Tom S. Lee - Forest
Tom S. Lee’s athletic accomplishments include high school and college achievements playing for and alongside other Hall of Fame athletes as well as keeping a family tradition going in sports and law.
Tom S. Lee was a three-sport standout at Forest High School from 1956-59. In Basketball he was a member of Coach Durwood Smith’s basketball teams as a high scoring forward. During his senior year, along with W.D. (Red) Stroud, averaged 23 points per game. Both were chosen to the All-Little Dixie Conference Team.
In baseball, Lee was the primary pitcher for three years for the Bearcats and led the team his senior year with a 7-2 record and a .370 batting average. He also played center field and first base.
The Bearcats did not have a track team until Lee’s senior year. While he was not actually on the track team due to conflicts with baseball, FHS football/track coach Ken Bramlett picked Lee up at baseball practice on his way to the Little Dixie Conference track meet where Lee won the conference high jump championship, without having practiced.
On the collegiate level, Lee was a member of the high scoring Mississippi College Choctaw basketball team from 1959-1963 and was a three-year starter and point guard. The 1960 Choctaw team set a national scoring record for colleges of 114 points per game, which has never been equaled. Lee was inducted into the Mississippi College Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Lee, who serves as a senior U.S. District Court Judge, is married to Norma Ruth Lee.
His brother, David, was named to the Mississippi College Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. His coach, Durwood Smith, was named to the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. His teammate, Red Stroud, was named to the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, as was his son, Tom S. Lee, Jr.
Sammy Pace - Lake
Sammy Pace is a native of Lake and attended Lake High School where he played boys basketball for four years, three of which as the starting center. He was selected to the All-Conference Team and All-District Team for two years, as well as the All-South Mississippi Team one year. He was also a member of the football team, who celebrated an undefeated season. In addition, Pace participated in track for two years.
After high school, Pace received a scholarship to play basketball at East Central Junior College and after graduation, he continued his education at Mississippi State University where he participated in their intramural program.
Pace’s first coaching job was as an assistant girls’ coach and jr. high coach under the leadership of legendary coach Richard Harris. This led to him coaching the Hickory High School boys program for two years and his team won the Newton County Tournament.
Maurice Harrison, who was the principal of Scott Central, watched the game and offered Pace the opportunity to coach the girls’ team at Scott Central, where he had a four-year record of 97-27. His team won the Scott County Tournament for three consecutive years. They placed second in Class BB state basketball finals in 1978. The team’s1979 accomplishments included a Class BB South State Tournament Championship and a Class BB State Championship, while compiling a 31-2 record for the season. The two losses were by a margin of two points.
He briefly coached Sebastopol High School girls team for the last half of a season after the regular coach took time off for personal reasons. This led him to East Central Community College, where he coached both the women’s and men’s teams for one year and the women’s team for an additional 15 years. He also served as athletic director for nine years while continuing his coaching duties.
His teams at East Central earned six state tournament appearances, 11 Region 23 Tournament appearances, and two National NACJC Tournaments. The two National women’s tournaments were the first two appearances in East Central’s history.
In 1994, his team finished seventh in the nation, while the 2001 team lost 74-73 to the eventual tournament winner.
Pace has won MACJC state women’s Basketball Coach of the Year and Outstanding Region
23 Women’s Coach of the Year. He has been inducted into East Central’s Athletic Hall of Fame and into the Mississippi Community and Junior College Sports Hall of Fame.
Dutch Nichols - Harperville
Joseph Bernard “Dutch” Nichols, 80, of Hollywood, Fla., was well respected for his athletic playing and coaching abilities during a career that included time spent in Scott County.
Nichols was born in Manasquan, N.J., was known for his basketball abilities that he displayed at Manasquan High School. He was not only an eyebrow-raising scorer, but a prolific passer, causing journalist Jack Wilgers to describe him “as a marksman who would often amaze the crowd with this passing.” Another writer wrote, “Nichols stole the show with one of his most spectacular performances of the post-war era.” More than five decades later, Nichols is referred to by those who saw him play as the best basketball player ever to grace the hardwood floor at Manasquan High School.
Nichols played basketball at Southwest Mississippi Community College. His 1958-59 team captured the state championship. Nichols later served as a college board trustee and held his own basketball camps there for 43 consecutive years.
Nichols then attended Mississippi College where he often played to the chants of “showtime! Showtime!” from fans who wanted to see him put on a show. After college, Nichols spent a year touring with the Georgia Rebels, a southern version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Moving to the sidelines, Nichols served five years as coach at Harperville Attendance Center. Also during his time in Scott County, Nichols met the love of his life, Star Ladd, who he celebrated 50 years of marriage.
Nichols moved on to coach the South Pike Eaglettes for 20 years. While at South Pike, Nichols traveled throughout Europe with his team competing and performing amazing ball handling routines.
Nichols ended his coaching career with a 4A state championship title. During his career, he compiled a 699-143 record, ranking him 27th nationally for all-time wins in girls’ high school basketball.
