High School Sports

Football and baseball legends highlight Ocean Springs’ inaugural Hall of Fame class

Irving Spikes was an all-state football player for Ocean Springs High School, gaining more than 3,000 yards from 1986-88.
Irving Spikes was an all-state football player for Ocean Springs High School, gaining more than 3,000 yards from 1986-88. Sun Herald file

The late Hugh Pepper is one of 16 men and women who will be inducted this May into the inaugural class of the Ocean Springs Sports Hall of Fame.

The group was selected by a committee made up of former coaches, players and broadcasters rooted in the Ocean Springs community.

Beginning with the next year’s class, members of the public will be allowed to submit nominations.

The induction ceremony for this year’s class will be held during a banquet on May 5 at the Ocean Springs Civic Center. Limited tickets will go on sale for $10 on Thursday at the Ocean Springs schools athletic offices at 2730 Bienville Blvd.

Members of the Ocean Springs Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2018 are:

▪  Bobby “Woody” Beaugez — He was a star on offense and defense for the Ocean Springs football team from 1955-58. He earned All-Gulf Coast Conference honors as a junior.

▪  Raymond “Big Boy” Beaugez — As a member of the Ocean Springs football team, he led the state in scoring in 1950 with 142 points and followed that up with 184 points in his junior season, including a seven-touchdown performance against Long Beach. He played professional baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system.

▪  Richard Dickson — A standout tight end at LSU and Ocean Springs, he led the Greyhounds to their only appearance in the state title game in 2004. A participant in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game, Dickson earned All-Region, All-Gulf Coast, All-State and All-American honors. Dickson was a member of the 2007 National Championship team at LSU in 2007, catching two touchdowns that season. He left LSU as its all-time leader in touchdown, receptions and receiving yards for a tight end. He played two seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.

▪  Derbert Dilworth — A star athlete in his native Amory, Dilworth played football at Arizona State before transferring to Mississippi Valley State to play baseball. He was a driving force behind the athletic programs at Elizabeth Keys High School, which was the school for black students in Ocean Springs before integration in 1968. He played semipro baseball with the Biloxi Dodgers and went onto a career as a school administrator.

▪  Charles E. “Buddy” Gilbert — A three-year starter and letterman at quarterback for the Greyhounds, Gilbert was named the GCC’s Most Valuable Offensive Back and the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Back in 1970. He was also the quarterback on the All-West Jackson County Team for 1970. Gilbert signed a scholarship and played four years at Tulane.

▪  Stephanie Seymour Gruich — She began playing on the Ocean Springs varsity softball team while still in 8th grade when the softball program was launched. Over her five-year varsity career, OSHS went 185-3. Seymour earned All-District honors four consecutive years and was the District Player of the Year as a senior. She played at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where she was twice named All-State and a Junior College All-American in 1986. Seymour finished her career by winning a silver medial with the U.S. National Team in the 1990 U.S. Olympic Festival.

▪  Eddie Hornback — A Parade All-American at quarterback for the Greyhounds in 1978, Hornback led Ocean Springs to an undefeated regular season and a statewide top-five ranking. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards and nearly topped 2,000 in total offense while accounting for 21 touchdowns. He was named All-State and played in the Mississippi High School All-Star game. A standout in baseball and track as well, Hornback earned 13 varsity letters. He signed with Notre Dame before transferring to Mississippi State to finish his football career.

▪  Jack B. Hughes — A star athlete during his days at OSHS, when he was an All-State basketball player, Hughes is best remembered for launching the girls softball program at his alma mater. He also coached boys varsity basketball, winning two Gulf Coast Conference championships. After starting the softball program, Hughes led the Lady Greyhounds to 111 wins in their first 114 games, including a 69-game winning streak, eight district championships and an overall record of 289-64. In 1991, Hughes led OSHS to its first state softball championship.

