Bash Brothers Blog

News, notes and stories behind the scenes.

Veterans Day and Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium

Bash Brothers Media wishes you a great Veterans Day weekend as we honor those who have served our country. Governor William Winter (U.S. Army, 86th Infantry, 1945-48) talked to BBM about how the United States’ victory in World War Two inspired the boom of Jackson in the 1950’s—with it, the construction of Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium as a landmark to honor our war veterans. “The Vet” would soon become “the college football capitol of the South.” From Winter’s interview for ‘Between the Pines, Episode Two: The Vet.’

WINTER: Those of us who came back from World War II at the end of the 1940s’ finished our education, and so many of us moved to Jackson for professional opportunities, and political opportunities in my case. The decade of the 1950s was a huge growth decade, not only for Mississippi but for the country at large. The 1950s were where we used all the momentum built up out of World War II to create really the great economic system that we have.

 Included in that, of course, was the growth of Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson had been a center of military activity … We had the Jackson Airbase here and we had Camp Shelby (Hattiesburg, Miss.) right down the road. Jackson grew tremendously during World War II because of the military activities that went on here.


Then, right after the war, we looked around and we saw a lot of things that we didn’t have. Included in those things was a good football stadium. That’s when the civic leadership and the business leadership over Jackson got together and decided to build this stadium out here, to memorialize the contributions that those who had fought in World War II presented. It was a time of pride, the early ’50s, when the stadium was conceived, 1953 when it was open, which led to so many years of progress.

“The Final Play” – John Bond remembers Mississippi State’s upset of No.1 Alabama in 1980 in Jackson

It’s #BamaWeek for the #Bulldogs! No.18 Mississippi State Football hosts No.1 Alabama Football on Saturday looking to pull off the impossible. Thirty seven years ago in Jackson, Mississippi, they did.

Mississippi State University quarterback John Bond remembers “The Final Play” of State’s famous 6-3 upset of No.1 Alabama in 1980 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

From Bond’s interview for ‘Between the Pines, Episode Two: The Vet.” See more at bashbrothersmedia.com/betweenthepines and facebook.com/bashbrothersmedia

Mississippi Friday Football 411: Head Coach Edition

Happy football Friday from Bash Brothers Media!

It’s another exciting weekend of ball for the Magnolia State. It will be the start of the high school football playoffs in some classifications, and epic season-ending rivalry games for others.

The latest installment of the #EatDirt rivalry between Rankin County neighbors Pearl and Brandon looms largest. The No.2 Pirates (11-0, 6-0) visit the surging Bulldogs (7-4, 5-1) in a de-facto Region 3 championship game — as if the rivalry stakes weren’t big enough. Early in the season, Pearl coach John Perry did a masterful job of steering the ship unscathed while his team (the defending 6A south champs) adjusted to the pressure of playing with a target. Now the Pirates are sailing: they’ve outscored their last four opponents 173-6, with three shutouts. Even with a loaded team, Perry should be considered for coach of the year honors. He’s earned the status of “elite” either way.

Down Highway 80, Brandon’s Tyler Peterson has done his own bang-up coaching job in in resurrecting the Bulldogs season. Brandon started 2-3 with a debut sophomore quarterback, Will Rogers, and without difference-making size on either side of the line. But Peterson and his offensive staff have done a great job of finding playmakers and figuring out what the Bulldogs can do well. They’ve responded with five wins in six games, highlighted by a season-high 52 points against Oak Grove. Pearl fields the fastest and arguably most ferocious defense in the state of Mississippi. Someone will have to #EatDirt.

“Thunder” Dan Mullen has built another winner in Starkville. A stout looking 16th ranked Mississippi State team takes the field against UMass in a game that should push the Bulldogs to 7-2 on the season, with the Alabama Crimson Tide rolling in the following Saturday. Per yearly custom, Mullen’s name leads the list for open college football jobs – most prominently the University of Florida, where Mullen won two national championships as offensive coordinator and his old boss at Mississippi State, Scott Stricklin, is currently athletic director.

I’m not buying the Mullen to Gainesville talk. Or at least, here’s some perspective on why it’s far from a big jump, let alone a sure thing (5:00 mark).

Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4) visits Kentucky (6-2, 3-2) with a different kind of uncertainty around its future head coach – just surely that it won’t be interim guy Matt Luke. The discussion is now about who is the right guy to raise the future Rebels back up from the NCAA rubble into SEC contention. This one’s about fit. Ole Miss needs a low-profile coach who can 1) rebuild a program, 2) win some games, and 3) be more blue-collar than star-chaser. One name I like: University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) coach Bill Clark. Years ago, Sylvester Croom cleaned up Jackie Sherrill’s mess at Mississippi State and cleared the way for Mullen to win big.

Likewise in Oxford: it will be the coach after the next one who has the opportunity to win big. Clark, or someone like him, is the hero Ole Miss needs right now.  (Pictured here to the right.)

Southern Miss (5-3, 3-2) heads to Rocky Top, where Tennessee coach Butch Jones is burning alive. Golden Eagles second year coach Jay Hopson is still looking to find his footing. USM was streaking with three straight wins but just as suddenly got derailed in a 30-12 home loss to the aforementioned UAB. (Read: Clark can flat coach). Expect an ugly, low-scoring affair; the norm under Jones, and fine for Hopson’s taste.

In the SWAC, Fred McNair’s Alcorn State Braves (5-3, 4-1) host Alabama A&M (3-5, 3-1) in a battle for first place in the Eastern division. McNair has done an impressive job again this season. Even the losses speak well: seven apiece to FBS-school Florida International (5-2) and McNeese St. (6-2), and a lone conference defeat to West juggernaut Grambling St (7-1). That’s a combined opponent record of 18-5. The Braves could go a long way to clinching another trip to the SWAC title game with a win Saturday on the Reservation.

Catch all the football talk Friday nights on thezone1059.com with “GameNight, Mississippi” and Wednesday (6-8 pm) on “The Jon Wiener Show.”

Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/bashbrothersmedia, Twitter @bashbrosmedia, Instagram @bashbrothersmedia.

Look out for another hot video vignette from our ‘Between the Pines’ content coming Sunday morning. Here’s a hint: “were you there when they beat the Bear?”

“The First One” – NFL great Deshea Townsend on South Panola’s first state championship win (1993)

South Panola great Deshea Townsend won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He starred on Saturdays in the SEC at the University of Alabama.

But quarterbacking South Panola High School to its first state title in 1993 ranks among his most prized accomplishments.

It gave South Panola High School and the Batesville community its first state championship. The game pitted the undefeated Tigers, led by future NFL-ers Towsend & linebacker Dwayne Rudd plus three other future SEC starters, against powerhouse Warren Central and all-time great running back Brian Darden. It was a star-studded, hard-hitting, big play, back-and-forth affair that many consider the greatest high school football game ever played in Mississippi.

In Townsend’s interview for ‘Between the Pines, Episode 1: The University of South Panola (USP), he remembers the ’93 championship game win.

“The Towel” – Mississippi Valley State legend Willie Totten on his famous towel, Jerry Rice, & 1980’s SWAC swagger

Remember when the SWAC had swag? In the late 1970’s and early 80’s, the famous amount of NFL talent in the conference was only equaled by the showmanship that took center stage.

No one shone brighter in either spotlight than Mississippi Valley State.

Excerpted from his interview for “Between the Pines, Episode Two: The Vet,” here is legendary Mississippi Valley St. quarterback Willie “Satellite” Totten on his famous No.10 towel, teammate Jerry Rice’s trademarks, looking good during the 1984 season, Coach Archie “Gunslinger” Cooley, and generally being SWAG-tastic.

 

Friday Flashback: Archie Beats LSU (Again) in Jackson

Archie Manning’s legend was launched on the Bayou in 1968, when he led the Ole Miss Rebels to a 27-24 comeback victory over LSU in Tiger Stadium as a sophomore starter.

Interview for ‘The Vet’

But his biggest wins as a Rebel to come wouldn’t happen in Baton Rouge or Tuscaloosa or even Oxford, but in Jackson, inside the monolith of Mississippi Memorial Stadium.

Manning’s Rebels were 7-1 in the capitol city in his career, and never lost an SEC game there.

“The big ones were in Jackson. We were good there. We felt like it was our second home and we had a great advantage with our crowd, just a great atmosphere. We were very confident when we played there,” Manning said in our interview for “The Vet.”

No win was more significant than the rematch with LSU in 1969. The Tigers were a better version of the team Manning had beaten in Baton Rouge the previous season. Led by coach Charles McClendon and All-American Tommy Casanova, the Tigers pulled into Jackson undefeated, ranked in the Top 10, with designs on a national championship.

Box: Ole Miss 26 LSU 23

“They were better in ’69. They had good players on both sides of the ball. A lot of people say that was the best team Coach McClendon ever had,” Manning said.

But Manning authored another comeback victory with two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to put Ole Miss on top 26-23. It was just enough.

“We scrambled around a lot and just kind of hung in there with them. It looked like at the end of the game they were going to march march down and score to beat us, just like we’d done (the year before), but we stopped them on fourth down,” Manning remembered. “That was a tremendous team we beat that day. Another big win in Jackson.”

Did the victorious Rebels stay in the capitol city to celebrate? You betcha.

Manning offered this tidbit with a wry grin.

