Kent Hull Award Sessums’ art featured in trophy

PHOTO SUBMITTED/ Dr. Kim Sessums is seen with the clay sculpture he was commissioned by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame to do in honor of Mississippi State and NFL great Kent Hull.

PHOTO SUBMITTED/ Dr. Kim Sessums is seen with the clay sculpture he was commissioned by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame to do in honor of Mississippi State and NFL great Kent Hull.

If you know Dr. Kim Sessums through his office, Brookhaven OB-GYN Associates, you know of a caring professional physician with your best health in mind.

But, Sessums has a whole other life as a renowned Mississippi artist sought out for his incredible ability to create life in motion out of clay and bronze.

His latest sculpture of standout Mississippi football player Kent Hull was commissioned by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and is the fourth sculpture of athletic greats from Mississippi that Sessums has done for the museum.

The sculpture, which was presented Tuesday in Jackson at a tribute banquet for the late Hull, depicts the Greenwood native and honors him as a star football player for Mississippi State and a player in the NFL for 11 seasons as a Buffalo Bills great.

The trophy is called the Kent Hull Award. Hull died in October 2011 at the age of 50 from jaw cancer.

An original bronze sculpture, created from Sessums’ clay work, will be presented each year to the top collegiate offensive lineman in Mississippi during the C-Spire Conerly Trophy Banquet. The first presentation of the Kent Hull Award will be Dec. 3.

Sessums said he got started with the sports museum through another local artist, the late Bruce Bratty, who Sessums credits with getting him started in sculpture.

“We served on the Trustmark board together, and he was familiar with my work,” Sessums recalled. “He said I was a sculptor hiding behind my drawings.”

Bratty had done sculpture work with the sports museum and it was after he died that Bratty’s widow referred the museum to Sessums who has been commissioned on three other projects prior to getting this commission for the Hull Trophy.

Sessums said the sculpture presented at the event on Tuesday is the original clay model that will serve as the “mother-mold” for the bronze statues to be created each year. Sessums said his research for the Hull figure is what gave the sculpture emotional impact with those who came to see it at Tuesday’s event.

“I came up with the design after talking extensively with Kent’s widow Kay,” Sessums said. “We talked a lot about his career and who he was as a person. We did the sculpture with him playing center – where he was known for snapping the ball. We think it captured his physical demeanor.”

Sessums said he and Kay Hull also talked about Kent’s life as an athlete, a father and an advocate for children with life-threatening diseases, and he believes these aspects of Kent’s life found their way into the clay.

“Many of the people that saw the clay sculpture last night were saying, ‘That’s Kent, that’s not just some football player, that is Kent.’ It was a huge compliment to me, and what I think his family appreciates is that I wanted to make sure I understood him as a person.

“I think it meant more to her that I was interested in who he was as a person – a man balancing home and an athletic career,” Sessums continued. “He was a man who did a lot work with children after his football career – he did a lot of work with Blair Batson Children’s Hospital.”

The physical attributes Sessums gave the sculpture were far more methodical and what one might expect of the scientific mind of a doctor.

“I took information of his physical attributes,” Sessums explained, “his height, weight and other physical measurements – and his wife brought me his helmet and his shoes.”

“Everyone is saying the sculpture is a good reflection of Kent Hull,” Sessums said, “because of the details of the uniform and Hull’s physical presence.”

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