Brick sale to help with maintenance, expansion of LHS ‘museum’
The Laurel Golden Tornadoes’ football program boasts a long, rich history that predates most other programs in the state.
For information on buying a brick, contact Laurel High head football coach Todd Breland at firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1930, the Tornadoes hosted the first night football game ever played in Mississippi. For decades, they were members of the famed Big 8 Conference, which they have several conference title trophies to show for.
Perhaps most notably, their century-long rivalry with the Hattiesburg Tigers has become one of the most storied matchups in the South.
The same amount of school pride that went into building that history has also gone into preserving it. A century’s worth of Tornadoes football has been collected and displayed in the Jimmy Bass Memorabilia Room, right next to the home team locker room “Between the Bricks” at Watkins Stadium.
The room has become somewhat of museum in its own right. Displayed in cases are countless items, such as Bobby Moore’s No. 11 jersey that he sported as a member of the team from 1949 to 1952, the original Lil Brown Jug trophy that went missing, but was eventually retrieved, and a football with a rope attached to it that former assistant coach Jimmy Gatwood once made to be carried around school all day by a running back who caught a bad case of “butterfingers.”
“It’s really humbling to be in here sometimes,” LHS head coach Todd Breland said as he gave a tour of the room. “There are a lot of mornings where I’ll just come in here, turn the lights on in the trophy cases, turn on this lamp and sit down with a cup of coffee. To me, it’s the most peaceful place in the world.”
The community has taken a lot of pride in contributing to the Memorabilia Room, to the point where there has become a lack of space to display all the things that have been donated. A new display case was added five years ago and has already been filled, which Breland says is a great problem to have.
As a way to raise funds for maintenance and additions to the room, Laurel’s Gold Club now sells bricks inside the room for $30 apiece to the alumni who helped create its history. Once purchased, the buyer’s name, position and years spent with the program are written and posted on the wall along with the others. The walls have already begun to fill with the names of former players, cheerleaders, coaches and even team doctors who have played a role in building the program into what it is today.
With the Tornadoes continually adding to their legacy of success, along with the unwavering support of the community — much like the bricks in the walls that bear their names — the collection inside the Jimmy Bass Memorabilia Room will continue to expand to tell even more stories from past, present and future generations of the teams.