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Coolidge Ball, affectionally known as ‘Cool-Aid’, was born on November 6, 1951, in Inverness, Mississippi, to Hervey and Lillie Ball. Coolidge was the eighth child of nine children. He was recognized in his family at a young age for his athletic ability that was fostered within him. He spent hours dedicating himself to becoming a standout athlete.
Coolidge Ball, an Indianola native, graduated from Gentry High School in 1970. In that same year, he entered the University of Mississippi as the first black student-athlete scholarship player. During his time at Ole Miss, he was unanimously voted MVP and captain by his teammates. An honor he held close to his heart. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1975. Coolidge has continued to cross barriers and set new standards throughout his life. A statue was dedicated to him on May 15, 2021, at the Pavilion on the campus of the University of Mississippi. All fans will be able to see as they pass by All-American Way for years and years to come.
Coolidge received the SEC Basketball Living Legend Award in 2005 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He also received the Ole Miss All-Century Team and the University of Mississippi Athletic Hall of Fame award. He received an Honorary Citizen Award and Legacy Award for Goodwill Ambassador from Baton Rouge civic organizations. He has been the speaker at numerous meetings and banquets. More interesting facts about Coolidge “Cool-Aid” included him playing semi-professional basketball, being recruited by the Harlem Globetrotters, and coaching alongside his Coach, Kenneth “Cat” Robbins, for four years at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Coolidge strongly believes in lifelong learning and worked with his church and community youth to help them reach their goals in life. He served as a deacon in his church, Flint Hill Missionary Baptist, and cared greatly for all people. He was also a brother of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Eta Lambda Sigma Chapter at Ole Miss.
Coolidge owned Ball Sign Company and traveled around the country using his artistic talents as a graphic artist/sign painter. He was planning on retiring at the end of this year. He was united in holy matrimony to Ruth Adams and to this union, two children were born, Telitha and Anthony.
Some people let things happen, while others make things happen. Coolidge Ball made things happen. He is a trailblazer that was able to stay in the state of Mississippi, his home state, that he loved to make a difference in, but also to find a place to call home. Since he arrived on the campus of the University of Mississippi, Oxford has pulled him in and has been his home. He and his wife, Ruth Adams Ball, continued to live and watch the school that he loved, The University of Mississippi.
On August 29, 2023, Coolidge “Cool-Aid” transitioned from this world while he was sleeping. He is preceded in death by his parents, Hervey and Lillie Ball of Indianola, MS; his brother, Roosevelt Ball (Gloria Dean) of Indianola, MS; and his sister, Daisy Ball.
Coolidge leaves behind his loving wife of 47 years, Ruth Adams Ball, Oxford, MS; his cherished children Telitha “Tee” Ball, Southaven, MS and Anthony “Amp” Ball, Oxford, MS; his adored grandchildren: Marion and Mason Ball, Jacksonville, AR. He also leaves his siblings: Herbert Ball, Indianola, MS, Eugene Ball, South Euclid, OH, Lillian Boswell, Phoenix, AZ, Idella Ball, Houston, TX, Roberta Johnson, Greenville, MS, and Leon Ball, Phoenix, AZ; A bonus daughter: Alicia McGowan, Horn Lake, MS and a host of nieces and nephews, along with his beloved Rebels and a legacy of friends.