JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced the Induction Class of 2019 Thursday. The addition of the six new members will raise the number of those recognized to 316.
“This class shows that Mississippi continues to produce more world-class athletes per capita than any other state” according to Executive Director Bill Blackwell. “This year we honor a Major League Baseball superstar, a record setting NFL running back, an extraordinary female golfer, the National High School Football Coach of the Year, a football lineman that has waited a long time for this honor and a college star player and coach.”
Induction ceremonies for this newest class will be held August 2 and 3 of 2019 and will once again be sponsored by Laurel based Sanderson Farms and the Sanderson Farms Championship Golf Tournament.
Here is a brief summary of this year’s class listed alphabetically:
Ricky Black: Black a native of Ackerman, MS, was an outstanding athlete in high school and junior college. He matriculated at Mississippi State and began coaching soon after graduation. He has coached in both public and private schools and spent seven years as a college assistant. He has been the Head Coach at Jackson Prep since 1997 and before the start of the current season brought an overall Head Coaching record of 371-74. In 2017, after winning his team’s sixth consecutive state title he was named National Coach of the Year. He is second in career wins in Mississippi history. He is a member of the MS Community College Hall of Fame and has won numerous other Coach of the Year honors.
Rockey Felker: Born in Jackson, TN, Rockey won letters in five high school sports and received football scholarship offers from three SEC schools, but from a young age he and his dad followed Mississippi State’s teams and he accepted the offer from the Bulldogs. He led the SEC in total offense as a senior and was voted Player of the Year in 1974. Felker started coaching after graduation as an assistant under Bob Tyler at State and then traveled to Texas Tech, Memphis State, and Alabama before landing the Head Coaching position back in Starkville. When he was hired at age 33 he was the youngest Head Coach in the country. His tenure lasted from 1986 thru 1990. He worked as an assistant moving around the country in many different capacities but returned to MSU in 2002 and has served the team in several roles. He and his wife, Susan have three sons.
Cissye Gallagher: A Greenwood, MS native, Cissye was a standout athlete at Pillow Academy including playing on the boy’s golf team. She played college golf at LSU. She played one year on tour with the LPGA before injuries forced her to retire. She is a 12X winner of the Women’s State Amateur. Her first win was at age 19 and the 12thcame in 2015. Twice she has won three titles in a row, winning in 1986, 87 & 88 then again in 1997, 98, & 99. She also won two MS Junior Girls Championships and a State Senior Women’s Am in 2017. Last week she qualified for the US Women’s Senior Amateur USGA event. She has represented the state in five National USGA Women’s Team Tournaments. Her family is the First Family of Golf in Mississippi, besides Cissye, her husband Jim is a long time PGA star that has played on Ryder Cup teams, and two of her daughters both played collegiate golf. Mary Langdon at MSU and Kathleen at LSU. Her son (Thomas) works in golf at Mossy Oak in West Point and the youngest daughter Elizabeth is a freshman at MSU. Cissye has won two state titles while pregnant and has had to defeat her daughter in competition for another.
Wilbert Montgomery: Raised with a large family in Greenville, MS, Wilbert is one of four brothers who have played in the NFL. He was a track star and football player in high school. The Greenville team went 19-1 his last two years and beat Callaway of Jackson in the 1974 Capitol Bowl. At Abilene Christian University he set an NAIA record with 37 touchdowns as a freshman and scored 76 TD’s in his time at the school. Injuries and size allowed the Philadelphia Eagles to select Montgomery in the 6th round of the 1977 draft. He was a two time Pro Bowl selection and twice named All-Pro. He led the Eagles six times in rushing and held seven team rushing records when he retired. Wilbert is a member of the Eagles Hall of Fame, the Abilene Christian HOF and the College Football Hall of Fame. He served as an NFL Assistant Coach for over 20 years. The Montgomery resides in Owings, Maryland.
Roy Oswalt: from Weir, MS is one of the most highly regarded baseball players Mississippi has ever produced. Roy played quarterback and baseball in high school but was not highly recruited, choosing to play at Holmes Community College in Goodman, MS. He wanted to play at Mississippi State but when the Astros drafted him in the 23rd round of the 1996 draft he signed and began his professional career. He started slowly in short season competition and didn’t have a great deal of success until 1999. In 2000 he went 15-7 in High A and AA ball and made the USA Olympic Team that won Gold at the Sydney games. He became a 3X MLB All Star tossing 2,245 innings. His lifetime record was 163-102 with 20 complete games and eight shutouts. When he left Houston he was 2nd in wins and strikeouts in club history. He was the MVP of the 2005 National League Division Series and six times finished in the top 6 in Cy Young voting. When he signed a long-term extension with the Astros in 2006 he received a bulldozer as a signing bonus from owner Drayton McLane. Oswalt currently lives in Starkville, MS.
Richard “Possum” Price: a native of Vicksburg, MS, Price had a distinguished career at Carr Central High School and later at Ole Miss. In high school he was teammates with MSHOF Hall of Famer and Pro Football Hall of Famer Billy Shaw. Shaw credits Price with being the best lineman he ever played with. While at Ole Miss the team had a 29-3-1 record and won three straight Bowl games, twice winning the Sugar Bowl and the Gator Bowl once. Price was All SEC and 2nd team All American his senior year. He played in the 1961 Senior Bowl game lining up beside his high school teammate Shaw. Price was an 8th round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders in 1961. Ole Miss honors their best offensive lineman each year with an award named after Price. He is a member of the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame and was a winner of the Distinguished American Award by the Ole Miss Chapter of the National Football Foundation in 1994. He is a longtime resident of Columbia, MS.