Conference USA bound to change

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Conference USA officials want to make certain all things don’t remain the same. And one of the most outspoken ones against the status quo is the University of Southern Mississippi’s solid hands-on president, Shelby Thomas.

&8220;I don’t see Conference USA standing pat,&8221; he told one newspaper. &8220;There will be changes, more shifting around,&8221; he has said just within the last few days.

One thing perhaps not so good is the withdrawal of Army from the football alignment.

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It looks like the South Division of the North-South USA lineup will look like this: Southern Miss, Memphis, Tulane, South Florida, Houston, TCU, UAB and East Carolina. That’s a pretty good league whether you recognize it or not.

I happen to know USM President Shelby Thomas is not a dummy when it comes to putting together alignments-athletic. &8220;Things were going so fast. But I feel a lot better about this now. We intend to make lemonade out of lemons,&8221; the veteran USM president said.

&8220;The league will not look the same by the 2005 football season,&8221; Tulane President Scott Cowan has said. And just as sure as he said that, by 2005 it really won’t.

Know what all this means for USM? Things are looking up, that’s what. Let’s wait, watch and hope the Eagles’ situation will indeed get even better.

I mentioned old Dentville High, its old basketball program and one of its old basketball heroes, Tance &8220;Uncle Hooker&8221; Hughes recently. Mainly, Tance Hughes and his teammates of that day did for a fact win every boys basketball game over a stretch lasting from 1912-15!

Few of you reading this will know that Dentville (when there was a Dentville) was a small community located 14 miles from Hazlehurst, 14 from Crystal Springs and about that far from Utica.

If you’re a high school basketball fan, you know how hard it is to win every game over a season’s span. Well, Dentville won every game the boys played from 1912 through 1915. I loved it when &8220;Uncle Hooker&8221; talked those old basketball days.

Dentville High wasn’t really that small then, country school or not. Some 400 students were enrolled in the entire school at the start of 1911-12.

Starters on that undefeated Dentville High boys basketball team were Ernest Massey at center, his brother Harvey at forward and Homer Methvin the other. But I’m talking about the guard play of Tance Hughes, whose three sons Herbert, C.A. and Gordon I know well.

Many of you have had the same experience with old-timers, but we were glued to Uncle Hooker when he started talkin’ his old high school basketball, particularly when he told us he didn’t ever score.

&8220;My man (whom he guarded) never scored a basket over me,&8221; he told me. But here’s the kicker: &8220;Of course I never scored one, either,&8221; he said, and I flipped.

Of course there’s a reason: &8220;It was man-to-man all the way,&8221; he told me, &8220;and back then you could do all but tackle each other on defense!&8221; That was certainly another day!

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.