Top stories of 1999 easy to pick

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 2, 2000

The final year of the 1900s was an exciting one in the Miss-Lou. Of course, that’s nothing unusual. The people in this area take their sports serious and it shows in every aspect.

So just what were the top stories of 1999?

Everyone is going to have a different opinion about that, but I’ll share mine with you.

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The opening of Beau Pre Country Club in July definitely heads my list.

The course is as majestic as promised and takes golf in Natchez to another level and is a great complement to the ever-improving Duncan Park course.

There will be plenty of tournaments in Natchez in 2000, highlighted by the Mississippi Women’s Amateur Tournament slated for Beau Pre in June.

A lot of people worked hard to make Beau Pre what it is, but Woody Allen has to be credited with keeping a constant watch on all the activity.

The good thing is that Woody cares about Natchez and its people. While Beau Pre is a grand course, the hospitality is just as good as it was at Belwood. And Woody will keep it that way.

My second top story is the continuing success of Natchez High sophomore Janice Davis.

As a freshman, Davis won the state in several races as well as the long jump and finished fourth in the National Junior Olympics in the long jump.

This youngster is wiser than her age and is as hard a worker as you’ll meet. Bigger things are ahead for Davis.

My third story is Billy Shaw being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

I remember Shaw when he lived in Vidalia, La., after a brilliant career with the Buffalo Bills. Shaw moved from Natchez to Vicksburg at the age of 2, but we still like to claim him.

He’s what class is all about.

No. 4 is Clarence Bowlin retiring as Natchez’s Dixie Youth Baseball commissioner.

Clarence did things his way, which was usually the right way.

Some folks didn’t agree with everything Clarence did, but they always knew where they stood with him.

Clarence pulled no punches and Natchez has been a heavyweight in Dixie Youth Baseball to a large degree because of his guidance.

No. 5 is Gill Morris being named athletic director at Natchez High.

It’s time Natchez High got with the program and raised its athletic program to where it needs to be to compete with the likes of Hattiesburg, South Panola, Moss Point and the Jackson schools.

Morris will make that a top priority.

Centreville Academy winning its second straight state title is No. 6. Bill Hurst has Bear Bryant blood in him somewhere.

At No. 7 is Cathedral’s tennis and golf teams winning state championships.

Those two sports often get overlooked because of the Green Wave baseball team’s success, but they still continue their winning ways.

Natchez beginning at soccer team is No. 8. The Bulldogs are starting from scratch, but have the right man at the top in Bill Dillon, who will make a competitive team at Natchez High down the road.

Lum Wright winning his 350th game is at No. 9. Some things never change. Lum wins. Lum remains modest. Lum knows what it takes to win – good old hard-fashioned football.

And finally, Dariel Mays. Remember how much fun it was to watch Hugh Green, James Berry, Dean Brown, Michael Richardson, Nathaniel Williams and Keith Woodside. Dariel made it fun again. And his easy-going attitude, quick smile and strong character made it even more enjoyable.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at 446-5172 ext. 232 or by e-mail at