Feb. 27, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini has announced that Dr. Lanelle Guyton Gafford of Jackson, Miss., has bequeathed a gift of $20,000 in memory of her father, Lannie Eugene Gafford, one of the early pioneers of Golden Eagle football.
"Lannie Gafford was one of the early standouts in Southern Miss football history who helped build the foundation for our program," Giannini said. "The Department of Athletics is truly thankful to Lannie for what he did through his play on the field and to Dr. Lanelle Guyton Gafford for her generous gift in his memory."
Dr. Lanelle Gafford, who holds a doctorate from Ole Miss in the field of microbiology, conducted research for the University Medical Center in Jackson. Even though she didn't attend Southern Miss, she gave the gift because of her remembrance of the love and passion her father had for Southern Miss.
Lannie Gafford was a pioneer in Southern Miss football and earned his spot in the 1975 Class of the M-Club Alumni Association Sports Hall of Fame through hard work, a dedication to purpose and his school.
Gafford was a two-way guard that played from 1920-23. During his four seasons, he not only established himself as one of the school's best players, but one of its most skillful lineman.
Few players in the history of Southern Miss football have been able to be a starter for four consecutive seasons, but Gafford accomplishment that feat, playing in one of the toughest spot, the line.
The 1920 team with Gafford in the starting lineup would finish the year with a 5-2-1 record. It was an explosive offensive football team that year that scored 64, 40 and 32 points in three games that year. On the defensive side, they had four shutouts, held an opponent to just a safety and another opponent to just a touchdown.
The 1921 team would finish the year with a 3-4 record and set a school record when they scored a 113-0 win over Smith County High School.
In 1922, Gafford's third straight as a starter in the line, Austin's team would go only 2-6. Although it wasn't the type of season Southern Miss fans had hoped for, they couldn't be disappointed in the play of Gafford that season. He was one of the bright spots and although the team sputtered that year, Gafford was impressive despite the fact he drew double times most of the season.
In 1923, the team would go 3-3 in the final year and Gafford would go out in a fury that year, having probably his best season. He continued to do it on both sides of the ball, and without his solid play on the line, it might have been a long season.
Gafford also played basketball from 1920-22 and baseball in 1922 and 1923.