Who is athlete of the century?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 1999

Trying to select the Miss-Lou Athlete of the Year is a daunting task. That’s why I’m going to let you folks do it. Not that I want lend some input.

From now until Dec. 31 I will take calls, e-mails, faxes, &uot;Hey You&uot; or by web site for your top five athletes of the century from the Miss-Lou.

I didn’t think it would be that tough until another top past performer kept popping in my head deserving of at least a top three ranking..

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Anyway, list your top six and we’ll award points, with five points going to the top athlete and one point to your sixth place athlete.

At the end of the year we will tally up the votes and on Jan. 9 release the entire list by the number of points received.

The top three athletes of the century will be featured the following three days.

So who heads my list?

My top six athletes are (in alphabetical order):

Tony Byrne,&160;Natchez High; Fred Foster, Natchez High; Russell Johnson, North Natchez; Joey Porter, South Natchez High; Jarrod West of Cathedral and Keith Woodside of Vidalia High.

I will (when&160;I figure it out) compile my list in order for the voting.

Byrne played football and basketball at Natchez High from 1950-54. He was all-everything in football, despite missing his sophomore and junior senior with an injury and in basketball, where he ruled the courts and set Big 8 records.

Foster was a Big Eight terror on the gridiron and basketball court and set records at Delta State.

Johnson played on a rare not-so-good North Natchez football team, but still excelled. He was dangerous every time he touched the ball and was an outstanding cornerback. He played above the rim in basketball.

Porter still holds the high school records for most consecutive shutout innings and games.

In 1973, Porter had 11 straight shutout games over 80 innings.

As crafty a pitcher as Porter was, he was just as good running the Notre Dame Box for Ed Reed.

West starred for West Virginia in basketball after a great career at Cathedral. He was so elusive and athletic that Ken Beesley would go with his swinging gate offense and let West just run with it.

Woodside rushed for more than 2,000 yards and went on to play at Texas A&M and with the Green Bay Packers.

Woodside was also an outstanding basketball player, showing deadly accuracy from the 3-point line.

Now just check out some of the folks not on my list.

Perry Lee Dunn, Donnie Daye, James Berry, Eddie Ray, Jackson, Bubba Griffey, Doug Brown, Shawn Griggs, Clyde Adams, Terry Dillon, Dean Brown, George Cupit, Walter Johnson, Barr Brown, Manson Nelson, Mitch Ashmore, Bo Swilley, Steve Buckley, Dean Brown,&160;Danny Knight, Tony Moore, James Williams, Derrick Moore.

And there’s Paige Cothren, Kalpatrick Wells Keith Laurant, Lee Falkenheiner, Faye Minor, Allen Mardis, Jimmy Hibbs, Josh&160;Hoffpauir, Art Eidt, Vernel Singleton, Bill Moseley, Louis Davis, David Nix, David Sanguinetti, Allen Brown, Will McRaney, Bob Dearing, Bubba Kaiser, Ken and Craig Beesley, Richard Wadsworth, David King, Dariel Mays, Michael Richardson (the one at Cathedral and the one at North Natchez), Gerald Vaught, Cloyce Hinton, Louis Foster,&160;Patricia Woods, Glenn Harrison, Robbin Harris, Henry Holloway, Perry Lee Dunn, James, Kelvin Knight and Herman Carroll.

I’m sure there are hundreds more I will think of in the next two days that I should have mentioned. I know you’re thinking that now.

So drop me a line and let me know.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at joey.martin@natchezdemocrat.com.