BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – High school and college football coach John Williams and former Indians basketball star Seber Windham, who now coaches at Biloxi High School, are unanimous selections to the 2019 Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame.
Williams and Windham head an impressive group of 13 inductees, which includes three Biloxi Boxing Club legends, a 165-pound walk-on center on the 1949 LSU Sugar Bowl team, two of the area’s best-ever high school baseball pitchers and a former Biloxi Dodgers pitcher who has distinguished himself over 40 years of umpiring high school softball.
More than 30 nominations were considered this year. The 2019 induction ceremony will be held Aug. 25 at the Biloxi Civic Center.
In eight seasons as the head football coach at Biloxi High, Williams compiled a record of 179-92, including an 11-0 State Championship season in 1968. He left Biloxi to become head coach at Mississippi College for 19 years. His record of 124-78 at MC was highlighted by a 1989 Division II National Championship, when the Choctaws powered through an 11-3 season.
Windham is the successful head basketball coach at Biloxi High School and was an outstanding athlete there in baseball and basketball. As one of Coach Jackie Laird’s leaders, Windham helped Biloxi win consecutive State Basketball Championships in 1988-89 and 1989-90. He joins his parents, William and Shirley, in the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame.
George Creel in the 1940s, David Ward in the 1950s and Paul Webster in the 1970s helped sustain the Biloxi Boxing Club’s reputation as the premier local club not only on the Mississippi Coast but also across the Southeast.
Though undersized, Lou Pitalo was a standout football lineman at Biloxi High in the early 1940s. His college career had to wait when he joined the United States Coast Guard, where he also participated in competitive rowing and boxing until his discharge in 1946.
He resumed his football career at Perkinston Junior College, where he was an honorable mention All-American and a leader for the school’s 1948 National Championship team. He walked on at LSU and became the starting center and linebacker even though he usually lined up against players 40 pounds heavier.
Charlie Nobles with the Indians and Byron Meaut with the Notre Dame Rebels were two of the city’s best high school baseball pitchers in the 1960s.
Nobles pitched a no-hitter and posted an overall record of 19-1 at Biloxi High, leading the Indians to a State Championship in 1965. He was a star pitcher on two State Title teams at Perkinston and a standout for Bellhaven College.
Meaut was a versatile athlete but distinguished himself as a southpaw pitcher at Notre Dame, throwing a 16-strikeout no-hitter as a sophomore. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1969 but signed a full scholarship at Ole Miss, where he was a standout player and leader, especially during a 1972 season that resulted in an SEC Championship and a berth in the College World Series.
A pitcher for the Biloxi Dodgers from 1966-69, Roger Smith is more known for his four decades of umpiring high school softball. He is a three-time Mississippi High School Activities Association Umpire of the Year. He umpired 15 MHSA State Championships and was inducted into the American Softball Association Umpire National Indicator Club in 2000.
See below for a full list of the inductees and their bios:
A 1952 graduate of Biloxi High, Creel first established himself as a hard-hitting knockout specialist in the late 1940s. After an exceptional boxing career, he became a co-founder of the Biloxi Boxing Club. As a volunteer coach and manager, he developed numerous Golden Gloves champions and helped bring regional and national boxing tournaments to Biloxi.
A scintillating kick returner with “take it to the house” speed, Hill was an offensive juggernaut for the early-1980s Biloxi Indians. His speed and elusiveness quickly elevated him among Mississippi Coast receivers. A threat to score every time he touched the ball, he earned the nickname Anthony “Thrill” Hill.
In 1963 and ’64, he played on the Biloxi Indians football team. Yet Alan Marsland earned his entry into the Sports Hall of Fame by epitomizing the volunteer coach, booster and sports supporter. He has served on the Biloxi Girls Softball League Board of Directors for 30 years. He has coached the sport for decades as well, producing stars like Alabama pitcher Krystal Goodman. And he has been a tireless supporter of local sports, including his founding of the Biloxi Diamond Club and creating he Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Baseball Concessions.
