New book out on Southern Miss

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 25, 2004

Mississippi college football fans are used to seeing books onthe Ole Miss Rebels and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Finally,there is a hardback book on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles calledRock Solid: Southern Miss Football.

The book was written by director of athletic broadcasting JohnW. Cox, the “Voice of the Golden Eagles”. It is 370 pages packedwith information and photographs from from Southern Miss’ humblebeginnings in 1912 up to the Conference USA championship season of2003.

Included are the exploits of legendary quarterbacks ReggieCollier and Brett Favre, tailback Sammy Winder, punter Ray Guy andcoaching greats P.W. (Bear) Underwood, Bobby Collins and currentcoach Jeff Bower.

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Obviously, Cox (and Gregg Bennett) did a lot of hard work andresearch in preparing Rock Solid. The book takes you on ayear-by-year journey of Southern Miss. Packed in the center is a16-page color photo section including game action shots of coaches,players, cheerleaders and fans. And the colorful book jacket (ingold and black) is an eye-catcher.

There is a good reference section in the back that lists all ofSouthern Miss’ lettermen, the starting lineups year-by-year, scoresfrom all the games, a bowl history, coaching records, seriesrecords versus opponents, awards and honors as well as a finalsection on team players who were drafted into the NFL.

Cox captures the atmosphere and excitement on football day andthat brings back a lot of memories for me.

I spent two wonderful years at Southern Miss from Sept. 1974through May 1976. During that time, the home football games wereplayed in either Mobile, Ala., or Jackson, Miss., due to theconstruction going on with the new M.M. Roberts Stadium (a.k.a.”The Rock”). When the stadium opened in Sept. 1976, I hadgraduated.

Over the years, I’ve had a chance to return to the campus andwatch the Golden Eagles many times, including the first-evermatchup with Jackson State in 1987. And I got to see Favre a fewtimes too.

For me, there is nothing like walking the sidelines and shootingpictures of your alma mater. It’s fun watching from the stands (orthe press box) but nothing compares to being there on the fieldduring the action.

The last time I was there I ran into a former instructor ofmine, Dr. Gene Wiggins in the press box. Wiggins, who taught mejournalism law and layout/design, was breaking in a new writer forthe school newspaper The Student Printz. It was nice tosee him again.

For those of you interested in getting your book autographed,there will be signing in Jackson on Monday,Oct. 25, beginning at5;30 p.m. at Lemuria books.

The Hattiesburg book signing will be held on Saturday, Oct. 30,at Main Street Books from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This signing willinclude former head coach Bobby Collins and Southern Miss Hall ofFamers Reggie Collier, Vic Purvis and Hamp Cook.

The book is a product of the University of Southern Mississippiand the University Press of Mississippi. There is also a forewordby Favre. The book sells for $35.

Check out the book. It’s a great way to learn more about one ofour top state universities and its football program. And if you area graduate or just a fan, it will bring back a lot of memories. Itdid for me, makes a great Christmas gift, too.