Museum exhibit honors Bailey Howell

October 15, 2013


Bailey Howell, All-American, 1956, is pictured as he dunks a basketball. Photo from University Archives, Special Collections Department, Mississippi State University Libraries.

One of Mississippi State University’s sports legends is included in a new exhibit honoring local athletes who are members of the national pro sports hall of fame for their sport.

The Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum will recognize Bulldog basketball great Bailey Howell during an open house on Sunday [Oct. 20] from 1:30-3 p.m.

Howell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997, and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1977.

Howell, who played at Mississippi State from 1956 to 1959, played professional basketball from 1959-1971. After his outstanding professional career, Howell worked with the Converse shoe company and made Starkville his hometown. He is the only player in MSU history to have his jersey -- No. 52 -- retired. It now hangs in Humphrey Coliseum.

The Bailey Howell Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding basketball player in Mississippi.

The museum, located at 206 Fellowship Street in Starkville, is featuring three sports lockers with items showcasing the athletic achievements of Howell, as well as Jerry Rice and James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell.

Howell will be on hand for the special event, according to a museum representative.

Rice was inducted into the National Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. Rice, who graduated from Moor High School (now East Oktibbeha) played collegiate football at Mississippi Valley State University. He played professionally from 1985-2004, mostly with the San Francisco 49ers. Rice is considered by many to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history.

Starkville native Cool Papa Bell (1903-1991) was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. He was among the first group of players admitted who had played in the Negro Baseball League. Bell was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

For additional information, please contact Bill Poe at 662-418-4373 or Joan Wilson at 662-323-5220.