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Potter named sportswriter of the year

Oxford EAGLE sports editor Davis Potter has been selected as the top sports writer in the state of Mississippi by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Potter is among 49 of the 104 state Sportscasters and Sportswriters of the Year who are first-time winners.

“This is a huge honor,” Potter said. “There are a lot of talented writers in this state who do great work, and to be recognized by the NSSA as well as other peers in my profession as Mississippi’s best this past year is a blessing.”

A native of Tupelo, Potter, 28, joined the EAGLE as an assistant sports editor in September 2013 and became sports editor in April 2014. He is a 2006 graduate of Tupelo High School and 2011 graduate of Auburn University where he earned a degree in journalism.

Potter said he believes his best story from 2015 was a profile on Lafayette coach (and assistant athletic director) Jimmy Murphrey, who’s been at LHS for more than 40 years. The article was part of last year’s Profile magazine that came out in February.

“Coach Murph is as recognizable a face as you’re going to find here on the local sports scene, but I hope now that our readers have a better understanding of exactly how much he does for the Commodores’ athletics department,” Potter said. “He commits a lot of time to do things that nobody else really wants to do. It was a fun piece to write.”

There were some amazing local sporting events that Potter covered in 2015, but he believes the best moment to cover on deadline last year was Ole Miss men’s basketball’s NCAA Tournament win over BYU in March. Ole Miss erased a 17-point halftime deficit for a 94-90 win in First Four in Dayton.

“BYU had shooters all over the floor, and I thought Ole Miss was done,” Potter said. “Then Ole Miss got on a roll and ended up pulling off the biggest comeback of the entire tournament against a team that pulled off the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history three years earlier in the same building. It was crazy.”

Potter is joined from the Magnolia State by David Kellum of the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network. Kellum has been honored by the NSSA seven times as the Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year.

“Davis is an asset to the EAGLE and his reporting abilities benefit the readers of Lafayette County,” said Editor Stephanie Rebman. “We are proud of his accomplishments and the recognition.”

The 57th annual NSSA awards weekend will be held June 18-20 in Salisbury, North Carolina, and will include the induction of ESPN sports icon Chris Berman, legendary basketball color commentator Billy Packer, former Sports Illustrated sports writer Gary Smith and the late sports writer David Halberstam into the NSSA Hall of Fame.

NBC hockey play-by-play legend Mike “Doc” Emrick will be recognized for the third straight year as the National Sportscaster of the Year, while the National Sportswriter of the Year award will be presented to Tom Verducci, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and SI.com.