Hitt Dynasty Hitt Brothers

click on image to enlarge

An Athletic Dynasty - The Hitt Brothers
Mississippi College 1925 - 1939

In September of 1925, the oldest son of Dr. and Mrs. J. R. Hitt entered Mississippi College (MC) in Clinton, MS. MC, founded in 1825, is the second oldest Baptist college in the United States, and the oldest college in Mississippi. Dr. and Mrs. Hitt had lived in Clinton since 1913 (with the exception of one year) when the future Dr. Hitt entered college. He went on to teach mathematics at MC from 1918 until his retirement at age 75.

Thomas Stanfield (Dick) Hitt, the oldest of the four Hitt brothers, was destined to spend his life closely associated with athletics. He was a four sport letterman in college, as were his three younger brothers. He gained renown as a baseball and football player. He culminated his football career at MC being named to the All-American team selected by the New York Sun. His passing exploits (yes, in the 1920's) are still recalled by those who saw him perform. He starred for one season as a back with the Clarence Saunders Tigers professional football team in Memphis. A knee injury, sustained while in college, shelved him from his playing career.

His subsequent career found him coaching at MC for four years, then at Mississippi State, University of Wyoming, University of Arkansas, and University of Tennessee. He ended his career in 1975 when he retired as the manager of the Mississippi Memorial Colliseum. While manager, he was able to regularly get major college football games in the Colliseum.

In 1930, Bruce Hitt entered MC and another four sport letterman was off and running. He, too, was a back in football with tremendous running power. He also passed and kicked. One day in practice, as the story is told, his coach was upset because things were not going just right, so he moved Bruce up from his defensive backfield position to the line. Bruce, who was the biggest of the Hitt brothers, was having his way with the offensive line. With fourth down and about 20 yards to go for the offense, coach reportedly said "Doggone Hitt, get off the line and back into the safety position so they can get off a punt."

Bruce played center on the basketball team. He was an outfielder and first baseman on the baseball team. He played several years of professional baseball in the Cotton States League. In track, he was a high jumper, weight man and hurdler.

He settled in Leland, MS, where he went into the insurance business, and later in Lena, MS (Leake County) where is was a "gentleman farmer."

James Hitt, the third of the Hitt brothers, was also an all-around athlete. As a 16-year-old, his American Legion baseball team went to the national finals in New Jersey. He was an all-state high school football back. He entered MC in 1933. In baseball, he was a pitcher, catcher, infielder, and outfielder. He was a fine basketball player and track participant.

In college, he captained his football, baseball, and track teams. His booming spirals, his driving speedy running and tenacious defense earned him all-conference honors in football. In basketball, he was equally adept in offense and defence. In track, he did whatever there was that no one else could do. The jumps, the hurdles, the weights -- any event suited him.

Unlike his brothers, athletics was just "a game" to him. In college baseball, he usually played in the outfield. He was an outstanding fielder and hitter. Upon completion of his Senior year, he joined a baseball team in the Carolina League. Records showed he was an errorless outfielder with a batting average over .350. After he quit baseball, he returned to Mississippi and worked for an oil company. During World War II, he gave his life for his country in the Battle of the Bulge.

Joel Hitt, the fourth brother, also gained renown as an athlete. He entered MC in 1935 after earning all-state honors in high school in football and basketball. He also played baseball and won several events in state track meets. He played all positions, except pitcher, in baseball. His American Legion team won the state championship but lost in the regional finals. On his high school football team, he scored 124 points in his Senior year as a back. His basketball teams reached the state semi-finals one year and the finals the other.

In college, Joel punted, passed, and ran his way to all-conference honors as a back in football. In his senior year, he was moved to an end position and scored 84 points and again made all-conference. He played in the first Blue-Gray football game in Montegomery, AL in 1938, and was also named to the Williamson Alternate All-American football team.

He was an all-conference basketball player in his three years of varsity play. In baseball, he played infield and outfield. In track, he ran the high hurdles, he high jumped, broad jumped, put the shot and threw the discus. He captained the football, basketball, and track teams. He was also President of the student body in his senior year.

After college, he played professional football with the Cleveland Rams in 1939. He also played professional basketball with the Goodyear Wingfoots in the National Basketball League in 1940. After his professional career, he coached in high school for one year. Then he entered the FBI as a special agent where he remained for 35 years. He retired in 1977.

All four of the Hitt brothers have been inducted into the Mississippi College Sports Hall of Fame. Dick and Joel have both been inducted into the State of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.