▪  Robert G. “Big M” Mohler — He starred in football, baseball and track at OSHS, graduating in 1938. He declined scholarship offers from multiple SEC schools and instead enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After his Navy career, Mohler accepted a scholarship to play football at Tennessee, playing one season there before a need to be closer to home brought him to what was then Perkinston Junior College. In 1947, Mohler walked on at the University of Alabama and earned a scholarship, but was later released due to an injury suffered during his military career. Mohler earned a scholarship at Mississippi State and played two seasons for the Bulldogs. Drafted in 1951 by the Baltimore Colts, Mohler opted to forego the NFL to remain in Ocean Springs rather than leave his mother living alone. Mohler became a successful business owner in Ocean Springs.

▪  Robert “Ace” Parker — After becoming a starting quarterback for Ocean Springs as just a freshman, Parker led the Greyhounds to four consecutive Gulf Coast Conference championships. He earned All-GCC honors each year and was chosen as the conference’s Most Outstanding Back in 1968. Parker completed nearly 60 percent of his passes during his career for 6,648 yards and 84 touchdowns.

▪  Hugh M. Pepper — Already a legendary figure after an All-American playing career at Southern Miss, Pepper came to Ocean Springs after a nine-year career in professional baseball and led the Greyhound football team to 191 wins, 12 GCC championships and six undefeated seasons before retiring from coaching. He also coached the OSHS baseball team for nine seasons, winning seven GCC titles. He is a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Southern Mississippi Hall of Fame and was an inaugural member of the USM Legends Club. In 1991, the National Football Foundation named Pepper it’s “Distinguished American.”

▪  Glenn and Walter Ryan — Glenn Ryan was the “Voice of the Greyhounds” for more than four decades, first as the public address announcer in the late 1950s and later calling games on WOSM radio beginning in 1966. Walter Ryan joined his brother in the broadcast booth for 15 of those years. In addition to their work broadcasting OSHS football, the two men were heavily involved in the city’s youth sports programs.

▪  Irving Spikes — Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year for football in 1987, Spikes led Ocean Springs to the state playoffs by rushing for 1,171 yards and 23 touchdowns. He accounted for 26 total touchdowns that season and set a school scoring record with 144 points. Over his three-year OSHS career, Spikes rushed for 2,510 yards and amassed 3,080 yards in total offense. He was named All-American, All-State and played in the Mississippi High School All-Star Game. After originally signing with Alabama, Spikes transferred to Northeast Louisiana University, where he was again a 1,000-yard rusher and earned All-American honors. Spikes signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins and played four seasons in the NFL.

▪  Steve Tomaszewski — An All-South Conference catcher at Delta State, Tomaszewski took over the Greyhound baseball program in 1976 and led the team for the next 18 years. From 1979 to 1984, his teams won at least 20 games each season, with the 1981 and 1982 squads winning 25 games each. Tomaszewski directed the 1982 squad to the school’s first state baseball championship. His squads also won five GCC titles, two district championships and a Division 7-5A crown in his final season of 1993.

▪  David Ward — Often mentioned by legendary coach Hugh Pepper as one of his best ever, Ward was a three-year starter at running back for OSHS, earning All-GCC honors in both his junior and senior season of 1969 and 1970. He also played baseball, basketball and ran track for OSHS, earning 10 varsity letters. Ward was named the football team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player in 1969, to the All-West Jackson County Team and played in the state all-star game. Ward signed a football scholarship with Ole Miss in 1971.

▪  Stuart Weidie — He earned All-State baseball honors in both his junior and senior seasons and helped lead OSHS to its first state baseball championship in 1982. As a senior, he batted .371 with 37 RBI, 15 stolen bases, six home runs, three triples and six doubles in 34 games. He also compiled an 8-1 record on the mound with a 1.99 ERA and two saves, including a save in the state title game. Weidie signed a scholarship with the University of New Orleans and became a four-year starter for the Privateers. Drafted in the 22nd round by the Boston Red Sox, Weidie played five seasons of professional baseball.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee