Alcorn to honor McNair on Sunday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2000

It started early in the week. The caller on the other side of the phone Monday identified himself as Jason from ABC-TV. He wanted to know the phone number for Lucile McNair for a feature surrounding the Super Bowl.

Unfortunately, Lucile has a private number. Some poor family in Mount Olive who has someone named Lucile McNair is probably receiving a lot of unwanted calls this week.

Lucile, mother of Steve McNair, will most certainly be busy this week when she gets to Atlanta for part of the Super Bowl hype.

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Fortunately for her and thousands of others, there’s only one week off before the big game, as compared to the normal two weeks.

McNair is bringing lots of attention to Mississippi and Alcorn State this week. Media types love stories about someone coming from a small place and making it to the top.

And McNair has done just that, helping lead his Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl after surprising Jacksonville for the third time this year in the AFC&160;Championship Game.

The year 1994 was a magical one for McNair and Alcorn State.

Sports Illustrated had McNair on the cover with &uot;Hand Him the Heisman&uot; headlines.

Not only did the Braves win the Southwestern Athletic Conference title for the second time in three years, McNair became the only SWAC football player to be named SWAC Offensive Player of the Year all four years.

The Braves finished 8-3-1, losing to Youngstown State in the first round of the I-AA playoffs, one year after falling to Northeast Louisiana in the first round.

McNair won the Walter Payton Award as the best player in I-AA and finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

He finished the season with 4,863 passing yards and 44 touchdowns. He finished his career as the NCAA’s leading offensive yardage leader (16,823 yards) after shattering numerous national and school offensive records along the way.

Lucile is not the only one getting attention for what her son has done. Alcorn State’s name has come up quite a bit the last few weeks.

And that makes Alcorn president Dr. Clinton Bristow very happy.

&uot;These moments don’t come around every day,&uot;&160;Bristow said. &uot;Whenever you get them, you can’t be ashamed about poking your chest out.&uot;

Bristow has declared Sunday as Steve McNair Day at Alcorn.

Students watching the game in the union will be served free pizza and free refreshments.

&uot;They can enjoy the Super Bowl and celebrate Steve being there,&uot; Bristow said.

While some close NFL followers are surprised to see McNair quarterbacking a Super Bowl team, Bristow certainly is not.

&uot;First we are excited and supportive of Steve,&uot; Bristow said. &uot;We think his athletic abilities are oustanding and knowing he’s being recognized by everyone across the United States and all over the world with the Super Bowl is rewarding. We’ve always had confidence in Steve and his ability to preform at the NFL&160;level. We’re extremely enthused and supportive.&uot;

Bristow said McNair’s national recognition also helps Alcorn.

&uot;That’s national publicity for us and it’s national recognition of what this small school in Mississippi can produce,&uot; Bristow said. &uot;It’s also telling potential student-athletes that they can come to Alcorn and go to the Super Bowl if they are a football player. We made that same statement in the NBA with Larry Smith. This should also boost our football and academic recruiting.&uot;

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