economic development project as part of his stump speech as he campaigns for governor.

Since I wrote a column, looking for details on what it would take to bring such a development to the Magnolia State, there has been lots of talk and discussion about the subject.

Many wonder why I would be against bringing a NASCAR or similar-type motorsports track to Mississippi. That’s not the point.

The Mississippi Business Journal is interested in the details of what it would take to make it happen.

We would be for bringing the Dallas Cowboys to Mississippi too, but we would want to know how it would be done and what Mississippi is willing to give up, financially, to make it happen.

Those type of details have not been offered. The only thing offered has been “We are for NASCAR.”

A Jackson blogger pointed that out about one of our critics today.

Bryant drafting on idea of a NASCAR track

June 6th, 2011 1 comment

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant knows every speed-loving Mississippian would support bringing NASCAR to the state, and he’s promising, as part of his campaign for governor, to help make it happen.
But there’s a big problem with that promise: Bryant can’t keep it.
There will not be a NASCAR track built in Mississippi. And even if one gets built, it’s highly unlikely NASCAR would schedule any races here.
In a recent speech in Rankin County, Bryant told a group of supporters, “We have even talked to some friends … about a NASCAR track. I’m gonna go ahead and tell you I want one. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we need a NASCAR track here in Mississippi. And I’ve got the people to come together that want to do that.”
However, motorsports insiders say that’s never going to happen.
The last track sanctioned by NASCAR was the $152-million Kentucky Speedway, which will have its first official race with the big boys in July. But it took five years and two lawsuits to get the track included in the series.
“NASCAR is looking to cut back on dates, not increase dates,” Sports Business Journal motorsports writer Tripp Mickle said. “That’s an empty promise. That’s never going to happen.”
NASCAR has been going through the same economic crisis as every other industry in the nation. It already cut purses for the Nationwide Series by 20 per cent this season, a move designed to make hosting the second-tier series a more profitable proposition for track owners. It also cut the number of races this year from 35 to 34.
But short track owners are losing money, too, and the industry is scrambling to come up with a viable solution.
Mickle estimated a new track in Mississippi could cost between $200 million and $500 million and take up to three years to build.
“Maybe you could get one of the minor series to come,” he said, “but, I don’t know.”
Even a Mississippi-born NASCAR insider, who wants a track in Mississippi, said there’s no way it will happen.
“No chance,” said former nascar.com managing editor Duane Cross, who grew up in Aberdeen. “To get up and talk about that is really not very fair.”
Promising a NASCAR track is one thing, he said, but laying out a clear set of plans and details is something else.
Bryant, for now at least, is keeping those details to himself.
Other than his comments on the campaign trail, Bryant would not respond to interview requests to detail the idea, but a statement attributed to him said he is for NASCAR in Mississippi.
That doesn’t add up. Bryant is on the campaign trail telling potential voters he wants to bring NASCAR to Mississippi, yet he doesn’t want to talk about the specifics of building what, at minimum, could be a $200-million track and breaking into the NASCAR schedule.
To get a national touring series race — Cup, Nationwide or Truck — a track must apply for a NASCAR-sanctioned license. The track must then meet minimum safety requirements.
“Even then,” Cross said, “the chances of NASCAR adding a date to the existing schedule is almost nil.”
The same is true for a local series race, like K&N Pro East or West, Whelen Modified or Whelen Southern Modified and Whelen All-American.
Cross, who is now editor of ncaa.com, said there is a better opportunity for Mississippi to get a local series track sanctioned “but the economic impact is almost minimal.”
So, is Bryant’s NASCAR talk just an attempt to get votes by misleading the public?
If it’s not and he’s serious about making this happen, his potential supporters deserve more than a weak promise built on the sands of political sentiment. Without the details, it looks a lot like Bryant is just spinning his wheels.

MC’s Eduardo a rare individual, truly kind and honest

May 9th, 2011 Comments off

If you get the opportunity, read Martin Willoughby’s column on our website about Marcelo Eduardo, who is Mississippi College’s dean of its school of business.

I won’t repeat the column here, but Eduardo was born in Lapaz, Bolivia, and found his way to Mississippi through a tennis scholarship at Delta State in Cleveland.

Marcelo and I went to school together at DSU and lived in the same dorm, Noel Hall. He was a little older than I, but we became great friends, and despite not seeing each other that often any more, I still think of him as a great friend.

There are a couple of things that stick out to me about Marcelo. First, I have never heard anyone say anything bad about him. Well, I have heard students be critical of him because he is, apparently, a tough instructor and professor. Those I know who have worked with him have told me he is the most prepared and knowledgeable professor they had ever run across.

But Marcelo is truly one of the kindest and gentlest souls you will ever run across. He is as honest as the day is long and if he says he will do something, you can write it in stone.

Now, I am sure he has his faults. We all do, but he is a great guy and deserving of the accolades he is given in Martin’s column.

He is the best tennis player I have ever seen in Mississippi, and having spent many years as a sports writer who covered professional tennis from time to time, I feel like my evaluation skills are pretty good. … If I remember correctly, as a teen, he played in the Junior Orange Bowl Tennis Championship in Miami and beat former World No. 1 and nine-time Grand Slam title winner Stephan Edberg.

He doesn’t play, really, anymore because of a bad back he has had since his days in college, but when he stopped playing tennis, he picked up golf. He became of one the best scratch golfers in Mississippi, having placed in the top 10 of the Mississippi Amateur several times.

Basically, anything that required great hand-eye coordination, he was really good at — ping pong, racquetball, badminton — seriously.

However, I have never seen him try to hit a baseball or softball.

Maybe he really sucks at that. It would be just about the only thing.

Take a look at Martin’s column, it is a good read.