Nichols was more than a coach. He was an ambassador of the game. He has been inducted into four hall of fames including Southwest Community College (1974), Mississippi College Athletic Hall of Fame (2006), Mississippi Community and Junior College Hall of Fame (2009), and the Manasquan Hall of Fame (2010).
Nichols passed away on February 19, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Star Ladd Nichols of Hollywood, Fla.; and numerous nieces and nephews from Mississippi, California, Florida and New Jersey.
N.C. Eiland - Sebastopol
Coach N.C. Eiland got his start in sports at Louisville High School where he was a standout in football, track, and baseball. He lettered in all three sports and received a scholarship to attend Alcorn State University where he lettered all four years in the same sports.
While at Alcorn, Eiland was a member of the A-Club.
After graduating from Alcorn in 1957, he started his coaching career at Midway Vocational High School-North Scott Attendance Center. He coached baseball, basketball, and football. He became the head football coach at Sebastopol Attendance Center and remained there for 13 years until retirement.
Eiland has numerous championships on record at both schools.
Wade Phillips, who played for Eiland at Sebastopol, penned memories of Eiland’s coaching style in the local media. “His practices were reputed to be the toughest, dirtiest, hardest workouts this side of Bear Bryant, led by a black coach at a school that was predominantly white,” Phillips said. “Coach Eiland may not have been the best football coach to ever blow a whistle. He certainly was a good one, who did more with less than most any coach I have ever known. More than that, he taught us about life. Coach Eiland’s legacy will not be about wins and losses. It will be about lives affected.”
Eiland has also been honored by having his named engraved on a brick at the Mississippi Sports Museum. Eiland was also a member of the Mississippi Association of Educators, Scott County Retired Educators, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
Coach Eiland died on March 19, 2004.
Sheldon Thomas - Forest
There are multiple ways that a person might find Sheldon Thomas around Scott County considering the roles he has played and continues to serve the people of his community. Thomas has served as a mentor and coach, a pastor and a singer, and city official in caring for the infrastructure of the City of Forest among the roles he plays.
Thomas serves as the street superintendent for the city of Forest and is the pastor of Little Rock Missionary
Baptist Church in Harperville. He also contributes to numerous mentoring programs, some of which he helped to establish, and has served as a high school basketball coach.
He is a native of Forest and graduated from Forest High School in 1988. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education at Belhaven College on a basketball scholarship and served in several leadership roles as a student, finishing in 1992.
He returned to Forest after graduation where he was hired as the manager of the city’s services center eventually making his way to his current duties as the street superintendent.
During his career path, Thomas worked at the Forest Housing Authority at night as a tutor for the children who lived in the complex and served as a mentor and coach supervising athletics with the help of grant funding.
Thomas also returned to his alma mater where he served as a volunteer assistant coach at the high school including four years for the girls team and nine years for the boys team. With the boys team, he worked under former coach Roy Pinkston and served under three coaches with the girls including Eddie Wade, Nedra Jones and Sal Labie.
His work at school carried over into several other areas of life where Thomas created opportunities to help area youth be successful and productive in their own lives. Thomas established the group “Sho 4 Real” which stands for “serving Him daily for revived everlasting appointed life.” The youth group is designed to encourage its members to do the right thing and ask for help when needed. Within his efforts, Thomas also established a youth choir and community wide Bible study for youth in junior high and high school.
Thomas has also served as a past president for youth sports associations.
In his personal life, Thomas married his wife, Regina, in 1992. She is a graduate of Scott Central Attendance Center and they met during a summer while she was a student at East Central Community College.
Cecil Harris Jones - Morton
Cecil Harris Jones is a native of Morton and was a standout for the Morton Panthers basketball program before advancing to play the same sport at the University of Mississippi.
While in Morton, Jones played in the Mississippi All-Star game and was named to the first team All Little Dixie Conference for two years. He was also named All-State in basketball.
Jones received a basketball scholarship to play at Ole Miss where he lettered during his freshman year in basketball and baseball. He was a three-year varsity letterman and a two-year starter in basketball. He was named an Outstanding College Athlete of America and was named a team captain during his senior year at Ole Miss.
He is described in his nomination by Fred F. Roberts Jr., as a “good man and a good athlete who cares about his family and community.”
Duaine Sappo Moore - Morton
The late Duaine “Sappo” Moore is a native of Morton where he attended Morton High School where he played football, baseball, and basketball before taking his skills to the collegiate level.
At Morton High School, Moore played for the Panthers from 1960 until 1963. In 1962 and 1963, he was named to All-Dixie Conference and in 1963, he was named All-State honorable mention. In 1964, he participated in the North-South All Star game and received the Bill Steward Award as the most valuable Player. The award was given in recognition of his spirit and attitude in training and conduct on and off the field as well as his character while playing and in everyday life.
Also, while in high school, he was a member of the baseball and basketball teams for the same time period as football and graduated in 1964.
Moore received a football scholarship to play fullback at Mississippi State University where he served the Bulldogs from 1964 until 1968. After participating as a freshman in 1964, Moore was named a starter and lettered on the varsity team in 1965 and 1967. In 1965, he was named honorable mention for the All-SEC team his sophomore year. Moore graduated in 1969.
