Harrison County

‘Revolutionary’ Coast sports writer dies at age 67

Former South Mississippi Sun Sports Editor Roy Rolison, center, covers a basketball game with Cliff Kirkland, left, and John Bialas. Rolison died Aug. 26, 2017, at 67.
Former South Mississippi Sun Sports Editor Roy Rolison, center, covers a basketball game with Cliff Kirkland, left, and John Bialas. Rolison died Aug. 26, 2017, at 67. Courtesy John Bialas

A former South Mississippi sports writer known for his ability to think “outside the box” of traditional sports coverage has died. Roy Rolison died Aug. 26 at age 67.

Visitation for Rolison will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3, at Riemann Family Funeral Home on Three Rivers Road in Gulfport. Graveside services will be at noon Tuesday at Andrews Chapel Cemetery in Quitman.

Rolison was the sports editor of the South Mississippi Sun from 1973-84. The South Mississippi Sun merged with the Daily Herald to become the Sun Herald in 1985.

Former Sun Herald Sports Editor Cliff Kirkland said Rolison, whom he called a good friend, was a great leader.

“Roy hired me as a sports writer for the South Mississippi Sun,” Kirkland said. “We had a very talented staff. It was a lot of fun to work with and for Roy.”

People tend to not think of sports writers as journalists but (Roy Rolison) elevated sports writing to a high level of journalism.

Former Sun Herald Sports Editor Cliff Kirkland

Rolison helped make New Orleans Saints coverage a priority for the paper and under his management, Kirkland became the Saints beat writer.

Kirkland said Rolison will be remembered for his creativity and vision.

“Even when it wasn’t a popular phrase, Roy was a man who ‘thought outside the box’ and he was very creative,” he said. “People tend to not think of sports writers as journalists but he elevated sports writing to a high level of journalism.”

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