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Lyman Hellums Passes Away

The Oxford WSUH/WOOR radio team that covered Ole Miss football and basketball games in the 1960's. From left, Bill Burns, engineer; Clant Seay, spotter; Lyman Hellums, color commentator; Stan Torgerson, play-by-play; Larry Grantham, on-field announcer; with Mel Chrestman, co-owner of WUSH/WOOR. - Photo courtesy Brian Kilpatrick
The Oxford WSUH/WOOR radio team that covered Ole Miss football and basketball games in the 1960’s. From left, Bill Burns, engineer; Clant Seay, spotter; Lyman Hellums, color commentator; Stan Torgerson, play-by-play; Larry Grantham, on-field announcer; with Mel Chrestman, co-owner of WUSH/WOOR. – Photo courtesy Brian Kilpatrick

Ole Miss lost another sports legend here Saturday with the passing of Lyman Hellums, 89, who served for 41 years as color analyst of the Rebels’ Football Radio Network.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Jeanette; sons Cliff (Cavette) and Paul Sheffield (Laurie); daughters Kaye Byrd (Eddie) and Rita Campbell (Don); eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be held on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, beginning with visitation at 9 a.m. at Griffith Memorial Baptist Church (5275 Terry Road, Jackson, MS 39212) with the service immediately following at 10 a.m.  Graveside service will be held at Highland Baptist Church Cemetery in Tishomingo, Mississippi., at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Hellums started doing color commentary for Ole Miss football games on radio in the fall of 1955. Over the next 41 years, he worked with eight play-by-play announcers and six head coaches as his voice became a weekly companion for Ole Miss football fans for more than 400 games.  His final game in the broadcast booth was Nov. 25, 1995 in Starkville when the Rebels defeated Mississippi State 13-10.

Hellums, who attended Ole Miss in 1945 and 1946 on the GI Bill, spent 15 years in radio and television before entering private business. His radio experience also included broadcasting football at Lake Charles (La.) High School, Rice University, Central High School in Jackson, and Hinds Junior College.

His first play-by-play partner at Ole Miss was Maury Ferrell, then Art Metzler. In 1959, Hellums teamed with Bill Goodrich for five of the greatest seasons in college football history as Coach John Vaught’s Rebels were 46-4-3 and earned a share of three national championships. After Goodrich came Evan Lewis for two seasons and then his long-running act with Stan Torgerson. Between stints alongside Torgerson, came Charlie McAlexander and Tom Stocker, and finally with today’s “Voice of the Rebels” David Kellum.

“He humanized the broadcasts,” said Torgerson in a 1996 story published in the Oxford Eagle.  “He talked about things like effort and enthusiasm in a general sort of way.  He noticed things that were going on in and around the games that he brought home to listeners.  There’s no question about his love for Ole Miss and its football program.  I remember how happy he was when Ole Miss won, and how sad he was to see the Rebels lose.”

In that same Oxford Eagle story, Hellums talked about his love for Ole Miss.

“Ole Miss is my school, and it’s been awfully good to me,” he said.  “Somebody asked me once that if I was offered another job for more money would I take it.  Of course, I said no.  I was right where I wanted to be.”

In 1996, Hellums was named an honorary member of the Ole Miss M-Club.  Hellums and Torgerson were both honored in 2000 by the Ole Miss Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame with its Contribution to Amateur Football Award.


Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports Information

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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