Picayune Item

 

 

By ROB SIGLER
Item Sports Editor


     When Picayune takes to the field for their first round playoff game tonight, the voice

over the loudspeakers at Tide Stadium will be a familiar one.  Geri Grubbs, or "Grubby"

to those who know him best, has been broadcasting or calling Maroon Tide games for

about 15 years.Grubbs got into broadcasting Picayune sports at WRJW and did Maroon

Tide football, baseball and basketball for over 10 years on the radio before going into

the public address press box this season to do strictly football.


    Once the gridiron season is over, Grubbs will resume his duties as the voice

of Maroon Tide basketball games at Kelly Wise gym. "Coach (Dean) Shaw just

thinks I'm the greatest thing in the world and I hope nobody tells him any different,"

said Grubbs. "But he got me in the arena in New Orleans to announce there last

year . He got me into the Gulf Coast Coliseum to do announcing there. He don't

know any better." Sam Adkins, known for years as the Voice of the Maroon Tide

before passing away of cancer in 1999, got Grubby into doing the p.a. announcing.
"My p.a. announcing wasn't just something I went up and did," said Grubbs.
"I had the privilege of working with Sam (Adkins). He was the ultimate p.a .
announcer. He knew how it was to be done. He was a professional, even though I'm not.

I mean, I'm not. He did everything by the book. Like it was suppose to be done. I'm a little

rough around the edges on that. I try to be more of a fan sometimes than a professional.

It gets me in trouble sometimes, but I like to personalize it with the fans a little bit."
    Like many who watched him, Grubbs was amazed at Adkins' ability to handle
so many things in the press box. "At one time I was just doing music in the booth

between innings," recalled Grubbs. "Sam was doing the play-by-play on the radio.

He did the p.a. announcing between the 'color guy ', which was me. He would announce

The batters. announce the hits, runs and errors between innings. He ran that new score-

board , which was a big deal because it was that brand new electronic scoreboard and

that was a major undertaking to learn how to run that thing. He also kept the official

scorebook , all at one time."After Sam passed away, I took over as just the p.a. announcer

and that was enough. I did the p.a. and the radio. To this day I have no idea how he did
everything."
     To say Adkins was a big influence on Grubbs is a huge understatement. "One thing

I learned from him was not so much the athlete, but as the kid because he also was a

school teacher and he would tell me different things about kids that most people didn't

see ," said Grubbs.
     Grubbs has some great stories and memories of watching and broadcasting Maroon Tide

sports. His most memorable game was Picayune's playoff basketball game at Laurel in 1998.

The winner earned a berth in the state playoffs. "It was amazing," said Grubbs. Picayune beat

the Golden Tornadoes to win the consolation game and earn a trip to the "Big House" in Jackson .
"People were everywhere. They were ten deep around the baseline," recalled Grubbs. "It was one

of the best Maroon Tide experiences I've ever had."
     Besides calling Picayune games, Grubbs also got to participate as a Maroon Tide athlete.
As a defensive back on the Picayune football team, Grubbs got to play for the legendary Calvin Triplett,

who came back to Picayune his senior season. The most fun he had, however was playing for Coach

Dewey Partridge his sophomore and junior seasons.   "We had a blast," said Grubbs. "But my favorite

coach to play for was John Hughes. Best coach I've ever had, bar none," said Grubbs. Triplett laid the

groundwork for his championship team that first season as Picayune went from consecutive 3-7 seasons

to 8-3 in 1982, losing to South Natchez in the South State . Picayune also beat Columbia in the J.J.

Holcomb Bowl that season.
     Besides being a standout for the Maroon Tide football team, Grubbs also lettered at Moss Point High

School , perhaps the only person to ever accomplish the feat.  "It was my sophomore year and I started

against Moss Point because Keith Courtney, one of our defensive backs had played North Natchez against

Hugh Green, who played a big professional career, had broken one of his ribs and punctured one of his lungs,

so I got to start.I thought that was a good thing against Moss Point . I got burnt three times for touchdowns.

I'll never forget it was one of those Wonsley kids. They had them for like 12 years straight Wonsley kids that

went on played big. So when we got our (lettermen) jackets that year, I lettered for Picayune and Coach

Partridge made the statement that my jacket from Moss Point would
be in a little bit later. I had lettered there too."
     Grubbs went on to play at Pearl River Junior College for J.C. Arban in an effort to continue his football career.
"I wanted to be a professional football player, but the Lord didn't see fit for me to do that," said Grubbs jokingly.

"I just wasn't big enough. I was decent, average. I ran like a 4.9. I went to junior college and we had linebackers

running 4.8s. I knew I was in trouble."
     The professional football career didn't pan out and Grubbs went out and got a real job. He's currently the

sales manager for a car dealership in Purvis.  Besides calling Picayune sports, Grubbs is also a collector of

Picayune sports memorabilia. He has autographed baseballs, basketballs and other signed mementos. He's also

a huge NASCAR racing fan and his music career has allowed him to meet and get autographs some well known

entertainers. He has much of his collection on display at his shop behind his home.

    "I've got a wife ( Laurin ) that allows me to collect all this," said Grubbs. "She let me do this so I could get it

all out of the house. She wanted all of my fish and deer heads out of her house."
     Broadcasting is his favorite hobby and focusing just on p.a. announcing has been enjoyable this season,

according to Grubbs.  "It's been a blessing for me. (Coach) Dodd (Lee) asked me to do the p.a. to replace Jason

Baker who is moving up. Coach Lee just gave me free reign to keep the crowd pumped up and have fun," said

Grubbs. "Not being on the radio has allowed me to go to the away games and holler at the refs and criticize the

coach and just be a fan."  

    "I just love Picayune sports," said Grubbs.