Alcus Smith remembered
Published 5:00 am Friday, June 27, 2003
“There’s a rag on the field!”
His Southern drawl was obvious. The booming voice of Alcus Smithechoed across Brookhaven High School’s King Field. He served aspublic address announcer for BHS football games in the 1970s andfans became well acquainted with his humorous, backwoodsdialogue.
In the late 1970s, Smith was asked to change his delivery andbecome more professional when describing what was happening on thefield. Without hesitation, Smith retired from the volunteerposition.
His departure for Heaven last Friday left another huge void tofill in Brookhaven and Lincoln County. Smith, 84, had long been afixture in the Homeseekers Paradise not only as an automobiledealer and concerned citizen but also as a devoted husband, father,grandfather and friend.
In his spare time, Smith was a zealous follower of theMississippi State Bulldogs. Although he didn’t attend MSU, he fellin love with the Bulldogs and his devotion grew stronger as theyears rolled by. When the annual MSU Alumni meetings arrived inBrookhaven, it was Smith who often gave the official welcome to thevisiting entourage.
He always made sure that the DAILY LEADER sports editor and hiswife were invited to the functions. Most importantly, he made usfeel welcome, like one of the family. He was public relationspersonified and he never met a stranger. Smith was a country boywho made good but he never outgrew his roots.
“Hey, Tom. How ya’ doing? How’s Laurie?”
Wish I had a dollar for every time he asked about my wife andfamily. He often paused for a brief lunchtime visit on his way to aKiwanis Club meeting on Wednesdays at Western Sizzlin. Smith was atall man with a big handshake and a bigger smile. He often providedpaternal encouragement for me, especially during my early days ofsportswriting.
“Don’t worry about what those (dissenters) think. Just write thetruth and everything will be okay.”
Alcus knew folks from Tupelo to Pascagoula, especiallyMississippi State supporters. He had a particular fondness forfootball and attended many MSU games over the years.
On several occasions, Laurie and I rode with Alcus and his wife,Bernice, to games in Starkville and Jackson. We would talkfootball, politics and life in general.
His future son-in-law, “Big Mike” Smith had been a terror on thegridiron at BHS in the early 1970s. Mike signed a footballscholarship with the University of Southern Mississippi where hestarred as a defensive tackle.
Alcus was proud of Mike and became a devoted follower of hisexploits, despite the USM connection. We remember a particular gamein 1973. It was homecoming in Starkville and Southern Miss wasexpected to provide the homecoming sacrifice in Coach Bob Tyler’sfirst year at State.
Southern Miss produced a shocker, battling the Bulldogs to a10-10 deadlock. Mike Smith had played well and USM fans who madethe long ride from Hattiesburg were celebrating with enthusiasm asthey left the maroon and white decorated campus.
On the long ride back to Brookhaven, Alcus didn’t grumble toomuch about the setback. “I’m real proud for Mike but I sure feelsorry for the Bulldogs.”
Alcus had compassion for his fellow man. He was a devoted FirstBaptist Church member. He usually gave the invocation at MSU alumnifunctions.
One of his best friends was country humorist Jerry Clower. Hefirst knew Jerry many years ago when he was a fertilizer salesmanfor the Mississippi Chemical Company out of Yazoo City.
When Clower passed away a few years ago, Alcus was interviewedby a Jackson television station and asked about his longtime friendfrom Amite County. He didn’t hesitate in his proclamation ofpraise. “Jerry led me to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”
What better way to remember a friend?
Today, Jerry and Alcus are probably resting alongside abeautiful pond in Heaven, doing a little catfishing and talkingabout the upcoming football season at Mississippi State.