Rick Cleveland, left, stands on the sideline with his son Tyler Cleveland at the 2022 Mississippi high school football championships. Credit: Liz Cleveland

Mississippi Today sports columnist Rick Cleveland has been named Mississippi sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association for the 14th time in his career.

Cleveland, who covered his first Mississippi sporting event at age 13 and hasn’t stopped for 57 years since, owns the state’s record for number of times having won the award.

A native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, Cleveland 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 Hattiesburg American, Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger as a reporter, editor and columnist.

Rick is among three generations of Clevelands who have covered sports in Mississippi. His father “Ace” Cleveland was a longtime sportswriter and editor at the Hattiesburg American who spent the final 31 years of his career as sports information director at Southern Miss. Rick’s brother Bobby Cleveland was a longtime and beloved outdoors writer for the Clarion Ledger. And Rick’s son Tyler Cleveland has covered Mississippi sports for more than a decade, now serves as Mississippi editor for Scorebook Live.

Cleveland was 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 authored four books, including a biography of Delta State and Boston Red Sox legend Boo Ferriss and a book spanning the career and legacy of Ole Miss football coach Johnny Vaught.

Rick Cleveland, right, sits with former Gov. William Winter at a book signing. Credit: Liz Cleveland

Cleveland was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 and into the Hattiesburg Hall of Fame in 2018. He received the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence in 2011 and was inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi Communications Hall of Fame in 2018. In 2000, he was honored with the Distinguished Mississippian Award from Mississippi Press Association. He has received numerous other state, regional and national awards for his column writing and reporting.

Joining Cleveland in the 2023 National Sports Media Association honors is broadcaster David Kellum of Ole Miss Radio Network/Learfield, who has now won the Mississippi Sports Broadcaster of the Year award nine times.

PODCAST: Crooked Letter Sports with Rick and Tyler Cleveland. New episodes each week.

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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.