Delta State to name stadium after long-time coach Horace McCool

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Recognition – it comes in many shapes and sizes; a simple handshake, a pat on the back or your name in lights, but there are those rare occasions when something much more meaningful is required. 

On Saturday, Oct. 6, Delta State University will recognize Horace L. McCool, one of the greatest collegiate head coaches in Mississippi football history, with the ultimate pat on the back. In a ceremony to be held during the Statesmen’s contest versus Arkansas Tech, the stadium will officially be named in McCool’s honor at Travis E. Parker Field. Through a Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning resolution, the new name of Delta State’s football facility will be Travis E. Parker Field at Horace L. McCool Stadium as of Saturday, Oct. 6. 

“I am honored beyond words,” said McCool. “Delta State has always been such an important part of my life and for over 30 years I called it home. I want to thank the University, President Dr. John Hilpert, Jeremy McClain and all of the former assistant coaches and players who made this possible.”
For nearly 10 years, Delta State has looked for a proper way to honor the Delta coaching legend. Thanks to the hard work of the McCool Stadium Committee, a group comprised of former players led by Ned Mitchell and E.E. “Butch” Caston, the plan to name the stadium after coach McCool is finally complete. 
“Coach McCool plays a valuable role in the history and tradition of Statesmen football at Delta State University,” Jeremy McClain, Director of Athletics said. “We have looked for many years at a way to properly recognize the most successful coach in our program’s history, and thanks to the work of several former players, we have found it.”

On Oct. 6, Delta State will honor coach McCool, his family, former coaches and players with a ceremony at halftime of the Arkansas Tech game. 

Horace McCool served as the head coach of the Statesmen from 1961-1973.  Over the span of those 13 seasons, the Boyle native recorded 76 wins, 48 losses and three ties. From 1961 to 1966, McCool’s teams reeled off six-straight winning seasons and an outstanding 41-15 record. His 76 wins still stand as the all-time record for a head coach at Delta State, and he still holds the distinction of being the only coach in Statesman history to have six-consecutive winning seasons as a head coach.

McCool also proved to be an outstanding leader, directing the University’s athletic programs as Director of Athletics from 1967 to 1977.  During McCool’s tenure, the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen enjoyed unparalleled successes on the field and in the classroom. The Lady Statesmen basketball team marched to three-straight national championships under head coach Margaret Wade in the mid-70’s, and the Statesmen baseball program made two-trips to the NCAA College World Series just to name a few.

In 1971, McCool played as major role in Delta State’s joining the Gulf South Conference.  At that time, the GSC was a 10-member league with universities in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. Some 36 years later, Delta State Athletics stands as the measure of success in the 15-team, six-state league with nine national titles and 31 conference championships. 

After spending 25 years serving the Department of Athletics as a coach and administrator, McCool resigned as Director of Athletics in the spring of 1978. He went on to serve the University as Physical Plant Director for several more years.

McCool is a charter member of the Delta State Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1978, Delta State presented the long-time coach and administrator with the McHardy Service Award, and in 1997 the American Football Foundation presented McCool with the prestigious Johnny Vaught Lifetime Achievement Award.

McCool played two seasons for legendary Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught from 1948-49 before transferring to Delta State.  He would receive his bachelor’s degree in Education from DSU in 1952. Two-years later, he received his master’s degree in Education from the University of Mississippi. He is married to the former Barbara Bole of Shaw. The couple has three children, one daughter Memorie Naron of Cleveland, and two sons, Mike McCool of Jacksonville, Fla., and Scott McCool of Houston, Texas. The McCool’s are also the proud grandparents of several grandchildren.

‘Great Flood’ site visited, Delta State’s Brown to present talk

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Arriving by a chauffeured limousine, Katheryn Smith and Ellis Smith, of Greenwood, recently came to Scott, Miss., near the site of the historic levee break.

The Smiths were interviewed about the “Great Flood of 1927,” by a British television production company that is filming a series of programs about the rivers of the world.
Both Smiths remember the flood vividly, as Mr. Smith served heroically as a rescue captain in the days following the levee break on April 21, 1927, bringing many flood victims from their homes to the high ground on the levee.
The television show will eventually be broadcast in both English and Welsh. The Smiths were put in contact with the production company by the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University.
Dr. Luther Brown, Director of the Center, will present a talk on “Great Flood of 1927” at Cottonlandia Museum in Greenwood at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 23. For more information, please call the Museum directly at (662) 453-0925, or Delta State’s Delta Center at (662) 846-4311.
Delta State University is currently celebrating its recently declared theme, “The Year of Delta Heritage.”

Born to Read returns to the Delta State University campus

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Frieda Quon, Instructional Resources Center Librarian, shares a book with Jackson Dennis and his dad. Two year old Jackson is the son of Melissa and Daniel Dennis of Cleveland. 

Born to Read, an early literacy story time for babies and toddlers up to age four, will make its return to the Delta State University campus.

