Bowie’s host Southern Sports Tonight, Saints

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Don’t be surprised if there is a &uot;No coaches allowed&uot; sign inside Bowie’s Tavern this evening when the popular radio show Southern Sports Tonight starts its broadcast live from the restaurant at 5 p.m. today.

One of the last coaches who spoke with hosts Scott McKinney and Max Howell is fresh out of a job.

Of course it’s nothing the good old boys did. Mike Price signed his brief fate at Alabama hours after McKinney and Howell spoke with him about how spring practice fared.

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&uot;Even though the news may sometimes be negative, we try to take the high road,&uot; McKinney said. &uot;We’ve built a program with the support of listeners, coaches and administrators throughout the south.&uot;

The show, in his seventh year &045; second under the current title &045; is a large part of a sports junkie’s diet in the South, and not just because of a popular segment known as &uot;What’s for Supper,&uot; where Howell nightly reels off a salivating menu that will have you flooring the gas pedal to get to the dinner table.

Dunleith Plantation, along with Bowie’s, brought McKinney to the Miss-Lou last December for he show’s last live remote of the year.

&uot;Quite honestly I didn’t know what to expect because we had never been (to Natchez) before,&uot; said McKinney, who does most of the traveling, while Howell lives outside of Atlanta to conduct a morning show there. &uot;And you never know around that type of year when Christmas parties are going on how the turnout will be.&uot;

The place was jam packed, full of fans who swore loyalty to several different programs, McKinney said.

There were Bulldogs rubbing elbows with Rebels; Tigers exchanging pleasantries with Hogs; Eagles toasting with supporters of the Crimson Tide.

&uot;It reminds me of so many southern sports towns you come across with its diversity,&uot; McKinney said of Natchez. &uot;You have a melting pot of fans from all places. There’s no one strong allegiance to any one school and that’s what makes the remotes so much fun.&uot;

It will be the first of three live remotes the program will host at Bowie’s this year, with one landing on a weekend so Howell can pay a visit.

The show culminates a busy day for Dunleith and Bowie’s, which welcomes the New Orleans Saints’ Western Regional Caravan at 11:45 a.m. today, after coach Jim Haslett and players Darren Howard, Ashley Ambrose and Jerome Pathon pay visits to Natchez Regional Medical Center and Natchez Community Hospital earlier in the morning, Dunleith manager Rene Adams said.

&uot;We look forward to a full house today, &uot; she said. &uot;(SST has) got some loyal fans, but it was neat for me to see the interaction between Scott and Max with the listeners.

&uot;Not only was there a response through the reservations we booked, but I couldn’t go anywhere in the state or the south without friends telling me they heard the plantation’s name on the show. It was a neat way to mix sports with a historic location.&uot;

McKinney remembered being really road-wearied on his last visit to Natchez, the finish line to a week’s worth of driving.

However, McKinney added the moment faithful listeners started filtering through the door and it suddenly became a standing-room-only crowd, he perked up.

&uot;We had a tremendous response before and I know the people over at Dunlieth got a lot of calls after the show,&uot; McKinney said. &uot;And that’s what it’s all about. Sure, we’re going to talk about sports, but we’re also there to promote the town, the people and enjoy coming to do that.&uot;