1998 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Hall, Gordon, Dearing, Smith, Horhn, Farris, Frazier, Bean, Gollott, Lee

Senate Concurrent Resolution 582

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


WHEREAS, "Ace" Cleveland was a sportswriter and longtime sports information director for the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles; and

WHEREAS, born on August 6, 1926, and reared in his favorite City of Hattiesburg, Robert Cleveland would receive the nickname of "Ace" for his high school athletic prowess and not for his writing skills as an "ace" reporter; and

WHEREAS, he played football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and ran track for Hattiesburg High, and was dubbed "Ace" when The Hattiesburg American referred to him as the Hattiesburg Tigers' "ace" kicker; and

WHEREAS, he was a lineman in football, a catcher and first baseman for the Tigers' diamond team, a guard on the hoops team, and also ran sprints including the 100- and 220-yard dashes, earning letters in football, basketball, track and tennis; and

WHEREAS, during his summers in high school he played semi-pro baseball, and upon high school graduation enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and served in the Philippines in World War II; and

WHEREAS, when he returned from his two-year military stint, he began working on his father's dairy farm and continued to play semi-pro baseball, soon being introduced to the newspaper business at age 19 when the Editor of The Hattiesburg American, Leonard Lowrey, attended one of his baseball games; and

WHEREAS, when Ace told Lowrey that he could write better than the baseball beat writer for the paper, Lowrey responded by asking Ace if he could type; and when Ace replied that he typed so fast that the Navy had him teach typing, Lowrey gave him a job; and

WHEREAS, Ace wrote for The Hattiesburg American from 1946 until 1954, and then spent one year writing for The Jackson Daily News; and

WHEREAS, in 1955, Ace returned to Hattiesburg to join the staff of the University of Southern Mississippi as Assistant Director of Public Relations and Sports Information; and

WHEREAS, two years later, in 1957, Ace was appointed Director, and served in that capacity until the two positions were split in 1970 and he concentrated solely on athletics; and

WHEREAS, he wrote sports for nearly 40 years, 31 of which were spent at USM where he helped under-budgeted and under-publicized sports programs gain national recognition for athletic achievement; and

WHEREAS, while serving at USM, Ace received numerous awards for his work; he was a time-honored member of CoSIDA, the College Sports Information Directors of America, and a former member of the American College Public Relations Association; he also was a member of and served as President and Vice-President (twice) of the Mississippi SportsWriters Association; and

WHEREAS, he is considered by his peers as being a pioneer in the sports information profession; and

WHEREAS, Ace witnessed 325 consecutive Golden Eagle football games, ending his streak after retirement only because illness kept him from traveling to road games; and

WHEREAS, Ace's two sons, Rick and Bobby, have followed in his footsteps and are award-winning sportswriters and columnists for The Clarion Ledger; and

WHEREAS, Ace was inducted into the USM Sports Hall of Fame on April 26, 1985, and the press box at M.M. Roberts Stadium is named in his honor; and

WHEREAS, Ace always took sportswriters young and old under his wing, and his hospitality, laughter and affection for people were legendary; and

WHEREAS, it is the policy of this Legislature to commend the achievements of its native sons, which the Legislature now takes great pleasure in doing on this occasion:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MISSISSIPPI STATE SENATE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend Robert "Ace" Cleveland and his family upon his posthumous induction into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, and extend our appreciation for a life so thoroughly devoted to so many young people.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be given to the family of Ace Cleveland.