hannon High pays tribute to Ralph Wade Bruce

Back in the day when I was a too-short, too-slow high school athlete, I played against some of Northeast Mississippi's best players and coaches.

One of those coaches was Ralph Wade Bruce. Every time our baseball team stepped onto the field against Bruce's Shannon Red Raiders, the game usually wound up being a one-sided rout in favor of the Red Raiders.

Years later, after joining the Daily Journal as a sports writer, I began covering Bruce and his teams. And during one of my previous stints as Neighbors editor, I interviewed him when I did a historical piece on his father, Lamar Bruce, namesake of the lake in Saltillo.

Shannon High School will pay tribute Saturday to the late Ralph Wade Bruce and his coaching contributions to the school. It will dedicate its new baseball field in his memory during a ceremony in between games of a doubleheader against Baldwyn.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Bruce grew up in Saltillo and was a standout athlete at Saltillo High School, graduating in 1965. He played baseball and basketball at then-Itawamba Junior College and played basketball at Mississippi College. He graduated from MC in 1969.

He began his career as an educator in 1969 at Mooreville. He moved on to Shannon, where he coached the girls basketball team to the 1974 Class A state championship and won Tombigbee Conference championships in girls basketball, boys basketball and baseball. He retired from the education field in 1993 and died in 2003 at age 56.

Shannon High School is inviting all of Bruce's former players to a cookout before the ceremony. Those attending must pick up a free ticket from the school. For more information, contact Shannon High School at 767-9566.

Bobby Pepper is editor of Lee County Neighbors. Contact him at 678-1592 or e-mail him at neighbors@djournal.com

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