Archie Manning, surely one of the most beloved athletes in Mississippi history, has been chosen to receive The Rube Award for his lifetime of contributions to sports in the Magnolia State.
Manning follows Boo Ferriss and Ben Puckett as recipients of The Rube, which is named for the late Michael Rubenstein, long-time TV sportscaster and executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
The presentation will be made at the July 25 Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet at the Jackson Hilton where six new Hall of Famers will be inducted.
“I am deeply honored to be chosen for this award, especially considering the first two men who have won it,” Manning said.
Voting for The Rube was done by the board of directors of the MSHOF.
Manning’s on-field football heroics, both for Ole Miss and in the NFL, are the stuff of legend, but he will receive The Rube for his contributions off the field — and they are legion.
He and his wife, Olivia, and their sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli have dedicated their lives to philanthropy and community service. Indeed, Archie Manning was instrumental in making the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened in 1996, a reality.
While playing in the NFL, Manning won the Byron “Whizzer” White Humanitarian Award, the Bart Starr Humanitarian Award and the Spirit of Good Sports Award from the National Sportscasters and Sports Writers Association, all for his contributions off the field. Archie and Olivia were recipients of the National Pathfinder Award for their work post-Hurricane Katrina. Archie Manning serves as Chairman of the Board of the National Football Foundation. Manning is one of 13 people chosen to serve on the College Football Playoffs selection committee.
The Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, previously announced, includes:
• Ruthie Bolton, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in basketball from McLain.
• Doug Cunningham, a former Ole Miss and NFL football running back standout from Louisville.
• Dulymus “Deuce” McAllister, the leading rusher and TD scorer in Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints history from Ludlow.
• Steve McNair, the NCAA’s all-time total offense leader and NFL MVP from Mount Olive and Alcorn.
• Calvin Smith, the world’s fastest human for more than four years from Bolton.
• Richard Wiliams, who rose from junior high volunteer coach to taking Mississippi State basketball to the Final Four. Williams was raised in Forrest and Pearl.
TV broadcaster Robin Roberts has been selected for induction but will be unable to attend the 2014 ceremonies.
The BancorpSouth Hall of Fame weekend will consist of the July 25 induction banquet, a Meet the Hall of Famers event the morning of July 26 and a Drawdown of Champions Party on the evening of the July 26. The drawdown offers a chance to win $5,000 and also tobid on silent auction items. For information or tickets, call 601 982-8264.
Rick Cleveland is a syndicated columnist and Executive Director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Museum. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.