The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum recently introduced their newest class of Inductees which includes Northsiders Dave Randall and Randy Watkins.
“We are very proud to introduce our Class of 2021. This group will stand the test of time with the other great classes that represent the State of Mississippi,” according to Bill Blackwell, executive director of the Hall of Fame and Museum. “Entrance into this Hall of Fame is very difficult to achieve, and to have representation from tennis and golf...is gratifying. We welcome this class and hope we will soon be able to celebrate with a proper induction.” Due to concerns about the pandemic no dates have been set at this time.
Randall, who grew up in Tupelo, may be the most accomplished tennis player in Mississippi history, according to the hall of fame. In high school he was a three-time state champion. He won a doubles title and two singles crowns. Twice he qualified for the Boys Nationals in Kalamazoo, MI.
Collegiately he attended Ole Miss and became one of their first All-Americans and twice was named All-SEC. He captured three SEC titles in doubles and singles during his career. He led Ole Miss to the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid.
From 1988 to 1999 Randall played on the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour (ATP Tour). Over his career he had doubles wins over 30 top ranked players in the world. He became the first Mississippian to win a draw match at Wimbledon beating Russian Andrei Cherkasov in the opening round in 1993. Dave was a three-time winner of doubles titles and an eight-time finalist.
He is currently the Head Tennis Professional at the River Hills Club in Jackson and is a member of the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame.
Currently a teaching professional and course owner and manager, Watkins has been involved in Mississippi golf since the 1970s. At the age of 15 he captured the 1977 National Junior Golf Championship. He attended Manhattan Academy for his high school and was a two-time All-American Prep Golfer. In 1979 he was a member of the PGA Junior Ryder Cup Team and was selected the PGA Junior Amateur that same year. While he played as a junior he won 20 different tournaments.
After turning down offers from some of the top golf programs in the country, Watkins went to Ole Miss. Named a team MVP, by his junior year he was named Mississippi Golfer of the Year by the Clarion-Ledger. His round of 65 in the Mississippi Intercollegiate remains one of the lowest rounds in school history. He was selected All-SEC and All-American and was Medalist in three tournaments his senior year. The Country Club of Jackson held Randy Watkins Day to honor him.
He spent one season competing on the PGA Tour after qualifying at Q-School. His highest finish was 8th place at the Miller High Life Quad City Open.
He owns and operates three clubs in the Jackson metro area and is very active supporting Junior Golf in this state.
For more information about the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, visit msfame.com.