Mississippi Today is getting ready to celebrate our 6th anniversary this Monday. As the resident sports columnist, I report on the compelling stories of Mississippi athletics, an important part of our state’s culture. Mississippi has a fascinating history of producing many of the world’s greatest athletes. I strive to bring to our readers the stories of those sports heroes and the games they play by going behind the scenes to find the stories behind the stories.

One of my favorite stories back in 2018 did just that. About a month before that hair-raising Super Bowl featuring the Eagles and Patriots, I had the chance to speak with Larry Foles, native of Petal and father of that year’s Super Bowl Champion quarterback Nick Foles. I found a lot of Larry’s rags-to-riches story reflected in Nick’s. Like so many Mississippians, Larry emerged from humble beginnings and developed grit, determination and leadership skills his son seemingly took to heart and utilized for success on sports’ biggest stage.

Stories like this one are uniquely Mississippi and help show the rest of the world why Mississippians excel as they do in football, basketball, baseball and Olympic sports. It has been my life’s work to tell these stories. It never gets old.

To our current members: By donating to our newsroom, you are part of a large group of supporters dedicated to a better Mississippi. We thank you for being a part of our mission. Our work is not possible without you.

To our readers who are not yet members: As a nonprofit organization, we rely solely on the support from our members and generous donors. Your donation goes toward essential functions to keep our newsroom running. Quite literally, we would not exist without you. We hope you’ll consider joining our passionate member community by making a donation in celebration of our 6th anniversary.

take a look at the last six years

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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.