“Coach (Johnny) Vaught decided to let everybody stay that night in Jackson….I don’t know. That may not have been a good idea, but everybody had a pretty good time,” Manning laughed out. “You got to enjoy your wins and celebrate when you beat somebody like LSU.”

The Grove is now the shining center of the party on Ole Miss football Saturdays, and the brimming town of Oxford plays a sublime party host at night. But there was a time when it all happened at “The Vet.” 

See more in Episode Two of ‘Between the Pines: Mississippi’s Greatest Sports Stories.”

Two for Tuesday: College Football Doubleheaders? It happened!

Excited to roll out “Two for Tuesday” from the Bash Brothers blog folks. All one of them 🙂
We like things in pairs: shoes, married couples and Twinkies top the list. But what if we had our SEC FOOTBALL games in twos? Like one right after the other, on the same day, in the same stadium?
Bonkers! But it used to happen most every Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss. And the scene was just that: bonkers.
“It was a great big party. You had people from all over Mississippi who would, and a lot of times from surrounding states who descended upon Jackson,” Rick Cleveland told us in our interviews for “The Vet. “Normally it would be Ole Miss playing in the afternoon and State at night. Jackson reveled in it. Every motel room would be booked. All the restaurants would be filled. You had lots of people that went to both games. You had people who would just set up a grill outside and cookout between games. It was just a really, really neat scene.”
It was the stage where Jackson came to be known as “the college football capitol of the South,” as Cleveland and many others described it.
It was also the setting where black players at SWAC schools had to square oppression with opportunity on the football field. The glory days of Jackson State football often played out in the second game of the night, after the still mostly all-white SEC teams had given way.
“We would always play the second game. The field would be immaculate, with the exception of the end zone. The ‘Ole Miss’ or ‘Mississippi State’ spray painted would always be wet. You go in the end zone and you come out either maroon and white or blue and white,” Tigers legend Eddie Payton, who shared a backfield with his brother Walter, remembered laughingly in our interview.
“But the opportunity to play in that stadium was worth any minor inconvenience that we had at that time. Being a segregated system, for us to get a chance to play on the same field at Memorial Stadium, that Ole Miss and State was playing on…One it was a great feeling. Two you got to be motivated. It was like, we can do the same thing  that they’re doing if given the chance. And we can do it on the same field.
“It was a step. You didn’t think about you were playing second, you’d think about, ‘I’m playing in Mississippi Memorial Stadium,'” Payton said.
Can you imagine the double-headers happening today? It’s just one of many unique elements that make The Vet the symbol and center of Mississippi’s past, present and future.
See the full story in “Between the Pines” Part Two: The Vet — coming soon.

Allow Me to Reintroduce…

“Allow me to reintroduce myself! My name is …..”

Jay Z spits these introductory lines on his legendary track “(PSA) Public Service Announcement,” then a raucous, raring beat drops that ‘Hov launches into and slaughters with aplomb.

Well, allow us to reintroduce ourselves! It’s been an exciting and eventful first year of operation at BBM. We had a successful initial four months of filming for our documentary series “Between the Pines: Mississippi’s Greatest Sports Stories.” We brought in photographers from across Mississippi plus some specialized imports for weeks of scene filming and more than 30 interviews in Mississippi and Louisiana. See behind-the-scene photos from the production here!

In February, Bash Brothers was contracted to produce the feature film for the 50th Anniversary of the Beth Israel Temple in Jackson, Miss. It was a special contribution to the Jackson community and an intense, moving process for Henry, the executive director and writer. The film is fantastic, and emotional.

 

 

Jon launched the third season of “The Golf Show” in March with more partners and rave reviews. He’s since launched two more shows at ESPN 105.9 FM The Zone, “The Jon Wiener Show” on Wednesday nights at 6 PM and “GameNight, Mississippi” Friday nights at 6 & 9 PM. He’s also been working hard on an exclusive long-form print project, coming soon! Stay tuned for the scoop 🙂

Our belief, our goal is to be a true multimedia company with different productions happening on shared platforms under the Bash Brothers brand. This is all part of growing the footprint and stepping towards that goal.

We are advancing the “Between the Pines” project at times, in stages. We are pumped to currently be back full-bore into the post-production process, and will have lots of fresh content coming soon!

Look for a new series trailer in a matter of days, if you haven’t spotted it already 🙂 We’ll also be releasing a lot of thoughtful, fun series-related stuff right here on the blog, so make sure you follow us on Twitter @bashbrosmedia and facebook.com/bashbrothersmedia to keep up!

“Fresh out the frying pan into the fire…..” Hov knows.

Bash Brothers Extends the Team

Adds local and national talent 

“We’re putting together a team worthy of contending for a championship.” Pardon us for going with the coach-speak cliches in discussing our growing team of production specialists but it’s that time of year!

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