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 Hattiesburg American, Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger as a reporter, editor and columnist.
He 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 and has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year.
He 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 state, regional and national awards for his column writing and reporting.
“As traditional newspaper staffs and newspapers themselves have diminished, the traditional role of journalism as a watchdog has been threatened. Thorough news coverage is critical to the well-being of a democracy. I believe we are seeing nonprofit news begin to fill that role. I believe we will see that increase.”— Rick Cleveland