The nine week program will run Oct. 3 to Nov. 28 every Wednesday at 10 a.m. inside the Instructional Resources Center of the Roberts-LaForge Library on the campus.Students from Delta State’s College of Education and the IRC staff members will provide the programs each week.
Born to Read is designed to promote literacy, the love of language and to spotlight for parents and caregivers the value and necessity of singing, speaking and reading to babies. The joy of sharing books and reading to babies is the greatest gift to enhance a child’s educational future.
Emergent or early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually read or write. Listening to language lays the ground work for reading.During the enjoyable experience of listening, the child is immersed in language, which is how babies learn to understand words and then to speak them.Sharing books with young children starts them on the path to language, reading and writing well before they can understand the printed word.
Additionally, a child’s brain develops at an incredible rate during the first three years of life. A child’s early experiences with language contribute to healthy brain development and lay the foundation for learning to read.Researchers agree that children are more likely to become good readers if they start school with these accomplishments:comprehend and express themselves with a wide range of words; name the letters of the alphabet; and exposure to a wide variety of literary experiences and appreciate books and stories.
Parents and caregivers are invited to bring their child to participate in the free Born to Read program. Space is limited, so please call the DSU Library, IRC at (662) 846-4345 or (662) 846-4347 to reserve your place in the program.Parking is available in the parking lot located on the south side of the Aquatic Center Swimming Pool.Participants will be issued special hang tag that should be displayed in the left rear window.The entrance of the library faces North and the back of the girls’ dormitory Cleveland Hall.Each child must be accompanied by a parent of an adult.
For more information, contact Frieda Quon, Instructional Resources Librarian, DSU Library Services at (662) 846-4347 or e-mail

Delta State to welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning poet to campus, Oct. 10

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There is an obvious distinction that comes with winning a Pulitzer Prize. Equally, there is an understandable distinction that comes in hosting a Pulitzer Prize winner on a University campus.

Delta State University will have such a distinction Wednesday, Oct. 10, as the Cleveland campus welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey for a reading inside Jobe Hall Auditorium. Immediately following the reading, Trethewey will be available for book signings.

A reception will precede the reading in the atrium of Kent Wyatt Hall from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
A native of Gulfport, this will be Trethewey’s first visit to an institution of higher learning in her native state since winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

“Professor Trethewey joins a long list of Mississippians that have won the Pulitzer Prize – everyone from William Faulkner to the staffs of ‘The Clarion Ledger’ and ‘The Biloxi Sun-Herald,’ to Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty and Beth Henley,” offered D. Allan Mitchell, assistant professor of English at Delta State and one of Trethewey’s current students. “What’s great about her is her grace and kindness. She is one of the finest teachers I have ever had, and there is no better ambassador for poetry or for Mississippi than Natasha Trethewey.”

Her most recent collection of poems, “Native Guard,” (Houghton Mifflin 2006) earned her the prestigious Pulitzer, as well as the 2007 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize.
Her first poetry collection, “Domestic Work” (Graywolf Press, 2000), won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize (selected by Rita Dove), a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.
Her follow-up collection, “Bellocq’s Ophelia” (Graywolf, 2002) received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association.
Her work has appeared in “The Best American Poetry 2000” and again in 2003, and in journals such as “Agni,” “American Poetry Review,” “Callaloo,” “Gettysburg Review,” “Kenyon Review,” “New England Review,” and “The Southern Review,” among others.
She has a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
She has taught at Auburn University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Duke University where she was the 2005-2006 Lehman Brady Joint Chair and Professor of Documentary and American Studies. Trethewey is currently the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair of Poetry at Emory University in Atlanta.
Both events are open and free to the public.

Yearly Peavine Awards announced, Ceremony set for Oct. 4

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As part of Delta State University’s “Year of Delta Heritage,” the ninth annual Peavine Awards will celebrate excellence in the Delta Blues on Thursday, Oct. 4.

According to historian Steve LaVere, founder of the Peavines, “This year’s awards will honor three Delta Bluesmen who created a unique Blues sound – John Lee Hooker, Earl Hooker and Tony Hollins.”

The celebration will be at the Grapeland Grill on Highway 61 in Cleveland, starting at 7:30 and feature live Blues by Bill “Howlin’ Mad” Perry and his Blues Band along with the awards ceremony, itself.  
To be sponsored and funded by Coopwood Communications of Cleveland, the event is free and open to the public.
John Lee Hooker was born in Clarksdale in 1917. He recorded several solo albums, and also played with Mose Allison, Albert King, Bonnie Raitt and the rock group, Canned Heat, among others.
Earl Hooker was John Lee Hooker’s cousin. He was also born in Clarksdale, but spent his childhood in Chicago before returning to Clarksdale to play with Ike Turner. His early influences included Robert Nighthawk and Sonny Boy Williamson.
The two Hookers had radically different approaches to the Blues. John Lee’s approach involved driving beat and monotonous chords while Earl Hooker specialized in the slide guitar, bending notes to sound like the human voice.
Also a native of Clarksdale, Tony Hollins was the oldest of the three, having been born in 1900. He wrote some of the music that John Lee Hooker appropriated as his own, including the famous “Crawlin’ Kingsnake Blues” and “Traveling Man Blues.”  
The Peavine Awards were founded at Delta State in 1998 to honor the memory of the Delta’s great Blues musicians. Each year since, they have remembered the work of two to three performers, with special awards for festivals and Blues researchers.
For information about this event or the Peavine Awards, please contact the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at (662) 846-4311.