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Rulers of the SEC
Rulers of the SEC
by James R. Crockett


 
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Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi (pub: September 2021)

Hardback. Signed.

How two Mississippi universities won twelve of twenty-four championships to dominate sports and reign supreme in the SEC.

During the years 1959–1966 Mississippi universities dominated the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in the big three sports—basketball, baseball, and football. Of the twenty-four championships that could be earned in those sports, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) won six and Mississippi State University (MSU) won six. That is, the two Mississippi universities won twelve of the championships. That left the remaining twelve championships for the other members of the conference.

Picking up in the late fifties, James Crockett explores the most decisive wins in each major sport, beginning at the source of these victories: the extraordinary coaches and their interesting personalities. With each year, Crockett charts the unreal rise within the SEC conference and the many hardships that faced these beloved teams as their students, faculty, and traditions changed all around them. Stars and coaches that shine in the book include John Vaught, Tom Swayze, Jake Gibbs, and Donnie Kessinger from Ole Miss; and Paul Gregory, Bailey Howell, Babe McCarthy, and the amazing SEC Champion Bulldog basketball team of 1962–1963.

Rulers of the SEC: Ole Miss and Mississippi State, 1959–1966 enraptures readers with harrowing victories and multiyear, dynastic championships. It is a tale of great coaches, great athletes, and great teams as they adapt to a controversial era of college sports.

James R. Crockett, Madison, MS, is professor emeritus at the University of Southern Mississippi and adjunct professor of accountancy at the University of Mississippi. He is author of Power, Greed, and Hubris: Judicial Bribery in Mississippi; Hands in the Till: Embezzlement of Public Monies in Mississippi; and Operation Pretense: The FBI's Sting on County Corruption in Mississippi, all published by University Press of Mississippi.

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