High School Sports

Coast basketball legend will be honored more than 22 years after her death

Sun Herald file

More than 22 years after her death, legendary South Mississippi basketball standout Eugenia Conner will be honored.

The Harrison Central standout was among the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2017, which was announced Thursday.

A Gulfport native, Conner led HCHS to four consecutive Class 2A state titles before playing at Ole Miss for Van Chancellor and Peggie Gillom-Granderson. While in Oxford, Conner was All-SEC for four years and helped lead the Rebels to four NCAA appearances. She posted a college record of 106-20, and an incredible 155-9 mark while at HCHS. Conner played professionally in Europe before returning to Gulfport to work with children and the poor. She died of a heart attack on March 3, 1994. She was 30.

Other members in this year’s class include Bob Braddy, Sr., Rick Cleveland, Marcus Dupree, Leslie Frazier and Jay Powell.

Braddy is the winningest baseball coach in SWAC history, having posted a 824-546-3 all-time record at Jackson State. He won 12 SWAC titles and had two first-round draft picks. He was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2016.

Cleveland has been one of Mississippi’s premier sports reporters during his career. A Hattiesburg native, Cleveland worked his way through high school and college covering sports for the Hattiesburg American. After graduating from USM, Cleveland started a long run as writer/columnist/editor for the Clarion-Ledger. He also as the second Executive Director of the MS Sports Hall of Fame for four years and currently is a syndicated columnist. He recently returned to full-time writing with Mississippi Today. Cleveland is the most decorated sports writer in Mississippi history and has authored four books.

Dupree was one of the nation’s top high school football players during his time at Philadelphia. He finished his career with 5,284 yards and 87 touchdowns, breaking Herschel Walker’s national record. Dupree went on to play at Oklahoma, earning the Fiesta Bowl MVP his freshman year before transferring to Southern Miss. Dupree wound up signing with the USFL before being injured and later signing with the Los Angeles Rams.

Frazier was a standout in baseball and football at Alcorn State and, after signing as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 1981, he helped the team win Super Bowl XX. He went on to a successful career in coaching with the Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings and now Baltimore Ravens.

Powell won a baseball state championship at West Lauderdale and later starred at Mississippi State, where he was second all-time on the school’s saves list with 17. Powell went on to be a first round pick in the MLB Draft and pitched for 11 years in the Major Leagues. Powell also earned the decisive win for the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. He now serves as Jackson Academy’s baseball coach.

The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Induction Weekend will be held August 4-5, 2017.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs