East Mississippi Community College will have the proud distinction of seeing two alumni inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson this weekend (Aug. 2-3). Bill Buckner, regional director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Langston Rogers, special assistant to the athletics director at Ole Miss, will be part of a six-member class to be honored during the 51st annual BancorpSouth Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
Highlighted by the induction banquet at the Hilton Jackson on Friday night, the weekend will also include activities at the Hall of Fame Museum on Saturday. Saturday’s activities include a meet and greet with Hall of Famers (9:30-11:00 a.m.) and the annual Drawdown of Champions, sponsored by Wells Moore Simmons & Hubbard and Puckett Machinery. Saturday will also feature a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other items.
For ticket information on the BancorpSouth Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, please contact the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum by calling 1-800-280-FAME (3263) or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The additions of Buckner and Rogers will give East Mississippi Community College four members enshrined in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, joining former EMCC football coaches Bob “Bull” Sullivan and Tom Goode, who were inducted in 1984 and 1990, respectively.
Along with Buckner and Rogers, who were former protégés of the legendary Coach Sullivan during the 1960s on the Scooba campus, other members of this year’s Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame induction class include: Jimmie Giles, former Alcorn State standout and NFL Pro Bowler with Tampa Bay; Gerald Glass, former basketball great at Ole Miss and Delta State; Earnest Larry “Doc” Harrington, long-time athletic trainer at Southern Miss; and the late Michael Rubenstein, one of the founders of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and its first executive director until his death in December 2011.
Buckner is a Starkville native who went on to enjoy a stellar collegiate football career at East Mississippi and Delta State. He owns the unique distinction of earning team MVP honors for three different schools within a five-year period. Following a standout prep career at Starkville High School, Buckner was a two-time NJCAA All-American quarterback (1963-64) for Sullivan’s EMJC Lions before spending a year at Mississippi State and then becoming a two-time All-American at Delta State.
After being selected in the 17th round of the 1967 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, Buckner led the Alabama Hawks (Falcons’ farm team) to back-to-back Continental Football League division titles in 1968 and 1969 while also beginning his coaching career. Buckner returned to the Scooba campus for a four-year stint (1971-74) as the head football coach of the EMCC Lions prior to venturing into the university ranks with assistant coaching stops at Delta State and Mississippi State. Following an eight-year run as head football coach at Hinds Community College, Buckner became state director of Mississippi’s FCA in 1987 and was elevated to regional director in 2001.
A charter member of the EMCC Sports Hall of Fame (2001) as well as the Mississippi Community & Junior College Sports Hall of Fame (2007), Buckner was also a 2005 inductee into the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame.
One of the nation’s most respected and decorated sports publicists, Rogers got his illustrious communications career in intercollegiate athletics started on the Scooba campus in 1961. Brought onboard by Coach Sullivan, the Calhoun City native earned a baseball scholarship to East Mississippi Junior College. While serving as the Lions’ publicity director and team statistician for two years, Rogers was also the editor of the school newspaper, The Collegian. He transferred to Delta State to play baseball for Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Dave “Boo” Ferriss while also covering sports in the school’s publicity office.
After spending 17 years at his alma mater as Delta State’s first full-time sports information director, Rogers was hired by the University of Mississippi in 1981. He supervised the Ole Miss athletic media relations office for 29 years until his retirement in 2010. Rogers has earned nearly every conceivable honor in his chosen profession during his storied 48-year career in sports publicity within the Magnolia State. Along with receiving the prestigious Arch Ward Award from the College Sports Information Directors of America in 2001, Rogers also garnered the organization’s Trailblazer Award in 2008 and was honored with CoSIDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Along with being inducted into the EMCC Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, Rogers is also a hall of fame member of CoSIDA, Delta State University Alumni, Mississippi Sports Writers Association, and Ole Miss Athletics.