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Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame inducts...

Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame inducts 8 new members

By: James Bryan Harrell - August 2, 2023

Former Ole Miss linebacker Jeff Herrod receives his Hall of Fame honor.

Last week, eight of Mississippi’s greatest sports figures were honored by being inducted into the state’s Hall of Fame. 

Eight inductees joined the greatest athletes and sports figures in Mississippi’s history in the state’s Hall of Fame.

Honorees include former Ole Miss football player Jeff Herrod, former Southern Miss football player Patrick Surtain, former Jackson State football player Lewis Tillman, Magee native and former NFL player John Mangum, Greenwood native and former MLB pitcher Paul Maholm, Millsaps baseball coach Jim Page, Biloxi native and Olympic shooter Tony Rosetti, and former Ole Miss Women’s basketball player and coach Carol Ross.

Here’s a bit about what each of these inductees did during their playing careers to earn Mississippi’s highest honor:

Jeff Herrod, Ole Miss, Linebacker

Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Herrod would go down as one of the best defensive players in SEC history while at Ole Miss. He set records for the most tackles in both a game and in a season for the Rebels. In 1986, Herrod made the All-SEC first team, He also made the All-American second team in 1986 and 1987. After four seasons, Herrod was the all-time leading tackler at Ole Miss, placing second all-time in the SEC.

Jeff Herrod would go on to be selected in the 9th round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He would stay with the team until 1996, becoming a cornerstone of their defensive unit. 

Patrick Surtain Sr., Southern Mississippi, Cornerback 

Patrick Surtain Sr. played four years at Southern Mississippi. Surtain developed a reputation as one of the best cornerbacks in the country during his last two years of college, putting up big defensive numbers. This production would lead to him being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft. 

In the pros, Surtain played with the Dolphins until 2004, making three Pro Bowls while in Miami. In 2005, he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he signed a contract extension. He would finish out his career in Kansas City, retiring in 2009.

Today, Surtain Sr. coaches cornerbacks at Florida State University, while his son, Patrick Surtain Jr. is an NFL cornerback for the Denver Broncos. 

Lewis Tillman, Jackson State, Running Back

Lewis Tillman is one of the best football products to come out of Jackson State. The running back broke Walter Payton’s school record for career rushing yards. Along with that, Tillman was a two-time all-American and SWAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1987. This success on the field led to Tillman being drafted in the fourth round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. 

Tillman would spend his first five seasons of pro ball in New York, serving as running back and on special teams. Tillman would be part of the Super Bowl winning team in 1991. After New York, Tillman would go to the Chicago Bears. In Chicago, Tillman was the team’s leading rusher in 1994. After retiring from the NFL, Tillman coached at the high school and collegiate levels. 

John Mangum, Magee native, Cornerback

John Mangum was born and raised in Magee, Mississippi before going to play college football at the University of Alabama. Coming from a football family, Mangum’s father and brother both played at the professional level. Playing defensive back at Alabama, Mangum still holds the career record for passes broken up at 47. After his collegiate career was over, Mangum became a sixth round NFL Draft pick in 1990, heading to the Chicago Bears.

Mangum played for Chicago until 1998. He finished his Bears career amassing 272 tackles, five interceptions, and two forced fumbles. 

Paul Maholm, Mississippi State, Pitcher

Paul Maholm, a Greenwood native, was a three-year letterman for the Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball team. After his days in Starkville, Maholm went on to have a very successful MLB career for multiple teams. Maholm would be selected as the eighth overall pick of the 2003 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made his MLB debut for the Pirates in 2005, pitching eight shutout innings enroute to a win. 

Maholm enjoyed stretches of success and dominance with the Pirates until 2011. From there, he went on to sign deals with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Cincinnati Reds. He retired in 2015 after a successful major league career. 

Jim Page, Millsaps, Baseball Coach 

Jim Page, who is still the active baseball coach at Millsaps, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Serving as head baseball coach for the past 34 seasons, Page has posted a record of 837-577, an almost .600 winning percentage. Page is an eight-time coach of the year in the conference and sits at eighth in all-time wins among active division three coaches.

Page’s time at the helm has brought the Majors nine conference championships, eight regional berths, and one World Series appearance in 2013. 

Tony Rosetti, Biloxi, Olympic Shooter

Tony Rosetti, a Biloxi native, is a former Olympic skeet shooter. Rosetti competed at the 1972 Olympics while a student at the University of Mississippi. While he did not medal at the Olympics, he was the U.S. International Champion in 1969, 1971, and 1972.

His biggest international win came at the 1970 Europe Grand Prix. In 1995, he was inducted into the National Skeet Shooting Association Hall of Fame. 

Carol Ross, Ole Miss Women’s Basketball, Player & Coach

Carol Ross began her college basketball career as a member of the Ole Miss women’s team from 1978 to 1981. She was a four-year starter at guard, and she still holds the school record for most steals in a single season. Ross was team captain in her final two seasons, and also is one of only two Ole Miss players to record 1,000 points, 500 assists, and 250 steals in a career. 

After graduating Ole Miss in 1982, Ross began her coaching career as an assistant coach for Belhaven. From there, she became a graduate assistant at Auburn, before landing her first head coaching job at the University of Florida in 1990. She led the Gators to the Elite Eight before accepting a job as head coach at Ole Miss. In Oxford, she was SEC Coach of the Year in her first season and led the Rebels to two NCAA tournament appearances. 

About the Author(s)
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James Bryan Harrell

James Bryan Harrell writes about Mississippi sports and culture for Magnolia Tribune. JB is a native of West Point and is a senior at Vanderbilt University, where he is majoring in communications.