Sunday, April 15, 2018

I Remember Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Well While At Ole Miss In The Early 80's

    I recently read a wire article by The Washington Post that was published last month in our local newspaper (Bowling Green Daily, Ky., News). The article was about Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, 54, and his long career in television although he is openly gay on a network that espouses Christian conservative values.  After all these years, I'm still intrigued that I know Shep personally and about his humongous success at a major television network that is watched throughout the world.  Although, I am not a fan of Shep's, nonetheless I am happy for him and his success in broadcast journalism.

A frat pic of Shep in the 1983 Ole Miss annual
     I think most of us who he knew Shep while attending the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford, Miss., in the early 80's are proud of his major success in the big city of New York along with his incredible world-wide fame and his long career in broadcast journalism with a reported net worth of $20 million and making a $10 million a year.  I sent him a long e-mail once probably in the late 90's congratulated him on his new position and some other things and all he was wrote back was two words-"Hotty Toddy!" Lol.

     Smith joined the network in 1996 when it was founded and just came out of the closet of being gay several years ago.  I think a lot of people suspected it a long time ago. I had no idea he was gay while in college.  I figure it's his life, let him do what he wants to do.  It's his choice of lifestyle. Also, he was even married a while to a woman after he left Ole Miss when he began working in his broadcast career in Florida and California and then eventually landed at Fox in NYC.  He has no children though. I remember Shep who was from Holly Springs, Miss., as always friendly and smiled. He always spoke to me when we crossed each other's paths on campus or while we were in journalism classes together at Farley Hall.  He always wore an Izod golf shirt with the alligator emblem on it, blue jeans and Nike tennis shoes.  He was a tall, skinny young fellow then with dark brown hair and thick eyebrows.  We went through orientation together and went to some of those initial frat parties geared towards the incoming freshmen during those three hot and muggy days in the Summer of 1982 in the "Mississippi Deep South."  I was amazed how Shep knew my name even before I officially introduced myself to him.  He acted like he had known me my whole life.

Our freshmen pics in the 1983 Ole Miss annual (Shep on far left and me on far right)

Sigma Pi Frat at Ole Miss, Homecoming, Fall of 1982 (me holding the beer can)
     I also took a broadcast journalism class under his late mentor and professor at Ole Miss, Dr. Jim Pratt.  And I was Dr. Pratt's work-study student in the Summer of 1983. Dr. Pratt didn't feel he needed a work-study student
and I don't think he was too happy with me that summer either. Regardless, I made it through that rough period with him and I was given a certificated for being a "Tel-Ole-Miss Pioneer" when the summer terms were over with.  I helped out and worked at Ole Miss' first journalism television studio which was brand new then.  I saw Shep in action one time after anchored the college news program.  He had blue jeans on with a shirt, tie and a blue blazer coat on. He was upset about something because the broadcast did not go quite the way he wanted it to and he slung his tie and coat off after it was over with.  Apparently, he took his broadcast journalism very seriously even back then and had a bit of a temper too.
My freshman year frat pic, Fall 1982, Sigma Pi

      We had both joined fraternities (we were not in the same fraternity) and even dated the same sorority girl once momentarily also.  I was jealous of him and I couldn't believe she had a date with him earlier in the evening prior to her date with me later on during Homecoming night. However, nothing came of it and it wouldn't have mattered anyway as we all know now.