Star USM Linebacker donates jersey to Hub City hot spot
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - It has been years since Marchant Kenney tied up his cleats for the Golden Eagles, but when he donated his jersey to a local sports bar, it felt like 1997 all over again.
Community members gathered at 4th Street Bar on Thursday, July 28, to see the former football star back in Hattiesburg.
Kenney played for the University of Southern Mississippi between 1994 and 1997 and was named first-team within Conference USA in 1996 and 1997. He is considered by many to be one of the best linebackers that USM football has ever had.
Instead of landing sacks, the star linebacker hit fans with warm smiles and pleasant greetings at Thursday’s donation ceremony.
Many of the most noteworthy in USM athletics have their jerseys hanging at 4th Street, formerly known as The End Zone. Kenney said he was proud to have his jersey displayed between two USM football greats.
“You know, I see Brett Farve over there, his jersey up, Ray Guy’s jersey over there up,” Kenney said. “And, I’m just beyond honored for my jersey to be on that same wall in the same breath as those guys.”
Slade White, 4th Street’s owner since 2017, said he considered it a privilege to have Kenney’s jersey.
“For him to actually want to bring his jersey and put it on my wall, I feel very honored,” White said.
The jersey that Kenney gave to 4th Street was his away jersey for the 1997 football season.
That season, he played away games at the University of Alabama, the University of Florida, the University of Tennessee and more. The team went 6-0 in Conference play within C-USA.
Kenney said he has no plans to donate his home jersey from the 1997 season.
“The black one I can’t give up because that was my Liberty Bowl jersey from ‘97,” Kenney said. “And that day, that night, was so special with our New Year’s Eve win.”
Kenney was inducted into the USM M-Club Hall of Fame in 2009. In terms of future recognition, Kenney hopes to have his likeness displayed on the Eagle Walk under USM’s football stadium.
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