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Past, present DSU C Spire Conerly Trophy winners honored with reception

By December 13, 2023Athletics, Community
(L to R) Tregnel Thomas, Patrick Shegog and Josh Bright.

CLEVELAND, Miss., December 11, 2023 — Delta State University honored its three recipients of the C Spire Conerly Trophy with a reception at The Warehouse in Cleveland on Saturday afternoon. 1996 winner Tregnel Thomas of Pascagoula and 2000 winner Josh Bright of Batesville joined this year’s recipient, Patrick Shegog, also of Batesville, as members of the DSU family and the Cleveland community showed their appreciation for the trio’s accomplishments.

Statesmen have won the Conerly Trophy more times than any other non-DI university in Mississippi. DSU Athletics Director Mike Kinnison said, “It’s a great opportunity for us to get all three of our Conerly winners in the same place and recognize them and honor them. It’s not an award we take lightly when we win it. It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort and a lot of dedication from these guys, and they are such positive lights for our university. They are great role models and their careers here have just been outstanding.”

Coming on the 23rd anniversary of the Statesmen’s first NCAA DII National Football Championship, the event gave fans and friends a chance to get autographs and pictures, and to visit with the Statesmen who won Mississippi’s most prestigious football trophy. Founded and organized by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1996, the C Spire Conerly Trophy is awarded annually to Mississippi’s top college football player as determined by representatives of the state’s sports media.

Shegog said that since winning the trophy he has been inundated with well-wishes and congratulations. He said, “My phone has never blown up like it did after the ceremony. I replied to messages from the time we left Jackson until I went to sleep that night, and then when I woke up in the morning, there were even more. It was a lot, but it’s all appreciated, and I’m blessed and thankful for it. It took a few days for it to settle in – what the award meant – and to have my name attached to it.”

DSU Head Football Coach Todd Cooley said, “We are really happy and blessed to be a part of Patrick’s life. He would be the first to say that it is a team award, but he is so deserving, and we are just proud that we are associated with him and we are proud to have all of these guys back here in Cleveland today.”

Kinnison said, “It really says a lot about our football program that three different head coaches – Todd Knight, Steve Campbell and Todd Cooley – played a part in this and it’s also a tribute to and a recognition of them.”

Thomas won the first Conerly Trophy in 1996 after setting the DSU record for highest yards-per-game rushing average of 160.4. He is second and seventh on the DSU all-time yards-per-season, and second in total career yards. He said, “When I won, it was very unexpected. Competing against those Division One guys, I was very honored to win. For me, it was never about the trophies, though. It was about the love of the game. But to have that acknowledged by other people was major. And more importantly, to bring it back to the Delta – my home away from home, the place that accepted me – to have Delta State recognized was a big deal for me. It was more about that than anything. To this day, it really hasn’t sunk in.”

Bright won the Conerly Trophy in 2000, carving his name into the record books on the way to the national championship. Second all-time in career scoring and third all-time in season yardage at DSU, Bright said that he was the beneficiary of being the quarterback of a truly remarkable team. He said, “That was an unbelievable year, and an unbelievable team. Winning the national championship with those guys was amazing. The Conerly Trophy certainly wasn’t on my mind until I was announced as a finalist. We had a lot of good players, and I was just fortunate to play with those guys and have a good season. It was really fun.”

Kinnison welcomed the attendees and acknowledged the family members accompanying the trio. He said, “This gives me, as a representative of Delta State University, a chance to let the families know how much we appreciate your contribution to our university and what you have done.” To the players, he said, “The people here in this room remember all of you playing and the great seasons y’all gave us while you were here. Winning this Conerly award is really special for Delta State. Thank you for being here.”

Refreshments were provided by the Warehouse owner, Eric Kelly.

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