Ole Miss SID To Get His Name in the Record Book
By: Adam Brown
Langston Rogers, special assistant to the Ole Miss Athletic Director and a red and blue sports icon who has spent his career working behind the scenes of collegiate athletics, will soon find his own name in the record books as an inductee into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
When Rogers is officially inducted in a ceremony in Jackson on August 2, he will be only the third sports information director so honored by the Hall in the first 50 years of its existence. Mississippi State University’s Bob Hartley was named to the Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and Southern Mississippi’s Ace Cleveland became the second inductee in 1998.
“I am very proud and honored …,” Rogers said in a recent interview with HottyToddy.com. “I look on this as an honor for the people who are in the profession of sports information. I have really enjoyed being in the background. Most of all, I am pleased for my profession.”
Rogers’ career in sports began at East Mississippi Junior College in 1961, where he played baseball and learned the end and outs of being a statistician under the tutelage of Bob “Bull” “Cyclone” Sullivan, his baseball coach and journalism professor. Rogers was also the student sports information director at East Mississippi Junior College.
Following his time at East Mississippi, Rogers moved on to Delta State University in Cleveland, where he earned both his Bachelors of Science in Education and his Masters in Education degrees.
Upon graduation, Rogers was on his way to accept a position as a teacher in Cobb County, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, when Delta State offered him a full time job.
“I’ve been very grateful to have an early entry into the profession on the college level, and I’ve really enjoyed it,” Rogers said.
The Voice of Delta State and Ole Miss
In his first four years at Delta State, Rogers handled both news and sports information for the university. When both jobs became too much for one person to handle, the university split the two positions, and Rogers took on the roll of Sports Information Director.
“That was when I could really zero in on sports information,” Rogers said.
Rogers came to the University of Mississippi in 1981, when Warner Alford hired him as the Sports Information Director based on his 17-year track record at Delta State.
At the age of 36, Rogers became the youngest president of CoSIDA (College Sports Information of America). He served 11 years on its board of directors, and in 2008, was honored with CoSIDA’s Trailblazer Award and recognized as a pioneer in the field of sports information.
“ I was really humbled when I received the Trailblazer Award,” Rogers said.
Although Rogers said he finds every aspect of his present position enjoyable, the most rewarding part of his job in the Sports Information Office is being around the student athletes and working with the different people at Ole Miss.
“ I have many memories, certainly of games, but I think my fondest memories would be just of watching these men and women student athletes come into Ole Miss, really as kids, and leave here as young adults. “Until this day, I continue to have so many friendships with the athletes that came to Ole Miss, and that is what I remember most of all,” Rogers said.
One athlete in particular stands out in Rogers’ memory.
“The experience with Eli (Manning) is something that I will always cherish. When he came in as a freshman, we knew that he was going to be red-shirted. We knew that he would not play his freshman year. There would be a great demand on him from the media, and I was just so impressed with the way he conducted himself as an 18-year old-freshman …”
Rogers said the youngest Manning showed a wisdom well beyond his years.
“With the maturity that he demonstrated, it was obvious that he grew up around the media. He had watched how different members of his family handled different situations, and the education he received from just watching them all those years as a child really carried over to his days here at Ole Miss. Obviously, he not only had a great impact on the football team, but the university, the Ole Miss fan base and the Oxford community.”
In his 31 years at Ole Miss, Rogers has seen a lot of coaches and their families come and go. Often, he said, it was difficult to see coaches leave the university after working with them on a day-to-day basis.
“Because you do hurt with those players in that locker room and those families, and those coaches, and you have to be sensitive to that.”
Although Rogers was head of a sports information department that oversaw the publicity for 18 different sports, he says his first love has always been football.
If last year’s disappointing 2-10 season was a low point, the fight that the Ole Miss coaches and team have shown this season has Rogers quite encouraged as to where the Rebels are headed in the future.
“Coach Freeze talks about winning the day. They’ve done that. These players have laid it on the line. I think there are great days ahead, not only for Coach Freeze but for this University.”
Rogers Inducted Into Hall of Fame
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