Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame to add 15

The owner of the revered semi-pro baseball team the Biloxi Dodgers, the most outstanding athlete of Notre Dame High School’s penultimate year and a state representative headline the 2015 selections of the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame.

Rosell Horne operated a popular barber shop on Main Street for many years, but it was his decades-long ownership of the Biloxi Dodgers that earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame. Greg Breal led the Notre Dame Rebels to a state championship in baseball in 1980, but was also an outstanding quarterback and the leading scorer on the basketball team. And State Representative Randall Patterson was a standout baseball player at Biloxi High and Perkinston Junior College, where he helped lead the Bulldogs to a state championship.

Horne, Breal and Patterson head a stellar group of 15 exceptional athletes who will be inducted into the Biloxi Hall of Fame Aug. 30 at the Biloxi Civic Center. The others are: Dale Chatham, Bob Collins, Gary Dronet, Alyssa Donovan Farrell, Mike Felsher, Pam Ferrill, Samuel T. Nichols Jr., Jeff Pickich, Bobby Pisarich, Daryl Posey, Jeanna Stanley and Anthony Vereen.

“Biloxi has a long history of excellence in athletics and this year’s Hall of Fame class underscores that distinction,” said Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich. “Each of the new inductees is an inspiration as an athlete, but also as a community leader. Every one of them has given back to their community on some level.”

Horne’s team was a remnant of the old Negro Leagues that operated in the Deep South when black players weren’t allowed to play with whites. The Biloxi Dodgers played teams from Jackson, Mobile, New Orleans, Pensacola, Hattiesburg and other cities within a three-hour drive. Hank Aaron and Willie Mays both played in the same circuit before breaking into Major League Baseball.

Although Horne’s Dodgers initially were all-black, he became the first owner to include white players on his team in the late 1960s.

Breal was named MVP of his senior football, basketball and baseball teams in 1980, the penultimate year of Notre Dame, which a year later would become Mercy Cross and later became St. Patrick. He was named All-District and All-Region in football, basketball and baseball his senior year. A scholar-athlete at Notre Dame from 7th to 12th grade, Breal was selected to the Mississippi High School All-Star baseball game and was a standout pitcher at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi. He also was one of the Coast’s premier amateur golfers. He joins his cousin Jim Howarth in the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame.

Patterson was a standout baseball player on 10 different state championship teams from youth baseball through junior college at Perkinston. He started at shortstop for three straight seasons at Biloxi High, and hit .417 his sophomore year at Perk.

2015 Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame

Greg Breal:  He was the dominant athlete at Notre Dame throughout his high school career, which was underscored by a state baseball championship his senior year during which he his .463 and had a 2.70 ERA, including a no-hitter and 104 strikeouts in 70 innings. Though an injury curtailed his baseball career in college, he soon emerged as an outstanding golfer and is one of the best ball-strikers in Coast golf.

Dale Chatham: A crafty pitcher, he tossed a perfect game at Biloxi High in 1977 and a no-hitter in the state championships for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 1979. He was a national junior college All-American at Perk, and a two-time draftee (Cincinnati in ’79, Atlanta in ’82).

Bob Collins: A standout baseball player while growing up in Marlboro, MA, he played with the Boston Braves before an injury ended his career. He soon joined the U.S. Air Force and later ended a three-decade career at Keesler in Biloxi. Once his playing days were over, he moved into coaching and then officiating. He became one of the top basketball officials in the Metro Conference and then in the Southeastern Conference. He distinguished himself as a Division I official, while also dedicating much of his professional life to leading the American Red Cross chapter on the Mississippi Coast.

Gary Dronet: A longtime pitcher whose career included a stint with the Biloxi Dodgers, he first came to prominence in 1963 when he led his Little League team to a state championship. In one game, the southpaw struck out 18 batters in 6 innings. He later became a star pitcher at Biloxi High and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He ended his pitching career with the Biloxi Dodgers, where he was one of the first Caucasians to play on the team.

Alyssa Donovan Farrell: Her talent for middle distance running was first recognized when she won a City of Biloxi 1-mile race at the age of 10. At Biloxi High, she won state championships in the 880 in 1993 and in the Mile and 880 in 1995 and was selected All-State from 10th to 12th grade. At the United States Naval Academy, her college career was equally outstanding.  She won eight varsity letters, was team captain 1994-1995, and was named All-Patriot League 1997-1998.

