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Gray’s name belongs on gym

Devoted husband, father, administrator, teacher and coach. Addenthusiastic golfer and fisherman to that resume and you have anidea of what John R. Gray is all about. Brookhaven Academy willrecognize Gray’s 26 years of service to the school Friday eveningwhen the gymnasium is named in his honor.

Certainly, Gray deserves the tribute. He will be recognized in a6:30 p.m. ceremony prior to the Cougars’ homecoming football gamewith Porter’s Chapel of Vicksburg. Former players, students,teachers, board members and patrons are encouraged to share in thishistoric event.

Gray was hired as Brookhaven Academy headmaster in 1975. Hiswife, Marie, served as secretary, mother and volunteer sportsinformation director while devoting thousands of hours to theschool.

To say the least Coach Gray put Brookhaven Academy on the map.He inherited a tumultuous, almost shaky situation 26 years ago.Obviously, he brought maturity, wisdom and leadership to the schoolat a very critical time.

While Gray excelled as a teacher and coach, he also worked wellwith people. He loved to win and hated to lose. Most importantly,he was able to see past the immediate value of victories anddefeats during an athletic season. He was busy shaping thecharacter of youngsters while he coached them through basicfundamentals.

To say the least, Gray worked well with the media. When someirate parent would telephone this office complaining about trivialmatters as yards gained , tackles made, hits recorded, pointsscored, length of stories and headline size, Gray always came to mydefense.

“Tell them to call me and I’ll take care of it,” said Gray. Hequietly went about soothing these minor disputes. It meant lesscalls to my home and office. It also meant more peace of mind.

We were always welcome at Gray’s school. He gladly furnished usa seat at the press table for basketball games or a place in thepress box. We are eternally grateful for such kindness.

Gray was head football coach from 1975-77. He coached boysbasketball from 1976-84, leading nine consecutive teams to thestate playoffs and winning a state title in 1981. He coachedbaseball in 1987-88, winning two district championships.

An outstanding athlete himself, Gray recently was inducted intothe Mississippi College Sports Hall of Fame. He starred in baseballand basketball. Gray’s two sons, Ricky and Barry, have followed inhis footsteps as players and coaches. That makes him proud,too.

When last seen, Professor Hoopla, B.S., was oiling his 16-gaugeshotgun for a morning squirrel hunt. He dropped off his predictionsfor this weekend’s games, starting with three Thursday nightspecials.

Hinds at Co-Lin: In a hard-hitting slugfest, the Wolves win by awhisker. Co-Lin 21-20.

West Lincoln at Dexter: Hopefully, the Bulldogs are mainlythinking about the Franklinton, La., fair. Dexter 34-7.

Salem at Bogue Chitto: Wildcats are the most improved team inRegion 4-1A. The Bobcats should avoid an upset. Bogue Chitto28-18.

South Pike at Brookhaven: Eagles flex their defensive muscles onKing Field as Coach Greg Wall makes a triumphant return. South Pike21-7.

Porter’s Chapel at Brookhaven Academy: It’s a happy homecomingfor the Cougars. Brookhaven Academy 27-12.

Loyd Star at St. Andrew’s: Hornets make a long bus ride toRidgeland more enjoyable on the return trip. Loyd Star 29-8.

Enterprise at St. Aloysius: Yellow Jackets can’t afford tooverlook the flashes, especially in Vicksburg. Enterprise22-12.

McLaurin at Wesson: Cobras have selected the right opponent forhomecoming. Wesson 31-6.

Terry at Lawrence County: Make sure to purchase a corsage foryour homecoming sweetie. Lawrence County 35-10.

Simpson County at Copiah Academy: Ouch! These undefeated Cougarsdon’t take prisoners. Simpson County 42-9.

North Pike at Hazlehurst: Jaguars are shooting for a thirdstraight triumph while the Indians hope to end a 2-game losingstreak. Hazlehurst 18-17.

Parklane at Silliman Institute: It smells like an ambush inClinton, La. Silliman 27-20.

Port Gibson at McComb: Tigers tune up for the stretch run.McComb 42-12.

Southwest at Coahoma: Fresh from edging Gulf Coast 7-6, theBears invade Clarksdale Saturday for their second win of theseason. Southwest 17-6.

LSU at Mississippi State: Tigers keep life miserable for theslumping Bulldogs. LSU 32-14.

Middle Tennessee State at Ole Miss: Expect Eli Manning to playthe first half before getting ready for the homecoming dance. OleMiss 38-18.

Grambling at Jackson State: Blue Bengals score enough points tobeat the G-Men. Jackson State 38-28.

In other Magnolia State games, Alcorn State should punch PrairieView 32-7, Belhaven should clip Georgetown 21-17, Delta Stateshould sack Henderson State 28-14, Millsaps should edge DePauw17-10, McMurray should dump Mississippi College 24-13 and TexasSouthern should smash Valley State 39-12. Southern Miss has an opendate to heal its wounded.