Cleveland to add weekly column

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Renowned Mississippi sports writer Rick Cleveland will begin an exclusive weekly column for Mississippi Today on June 3.

Cleveland, a Hattiesburg native, is the most decorated sports journalist in Mississippi history and is celebrating his 50th year as a sports writer, sports editor, columnist and author.

Rick Cleveland

Melanie Thortis

Rick Cleveland

“Sports is such a huge and colorful part of the yarn so richly woven into Mississippi’s social fabric,” Cleveland said. “I am excited about the idea and potential of Mississippi Today and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Mississippi Today Co-editor Dennis Moore observed: “Whenever people talk about sports here, you often hear the question, ‘Did you read what Rick Cleveland said about that?’ Now we’re proud for Mississippi Today to be part of that conversation.”

The column will run every Friday afternoon at MississippiToday.org.

Cleveland became executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 2012 after 33 years with The Clarion-Ledger and more than 40 years as a full-time sports writer. Now the Hall of Fame’s Historian, Rick writes for the museum’s website and serves up a syndicated weekly column available to newspapers across Mississippi.

In 2011, Cleveland became the first sports writer honored with the prestigious Richard Wright Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Excellence. Previous winners include such authors as Eudora Welty, Richard Ford and Willie Morris.

Cleveland, the author of four books, also received the Distinguished Mississippian Award from the Mississippi Press Association’s Education Foundation in 2000. His biography of baseball great Boo Ferriss is in its third printing. His most recent book, Mississippi’s Greatest Athletes (Nautilus 2014), is in its second printing.

“Rick Cleveland understands sports and Mississippi and writes about both with nuance and passion that is unmatched,” said Mississippi Today Co-editor Fred Anklam Jr. “We are excited to bring Rick’s award-winning journalism directly to our readers on a regular basis.”