Paige Cothren should know about pain

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2001

Paige Cothren was in town the other day, and I regrettably missed him. He was here to address Lions and Rotary Club audiences and I simply couldn’t make either.

Paige, who has written two or three really good books, has recently published a novel. I was told by several at both meetings that he discussed his newest literary offering. I haven’t talked to Paige’s close Natchez buddy Floyd &uot;Epp&uot; Eppinette, but Epp was there to hear Paige I understand. Hey, I’m Paige’s buddy, too.

Paige Cothren was some kind of great runner right here in Natchez for Natchez High in 1952. He made High School All-America for the NHS Rebels, scoring 10 touchdowns and 21 extra points (kicked). His late father Wallace Cothren worked at Armstrong Tire and Rubber Co. in Natchez at the time – with me. At Ole Miss, Paige was All-America at fullback for the Ole Miss Rebels in 1956, and I believe he played in the All-Star game afterwards. He was rugged-plus at Ole Miss! Incidentally, Paige also played in the 1957 Hula Bowl in Honolulu.

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But what I like best about the big fullback is that he’s an All-American guy! He’s always been a great favorite in Natchez and the Crosby and Meadville areas.

By the way, Cothren’s new book is entitled &uot;An Academy Called Pain,&uot; a subject he has to know well after playing college football, then for the professional Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles. Even so, the book’s supposed to be humorous.

Bowl games mean money to SEC&160;schools. Football bowl games that is. Nearly $80 million entered the SEC office coffers as a result of a conference arrangement that called in big dollars from TV contracts and bowl games last year alone. The figure was $78.1 million to be exact. But what’s a couple of million?

Commissioner Roy Kramer’s job as SEC&160;Commissioner can announce such lucrative money figures for each of the 12 members each year that the commissioner himself has to enjoy. Truth of the matter is that Southeastern Conference schools have the athletic name, and that’s not simply bragging. An SEC team in a postseason football game or basketball tournament raises eyebrows because it’s automatically known that the games will be eyebrowed on site. And, on television.

An additional plus this football season will be that regular-season games won’t be scheduled anymore on Friday nights. Just look for the Saturday stuff. I say that’s probably a plus.

Which reminds that the 2001 LSU Tigers will feature 20 starters from last year’s 8-4 team. Good or bad, of course, LSU draws big in Tiger Stadium.

A football publication called &uot;Lindy’s 2001 Southeastern Football&uot; is very interesting. That guy is riding with the Florida Gators to take the SEC crown. He could of course be right, but Mississippi State third? Suits Mississippi State.

Tennessee, he thinks, will finish this fall in second place in the SEC. He cites 16 starters with an offensive line with loads of talent as reasons. But back to Florida, Lindy sees big things from the Gators with Steve Spurrier greeting last year’s freshman quarterback sensation Rex Grossman, a predicted real winner.

Mississippi State is picked to win the SEC West championship, with Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Auburn and Arkansas to follow in that order. Oh, for predicting!

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Democrat.