Webster, Blount Set For HOF Enshrinement
MADISON - Dustin Blount doesn't relive his high school glory days very often. Between being a father of three children and his job as an FBI special agent, there's not a lot of time. Besides, over 25 years have passed since he graduated from MRA. That's a long time ago.
A recent phone call changed that, however. The call, informing him that he had been elected into the MRA Sports Hall of Fame, kindled a lot of old memories for Blount while also giving him reason to pause, take a break from the hustle and bustle of life, and reflect back on his playing days.
"Life moves so fast for me these days; you forget about the old days," said Blount, who now lives in Oxford along with his wife, Joie, and kids Hope (14), Levi (11) and Lane (7). "Obviously, I was very honored and humbled. I wasn't expecting it at all. It was fun to pump the brakes a little, and take a minute to relive those days. Those were good times."
Blount, along with Adam Webster (Class of 1983), will be formally inducted into the MRA Sports Hall of Fame tonight. The induction ceremony will take place in the MRA gymnasium between the varsity girls and boys basketball games. There will also be a meet and greet session scheduled for 5:30 followed by a guest speaker in the newly-minted MRA Dining Commons.
Webster, a CPA, is the National Director of Fundraising Operations for Ducks Unlimited. He lives in Memphis with his wife, Sherry, and kids John, (17), William (15) and Emily Kate 13. He was just as surprised as Blount upon hearing word of the honor.
"I thought I had been long forgotten," said Webster with a chuckle. "I was surprised the people there could remember that far back."
Webster and Blount each left their mark at MRA in multiple sports. MRA had its first winning season in football in 1981-82, Webster's junior year. A year later as a senior, he was a part of the school's first winning season in boys basketball. The Patriots won 28 games that year – Richard Duease's first year as head coach. Meanwhile, a decade later, Blount starred on the undefeated 1992 AAA State Championship football team – the first in program history. That same year, he was also on the basketball team that captured the first Overall championship in program history.
"MRA has won a lot of championships over the years, but it was not always that way," recalled Webster. "I remember being in the ninth grade, and the high school (football) team went 0-10 that year. So, for us to have the first winning season a few years later, we felt like we were a part of an important turnaround for the program. We laid the foundation for the players who followed us."
One such player was Blount, who interestingly enough didn't play football until his senior year. "Looking back, it was a huge mistake on my part," he said. "I was more of a basketball guy at the time. But, it ended up working out pretty well." He was an All-Conference selection that season as a wide receiver/cornerback and went on to play football at Holmes CC for two years and Western Illinois for one year before finishing his career at Delta State.
Blount was also an All-Conference selection in basketball, and he earned the award for best defensive player on the team. In addition, he was the MVP of the track team his senior season. He ran the 200 and 400 meter runs, was a high jumper, and also participated in the relay races. At 5-11, he cleared 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump at the Overall meet.
"I remember Coach Duease coming over to me and mumbling 'that's pretty good,'" Blount said. Pretty good indeed.
"Dustin is one of the best athletes we've had at MRA since I've been here," said Duease, MRA's longtime athletic director and head boys basketball coach. "He was an all-around athlete. He made All-Conference in football in his first year to play and then went on to play college football. That in itself tells you what kind of athlete he was. He was very tough and very competitive."
The same can be said about Webster, who was an All-Conference selection in football as a junior and senior (he played guard and defensive end) and an All-Conference selection in basketball all three years as a small forward. He was the team MVP in basketball as a senior and also was an All-Star in football and basketball that year. Webster also excelled at baseball as a catcher/third baseman.
"Adam was on my first team at MRA in 1982-83. He was the leader of that team," Duease said. "That team won 28 games, something the MRA boys had never done before. That team also beat Jackson Prep that year, which was something they had never done before. He was our leading scorer and leading rebounder. He's a great person, and he was a great athlete."
Duease will introduce Webster at Friday's induction ceremony. Blount's older brother, Daniel, will introduce him. Both are excited about returning to MRA for the ceremony.
"I'm really looking forward to being back at MRA and seeing some friends and hopefully some of my old teammates," Webster said. "I've been back for visits a few times, but this will be the first time I'll get to see a basketball game. I still keep up with the school. I'm proud of what MRA has become."
Said Blount: "It should be a lot of fun. It's a tremendous honor for both of us."
Blount has been with the FBI for the past 14 years. He's a part of a 12-man SWAT team alongside Daniel. They have been on missions to such countries as Afghanistan and Pakistan and have worked big events such as Super Bowls and Mardi Gras together.
"I love my job," he said. "One of the best parts about it is working with my brother. A lot of our missions are very dangerous, obviously . . . a lot more life and death than football. But I equate it to football in the sense that it's like having one play on the goal line, and you have to score. Everybody's got to do their job, and if they don't the results probably aren't going to turn out like you hoped. I still apply some of the life lessons I learned from Coach Duease and Coach (Jack) Carlisle in my job today."
Webster, meanwhile, has been with Ducks Unlimited for 20 years.
Both have long since traded in their cleats and high tops in favor of being sports dads. Both of Blount's sons participate in sports, as does Webster's. Webster's daughter is the head middle school cheerleader.
"I've traveled all over the country with them and coached them in just about every sport you can imagine," Blount said. "They all work hard. I'm very proud of them."
Said Webster: "We go from one sport to another, one event to another. There's nothing more exciting or gratifying than getting to watch your children play sports. It's a lot of fun for me."
Is there some good-natured ribbing going on in the Webster household? You bet. "Oh yeah, there is," Webster said, smiling. "I let them know who the best athlete in the family is."