Mike Felsher: One of the Coast’s best high school basketball players at Biloxi High in the early 1960s, he also starred in college at Perkinston and Belhaven.¬† After his basketball career, he took up tennis and quickly became one of the Coast’s best amateur dooubles players despite a fulltime career in the insurance industry.

Pam Ferrill:  A standout basketball and tennis player at Biloxi High and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, she also has been a longtime supporter of youth athletics in her hometown. A 1972 graduate of BHS, she was voted Most Athletic in 1973-1974 at Perkinston as a member of the basketball team that finished second nationally her sophomore year. Pam has been a longtime volunteer for Biloxi High sports teams and for youth sports leagues. Her parents are also in the Biloxi Sports HoF.

Rosell Horne: A committed public servant, he was best known as the genial owner of the Streamline Beauty & Barber Shop and the Biloxi Dodgers, one of the teams in the Southern Negro League. He personally financed a team comprised of talented players who weren’t allowed to play in white-only leagues. The Dodgers usually played double-headers each Sunday afternoon at the old Lee Street stadium, drawing mixed crowds long before Horne added white players. He is recognized as one of the trailblazers in black baseball at a museum in Birmingham, AL.

Samuel T. Nichols Jr..:  A retired Army General, Nichols was an All-South Big 8 and All-State Big 8 football star at Biloxi High in the early 1970s. He was named to the South Squad of the state high school All Star game and played collegiately for Mississippi State University, where he became an All-SEC guard. He was a free agent signee of the Buffalo Bills in 1978. He also coached high school football and in the Southwest Athletic Conference for Mississippi Valley State (1980) and Southern University (1981, 1984).

Randall Patterson: A multi-sport star at BHS, he was best-known as a smooth-fielding shortstop and outstanding hitter in high school and junior college. His teams won state championships in Little League, Pony League, Colt League, American Legion and junior college. He hit .471 his sophomore year at Perk, where he was inducted into the school’s athletics Hall of Fame.

Jeff Pickich: Baseball MVP his senior year at Mercy Cross, he was also voted All-District, All-County and All-State. As a pitcher that year, he was 12-4 with a 1.52 ERA and 162 strikeouts.  As a shortstop when not pitching, he hit .374 with three home runs, 13 doubles and two triples. He went on to excel at USM with a career record of 20-11 for three seasons before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was 3-1 with the Welland Pirates (Canada) before a career-ending injury to his pitching arm.

Bobby Pisarich: With a career record of 67-4, he was one of the premier amateur boxers on the Coast and across the state. He boxed for Notre Dame High School while still in grammar school. He never lost a bout at Notre Dame and also was a standout football player, graduating in 1950. He won numerous AAU and Golden Gloves titles in his career, which included a stellar performance for LSU. He won the Welterweight title in the 1955 Sugar Bowl Tournament and was pictured earlier that year in Sports Illustrated.

Daryl Posey: A perennial all-star in youth sports and a multi-sport standout, Posey hit his stride as a football star at Biloxi High School and Mississippi College.  He was an All-Region star running back for the Biloxi Indians, and considered by many to be the best fullback ever at BHS. He was a standout for Mississippi College and was later drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1983.

Jeana Erickson Stanley: One of the best-ever female athletes at Biloxi High, she was a standout relay runner who also captured a 400-yard regional title her junior year. She won five varsity letters in slow-pitch softball and four in fast pitch, and was the Sun Herald Girls Soccer Player of the Year in 2005. She accepted a scholarship to William Carey, where she was an NAIA All-American in soccer and track.

Anthony Vereen: An All-Conference running back his senior year at BHS, he led the Indians to a berth in the state championship game. He also lettered three years in basketball and led his team to the state track championship in 1976, where his 800-yard relay team won the title. He signed a football scholarship at Southeastern Louisiana, lettered four years and was named to the first team of the All-Gulf States Conference in 1978. He played in the 43rd Annual Blue-Gray college all-star game and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1981. He was inducted into the Southeastern Louisiana University Hall of Fame in 2009.