I know lots has been said and written about Stan Torgerson since his death, but I couldn't let this one go without chiming in.
I knew Stan Torgerson before I ever met him. Like so many of you, I listened to him as a kid growing up. He was our link, our bond, to the mighty Ole Miss Rebels and their games.
Of course so was color man Lyman Hellums, who later in my life became a close family friend. Lyman and his late wife Irene had relatives in my hometown of Baldwyn and they also ran the Natchez Trace Golf Club in the 1980s and into the 90s, the golf course where I grew up.
"Heeeeeeee Scoooooooores!!!!!" Only Stan could shake the fixtures in a living room with his booming voice through a radio, even if I was in Baldwyn and he was in Gainesville or Baton Rouge or Athens.
"The ball is thrown in. Tuohy gets it. Throws it high in the air. The horn sounds. The ballgame is over. The Rebels have won. They are the champions of the Southeastern Conference!!!!!"
That was Stan on the night Ole Miss beat Georgia for the SEC men's basketball tourney title in Birmingham in 1981. I have that one on tape.
I communicated with Stan about getting some of his old broadcasts. He made what he called " a montage of the past" and put on the tape that hoops call in Birmingham along with some others, including the 38-0 thrashing of Tennessee in 1969, the dramatic 19-18 win over Tulane in the Louisiana Superdome in 1981, the Immaculate Deflection game when the Rebs beat State 24-23 in 1983, and probably my favorite of them all when the "He Scores" came in rapid-fire succession.
"There's the snap, and the handoff. But Fourcade keeps it. He Scores! He scores! He scoooooores!!!!!"
It was the final offensive play of the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game of 1981, a 21-17 Rebel victory. And it was Stan at his finest.
In 1972 in the 17-16 loss at LSU, when victory was stolen from the Rebs, Stan was at a loss for words and admitted it. The Tigers scored on the "extra" play. The game should have been over one play earlier with Ole Miss leaving the bayou victorious.
"Oh my Lord, I can't stand it," Stan said on the broadcast as the clock still showed one second left with one more play to go and the Rebels up 16-10. Stan never hid his emotions or worried that he might sound biased on his broadcasts.
Moments later: "What can I say?" Stan said after pausing for at least 15 to 20 seconds following his announcement to listeners that LSU had scored a touchdown and made the extra point. "I really don't know what to say."
And then Stan went right on and did what he always did best. He painted a picture through the airwaves of what he called "one of the most painful moments in all my years with Ole Miss."
"I can tell you there is some celebrating going on in the grandstands and on the field that you wouldn't believe. I know there must be tears in the Ole Miss locker room, tears of bitter, bitter anguish as the Rebels so gallantly, gallantly played this football game only to lose it on a Bert Jones to Brad Davis pass on the last play of the football game and Rusty Jackson's point after touchdown 17-16."
Stan wrote columns for us here at The Ole Miss Spirit for a number of years. Faxed them in or e-mailed them in. I got to talk to him on the phone once in a while when he'd call to make sure we got his latest piece. I always knew I was talking with one of the links to my childhood and college years.
I last saw Stan and his sweet wife Dorothy in the press box at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium last fall. The last several years they made it to Oxford from their home in Meridian for one game or so a season. Stan's health had declined over the years, and last fall he didn't look like he felt well at all. He was always such a large man, but he had lost a lot of weight over the years, some of it by choice and some of it through illness.
But through it all and with Dorothy by his side, he smiled as myself and many others paused to say hello and reminisce for just a few moments, and maybe even thank him for bringing the Rebels into our homes and hearts.
He always seemed to enjoy moments like those and was obviously thrilled being up here with fellow Rebels. Often the past few seasons, he and Dorothy would sit by Lyman and his wife Jeanette in the press box to watch the games, and I could only think to myself what that radio duo had meant not only to me but to so many Ole Miss fans everywhere.
Stan was to us what David Kellum is to kids these days and to Ole Miss students this century. Stan didn't call a Rebel game after 1984, but it just doesn't seem like 22 years since we last heard his powerful, emotional, edge-of-your-couch call of a Rebel football or basketball contest.
"There's the snap. Powell drops back to pass. He's looking, looking. He fires it down deep into coffin corner," as Stan's voice at this point literally cracks with emotion and excitement on the air during the game-winning touchdown at Tulane in 1981.
"It is a touchdown for Ole Miss! Breck Tyler took it away from the defender and scoooooooored!"
Rest in peace, great Ole Miss Rebel. We'll miss you, ole friend.
One more from the Spirit staff for ole Stan
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