Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Miss.‚ÄĒMembers of the Mississippi State Bulldog family gathered Thursday [Nov. 12] in Humphrey Coliseum to celebrate the lives of Keith Joseph Jr. and his father, Keith Joseph Sr., who died in a one-car accident Friday [Nov. 6].
MSU President Mark E. Keenum said the two men, both who played Bulldog football, made a difference.
‚ÄúThese two men, father and son, made the world a better place. They were, of course, loved by their family, friends and teammates. They‚Äôre also loved by the entire Bulldog family, and they will live on in our memories,‚ÄĚ Keenum said.
A freshman kinesiology/clinical exercise physiology major, Joseph Jr. was redshirting this season as a true freshman defensive lineman. Joseph Sr. played linebacker for MSU from 1989-92. Both graduated from Pascagoula High School and were en route to watch the school‚Äôs game Friday.
Born Marshean Arkeith Joseph, Keith Joseph Jr. was affectionately known as ‚ÄúMJ‚ÄĚ to his MSU teammates.
‚ÄúOn occasion, when I would go over to the football complex and run into MJ, he would always greet me with his wonderful, uplifting smile,‚ÄĚ Keenum remembered. ‚ÄúHe was someone who I always found to be very respectful and very polite‚Ä¶truly an outstanding young man and an outstanding student here at Mississippi State.‚ÄĚ
Keenum said while he did not personally know Keith Joseph Sr., he has very fond memories of watching him play football for the Bulldogs back in the early 90s.
‚ÄúI can only imagine how proud Keith Sr. was to know that his son MJ, 25 years later, would be wearing the Maroon and White, just as he had done when he was a student here. Our hearts break for the Joseph family, and on behalf of the entire Bulldog family, please accept our sincere condolences,‚ÄĚ Keenum said.
Head Football Coach Dan Mullen said both Keith Joseph Jr. and Keith Joseph Sr. will be ‚Äúwith so many people, burned into their hearts and their minds, and the legacy that they left will be with you forever.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI see the legacy of Keith Sr. as a great father who loved and cared about his son and wanted the best for his son,‚ÄĚ Mullen said. ‚ÄúHe wanted to see his son achieve his goals and live out his dreams, but also he did it in an amazing way with an unbelievably high standard in his life -- what he expected from him, how he raised him, and the demands he put on him.‚ÄĚ
Mullen described Keith Jr. as a young man who ‚Äúgave his absolute best every single day at whatever it was he was doing and maximized himself in every aspect of his life.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúHe was a 4.0 student here at Mississippi State‚Ä¶a tremendous high school student‚Ä¶a tremendous football player following in his father‚Äôs footsteps. Whenever I saw the two of them together, the pride they had in each other was a pretty special thing,‚ÄĚ Mullen emphasized.
Others offered condolences and shared memories of Keith Joseph. Jr and Sr., including:
--Sleepy Robinson, MSU football recruiting specialist and former teammate of Keith Joseph Sr.: ‚ÄúKeith was more than a friend; he was truly my brother. He was a heck of a football player. To you guys here [addressing Keith Jr.‚Äôs teammates], keep pressing on. You‚Äôve got a big game this weekend, and he would have it no other way. Push forward one day at a time, and let‚Äôs get this victory for Keith.‚ÄĚ
--Ryan D. Brown, MSU senior business administration major and Bulldog defensive lineman from New Orleans, Louisiana: ‚ÄúMJ kept a smile on his face no matter what was going on. He worked hard. He was my little brother. It brings comfort to me to know that God has him.‚ÄĚ
--MSU Assistant Football Coach David Turner: ‚ÄúMJ was such a great, great kid. I looked up the definition of ‚Äėgreat,‚Äô and the definition is ‚Äėnotable, remarkable, exceptionally outstanding,‚Äô and when I think about MJ, all of those things come to mind. That‚Äôs a tribute to his father, his mother, his family, y‚Äôall did a great job with him. There‚Äôs no question about that. MJ was a great teammate and a great student, and he made me a better person for being around him.‚ÄĚ
Megan Mullen, wife of Coach Dan Mullen, thanked the Joseph family for ‚Äúsharing your sweet Bulldog angels with us‚ÄĚ and offered words of encouragement to the family, as well as Keith Joseph Jr. and Sr.‚Äôs former teammates.
Others taking part in the memorial service were Bill Buckley, director of MSU‚Äôs Fellowship of Christian Athletes and team chaplain, who delivered the opening and closing prayers; MSU alumnus and former Bulldog basketball player Tyson Cunningham sang ‚ÄúNobody Greater‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúTrouble Don‚Äôt Last Always;‚ÄĚ and MSU Assistant Head Football Coach Tony Hughes read Psalm 13.
A moment of silence will be observed prior to MSU‚Äôs game against Alabama at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Davis Wade Stadium. The Bulldogs will wear a helmet decal honoring the Josephs with the letters ‚ÄúMJ.‚ÄĚ
Additional information about MSU Athletics may be found at www.hailstate.com.
MSU is Mississippi‚Äôs leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.