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Legendary Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor to be keynote speaker at 2013 awards program honoring Magnolia state’s top college basketball players


Former Ole Miss Lady Rebels head coach to headline C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophy presentations

Jackson, Miss., (February 18, 2013) - Van Chancellor, one of the most decorated head coaches in the history of women’s collegiate and professional basketball, will be the keynote speaker at the 2013 C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophy presentations on March 11 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

Chancellor, a Louisville, Miss. native enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will headline the annual awards program sponsored by C Spire Wireless that honors the Magnolia state’s top male and female college basketball players from the 2012-2013 season.

The awards are named after two of the Mississippi’s most popular and successful players in the sport –Bailey Howell and Peggie Gillom-Granderson.

Howell was a two-time All American at Mississippi State University and a six-time NBA All-Star who played on Boston Celtic world championship teams in 1968 and 1969. A 1977 inductee to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the first Mississippi player inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Howell still holds nearly a dozen season and career records at Mississippi State.

Gillom-Granderson, an Abbeville, Miss. native, is Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She has coached at the college level, the WNBA and the Olympics.

Chancellor has close connections to both Howell and Gillom-Granderson. “As a young boy … Bailey Howell was my hero,” he said. “When I became a coach and got to know Bailey, I realized he was not only a great player, but an outstanding person.” Howell was one of two presenters for Chancellor when he was selected for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

The legendary coach’s ties to Gillom-Granderson are even closer. “Basketball has given me many opportunities in my life and many of them are because of the Gillom sisters,” said Chancellor, who coached both players during his stint as Ole Miss Lady Rebels head coach. “Peggie and Jennifer made me a better coach as players and Peggie put out fires for me many years as my most trusted assistant coach.”

Chancellor, who retired from coaching in 2011 and is now a television analyst for SEC and Southland Conference basketball, won 439 games as the Lady Rebels head coach from 1978 to 1997, guiding Ole Miss to the NCAA tournament 14 times, including 11 consecutive appearances from 1982 to 1992. His teams won at least 20 games fifteen times, including a school record 31 wins during the 1978-1979 season.

He led Ole Miss to the NCAA’s Elite Eight on four occasions and was SEC Coach of the Year three times. Similarly successful on the professional stage, Chancellor led the Houston Comets for 10 years, including the first four years as WNBA champions from 1997 to 2000. The Comets were the only team to make the playoffs in each of the first seven season of the new league and hold the highest single-season winning percentage in WNBA history. He also coached the USA gold medal team at the 2004 Olympics and has a 38-0 record in international competition.

2013 marks the 17th anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire Wireless has served as title sponsor for 15 years since 1998. The Conerly Trophy in college football, the Howell Trophy in men’s college basketball, the Gillom Trophy in women’s college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the C Spire Outstanding Player Award series.

“We’re always pleased with the caliber of young men and women who are selected as finalists for the Howell and Gillom awards,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire. “This is shaping up as another strong year in terms of individual performance and leadership on the basketball court. We’re expecting a strong crop of finalists this year,” he said.

All finalists, which will be named March 5, are expected to attend the luncheon event along with their head coaches. Tickets are $35 each and include a buffet-style meal. All proceeds benefit the private, non-profit Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. For ticket information, contact the Museum at 601-982-8264.

About C Spire Wireless

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