Known for his fluid moves and speed in basketball and track, Chris McGee earned National High School Football All-American Honorable Mention as a senior at Biloxi High in 1982. He was a gifted wide receiver and was selected to the Mississippi High School All Star game. He earned All-Harrison County and All-Big Eight honors in basketball at BHS, and was a track standout and State award winner. He also won Player of the Week honors seven times while a receiver at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is perhaps best known as the player who caught Brett Favre’s first college touchdown pass at USM.
D’Jon “BoBo” McNair
Nominated by his former coach at BHS, Bobo McNair is considered one of Jackie Laird’s best basketball players, which is an outstanding compliment considering the large number of star players Laird coached for the Indians. His accolades include: All State, All Star Team, All Big Eight, All District and Street & Smith Magazine All American Honorable Mention. As a star player at Southeastern Louisiana University, McNair collected even more awards, including All Academic, All Defensive Team, Most Valuable Player, Gulf South Conference Team and Louisiana College All Star team.
Byron developed his baseball skills in Biloxi summer programs from Little League to Pony League to Colt League to American Legion. His skills grew through each phase and by the time he played as a sophomore at Notre Dame, he was a standout. He struck out 16 while pitching a no-hitter his first year on the varsity. His velocity and breaking pitches overwhelmed many hitters, eventually leading to his Major League Draft selection by the Montreal Expos. Instead, he signed a scholarship to Ole Miss and helped the Rebels to an SEC Championship and College World Series appearance in 1972.
A driving force behind Biloxi’s 1965 High School Baseball State Championship, Charlie Nobles’ pitching record for the Indians was 19-1. At Perkinston Jr. College, he helped the Bulldogs win two State titles, pitching two no-hitters and bating .358. At Bellhaven College, he hit .338 and continued his pitching prowess. For his career, Nobles was 51-4 pitching, and he was part of nine State championships at various levels.
Alex “Lou” Pitalo
A standout, if undersized high school football player at Biloxi High, Pitalo delayed his college football ambitions to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard in the latter stages of WWII. When he returned to the Coast, he accepted an opportunity to play football at Perkinston, helping the Bulldogs to State and National titles in his final year. He advanced to LSU in Baton Rouge, and excelled even though he was an undersized lineman. After graduating, he began a distinguished high school coaching career by helping start a program at Broadmoor that grew into a State Championship in just six years.
Another of the Biloxi Dodgers to make the Hall of Fame, Roger Smith is better known as one of the State’s most respected high school softball umpires. A 1968 graduate of Nichols High School, he pitched for the Dodgers from 1966-69. He has umpired softball for more than 43 years, including 15 Mississippi High School Activities Association State Championships. He is a three-time Mississippi High School Association Umpire of the Year and is a member of the ASA Umpire National Indicator Club.
David Ward Sr.
One of the Coast’s premier amateur boxers starting in the 1950s, David Ward went on to coach the Biloxi Boxing Club for eight years. His fighters won 28 overall team titles and 20 Mississippi Golden Gloves and AAU Championships. He also was a longtime volunteer coach of Little League and Pony League baseball.
Although he graduated from Ocean Springs High School in 1979, Paul Webster earned his induction into the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame by crafting an incredible amateur boxing record from 1974-78. As a member of the Biloxi Boxing Club, his overall record was 158-30. He is a five-time Mississippi Golden Gloves Champion, a three-time Gulf States AAU Champion, and a three-time AAU Junior Olympic Boxing Champion.
During impressive high school and college careers from the 1960s-1990s, John Williams coached his way to the top of football achievements. His Biloxi Indians were 179-92, including an 11-0 State Championship season in 1968. At Mississippi College, he took a perennially losing program and flipped it into an annual winner. The highlight of his career at MC was an 11-3 record in 1989, which produced a Division II College Football Championship.
Today he is known as the successful head coach of the Biloxi Indians basketball program. Back in the mid-to-late 1980s, Seber Windham was a baseball and basketball Phenom at BHS. Team captain of his high school basketball Indians, Seber helped Biloxi win consecutive State Championships in the late 1980s. He was also named Most Valuable Player. His playing career continued in college as a two-sport, scholarship athlete.