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Health Concerns Prompt Moving C Spire Outstanding Player Awards to May 2021


Honors for top college athletes in football, baseball and basketball to be consolidated into single event

Jackson, Mississippi (November 24, 2020) – The state’s top college athletes will have to wait until next year to be honored for their exploits on the field and on the court after C Spire and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame decided to postpone the Outstanding Player Awards due to the ongoing public health emergency.

C Spire, sponsor of the outstanding player awards program for all major college sports in Mississippi since 1998, and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced Monday that four separate awards for college football, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball would be consolidated into a single event tentatively set for Tuesday, May 24, 2021.

A specific location and time for the gala event will be announced at a later time, according to MSHOF Executive Director Bill Blackwell, who said organizers are hopeful the virus will wane as multiple vaccines become available and by the time tickets are sold for the event.

‘While the three Division 1 schools are playing football right now and some schools have moved to a spring schedule, we know basketball will be equally challenging with fewer games and it’s uncertain what issues baseball might face,” Blackwell said. “As a result, we decided to honor all these top athletes at one time.”

This is the first time in the 25-year history of the program that the Outstanding Player awards will be conferred at the same time. 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.

“College sports is an important part of our state’s social fabric so we felt it was important that we continue to honor these athletes and schools while giving passionate fans another way to support their favorite teams and players in a safe and responsible way,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Marketing for C Spire.

The four awards and a brief description of each one:

  • Conerly Trophy – the C Spire Conerly Trophy is named after Charlie Conerly, a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer, college All-American, an NFL rookie of the year and NFL All-Pro who quarterbacked the New York Giants to a world championship. Previous winners include former and current NFL players such as Dak Prescott, Eli Manning, Anthony Dixon, Patrick Willis, Deuce McAllister, Jerious Norwood, Michael Boley, Evan Engram, A. J. Brown and Jeffrey Simmons. Prescott and Manning are the only two-time winners in the award’s 25-year history.
  • Howell Trophy – the C Spire Howell Trophy is named after Bailey Howell, a two-time All American at Mississippi State University and a six-time NBA All-Star who played on Boston Celtics world championship teams in 1968 and 1969. Howell, a 1977 Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame inductee and the first male Mississippi player in the National Basketball Hall of Fame, still holds nearly a dozen season and career records at Mississippi State University.
  • Gillom Trophy - the C Spire Gillom Trophy is named after Abbeville, Miss. native Peggy Gillom-Granderson, Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She has coached in the WNBA and the Olympics and retired in 2009 as associate head coach of the Lady Rebels basketball team.
  • Ferriss Trophy – the C Spire Ferriss Trophy is named for the late Dave “Boo” Ferriss, a Magnolia State baseball legend, a Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and long-time Delta State head baseball coach.

About C Spire
C Spire is a privately-owned telecommunications and technology company driven to deliver the best experiences in wireless, fiber internet, and business IT solutions such as internet, VoIP, cloud and managed services. Read more news releases and announcements at For more information, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame exists to promote, preserve and protect Mississippi’s rich sports heritage for this and generations to come. The Museum serves as a destination for sports legends to live forever through interactive displays and exhibits where visitors can play, live and dream. The 501(c)(3) organization recognizes excellence in athletics and contributions to sports. For more information about the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, visit or follow us on Facebook at or Twitter at