During his junior year, as a defensive tackle for the Bulldogs, Moore served as a co-captain for Mississippi State’s game against Auburn.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Moore and husband to Judy Porter Moore of Port Gibson. He was the father of four children. He was a cattle farmer and worked in poultry. He was a member of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, Lions Club, and supported the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Moore died on January 13, 2013.
Lisa Bustin Cannella - Forest
Lisa Bustin Cannella had a distinguished athletic and academic career at Forest High School and the University of Southern Mississippi.
During her elementary school years, Lisa began competing in junior tennis on the state level and was the top-ranked singles player in Mississippi for a number of years. With her sister, Tina, as her doubles partner, they were ranked number one in the state and number two in the south.
At Forest High School, Lisa established a state record by winning six high school state championships in singles from 1985 through 1990. She was chosen most valuable player every year.
Lisa and Tina were highly recruited to play tennis in major college programs and they signed with the University of Southern Mississippi. Lisa played singles for four years at USM as a starter on the tennis team in the number 2 slot and won numerous collegiate matches.
Lisa maintained a 4.0 grade point average while pursuing a nursing degree and was named to the prestigious USM Hall of Fame. Lisa received her nurse anesthetist degree from New England Medical Center/Tuffs/North Eastern University in Boston, where she was number one in her class. She has worked for 20 years at Tampa General Hospital.
Lisa said she feels that playing tennis in high school and college led her to a keen interest in running. She has participated in over 25 marathons along with Iron Man events. Her running coach, Joe Burgasser, who is world renowned and has written articles for famous magazines, said that Lisa is one of the top master runners in the Tampa Bay area.
Lisa now runs daily and participates in fundraiser marathons in memory of her daughter, Cailin, who died at the age of 14 after a year-long struggle with osteosarcoma. Cailin was a nationally-ranked swimming champion.
Lisa’s other daughter, 12-year-old Ashlin, is ranked in the top 10 nationally in multiple swimming events.
Lisa said she would like to dedicate her induction into the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame in honor of her daughter, Ashlin, and in the memory of her daughter, Cailin.
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Steven Boozer - Morton
Steven Andrew Boozer is a native of Pulaski, attended East Rankin Academy and excelled in track and field athletics at the University of Alabama.
In college, Boozer was a 2006 Mideast Regional qualifier in the discus. He had a season-best throw of 181 in 2009 in discus at the LSU Tiger Classic and placed second in the event.
He had a season best throw of 166 in the hammer event in 2011 at the Jesse Owens Classic.
He placed third in the shotput competition and the weight throw at the Carle/Health Alliance Classic during the 2006 indoor season.
He finished in first place in the Ole Miss Invitational and the Clemson Invitational in the discus competition.
Boozer had a personal best throw of 54-04.50 at the 2005 Kentucky Invitational in the weight throw competition.
He finished fourth in the NCAA Mideast Regional in discus and recorded a sixth place finish at Niswonger Indoor Invitational in shotput.
Boozer recorded the fifth longest throw in Alabama history in discus (184-04) at USF Outdoor Invitational.
He placed third in discus at the NCAA Outdoor Regional Championships.
On the high school level, Boozer broke Mississippi high schools’ state record in discus with a throw of 179.2 in 2003. He was named All-State in 2002 and 2003. He won three state championships in discus and one state championship in shotput while posting two runner-up finishes in shotput. He was also named Clarion-Ledger Athlete of the Week.
He was born in 1985, son of Grady Boozer and Linda Nelson.
Ricky Rogers - Lake
Ricky Rogers commands a legacy of athletic excellence having earned top honors in football and basketball for the Hornets.
Rogers is a native of Lake where he served as a starting quarterback in grades nine through 12.
In 1992, Rogers started with his award-winning ways by being named to he All District Offense team.
In 1993, Rogers was named to the All Scott County first team offense and won the LHS Hornet Award and the LHS Ironman Award. He was also named to the First Team Offense.
In 1994, Rogers was named to the All Scott County First Team Offense and the All District First Team Offense. He was named Most Valuable Player for Lake High School and won the coveted Marvin Morgan Award.
In 1995, he was named First Team Captain and Most Valuable Player at Lake High School, earning the same honor on the district level and across Scott County. Rogers was the only player from Lake elected to the Mississippi-Alabama All Star Football game.
In Basketball, during the 1992-93 season, Rogers was named Lake High School’s Best Defensive Player.
From 1993-1995, he was named Best All-Around Player.
In 1993, Rogers was named to the All-District First Team and to the All Scott County Team in 1994.
In 1994-95, he was named LHS Best Defensive Player.
In 1995-96, Rogers was named Most Valuable Player for Lake High School and Scott County.
Rogers took his athletic skills to the collegiate level where he played football at Ouachita Baptist University where he was a four-year starter.
In 1997-2001, he was named Honorable Mention and All Conference and was the team’s leading receiver.
He won the Tiger Award in 1997 and in 2001, Rogers was named Offensive Most Valuable Player. In 2001, he finished his career at Ouachita fourth in total career yards. Rogers later became an assistant coach at Ouachita and a minister.