Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Mississippi’s Greatest Athletes: Pontotoc’s Ike Knox

Ike Knox  Photo courtesy of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame
Ike Knox
Photo courtesy of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

Legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice, reporting on Vanderbilt’s football victory over Ole Miss in 1908, called Ike Knox: “a sensation in light hair, broad shoulders and stocky frame that gave both the Commodore offense and de- fense a shock that will not soon be forgotten.”

But there was more from Rice: “Time and again, as a Commodore back would start down the field, the gorilla-like arms of the demon Knox would encircle his frame and said runner wasn’t only checked, but more often still, literally hurled yards towards his own goal line.” In another article Rice wrote that only the mediocrity of his team kept Knox from being regionally and nationally famous: “If Knox had been upon a Vanderbilt, Sewanee or Auburn eleven he would more than likely have been hailed as one of the greatest halfbacks of the decade.”

A native of Pontotoc, who lived in Vicksburg, Knox was born Feb. 2, 1887. He lettered on the first Ole Miss basketball team in 1909. He was also an All-South fullback and an Honorable Mention All- American in 1908 for the football team. He won four letters by participating with Ole Miss baseball from 1906-09. Knox died in 1969.


Courtesy of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum director Rick Cleveland, author of Mississippi’s Greatest Athletes. Cleveland can be reached at rcleveland@msfame.com.