Smith on Sports: Wilcox tribute emotional at Davis Wade

Danny P. Smith

Staff Writer

It was an emotional night at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday.

When Kylin Hill ran out onto the field ahead of the Mississippi State football team carrying a teal “No One Fights Alone” flag in honor of Alex Wilcox, a shot of energy came with it.

Bulldogs from all over the sports landscape have been touched by the inspirational story of Wilcox and the 56,505 people in attendance were reminded of that during the Louisiana game.

Wilcox was the MSU softball player who fought the fight of ovarian cancer courageously and passed away on June 25 at the age of 18.

The story of Wilcox is certainly one of the most inspirational I’ve ever witnessed in collegiate sports.

After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015, Wilcox never let that stop her from playing the sport that she loved. She led Brantley High School to multiple state championships even while taking treatments.

Wilcox signed with the Bulldogs in 2016 and her fight continued during her freshman season in Starkville. She continued to go to work with the team every day even while going through chemotherapy.

In eight contests and three starts in the spring, Wilcox had three hits in 15 at-bats. She was also a dedicated student, who was chosen to the Southeastern Conference Spring Honor Roll.

The “No One Fights Alone” campaign started during the season as MSU wore teal uniforms during midweek games to support Wilcox and help spread awareness for ovarian cancer.

The Bulldogs were joined by many across the Southeastern Conference and the country by wearing teal and sending out positive messages.

That has continued even after her death.

During halftime of Saturday’s football game, the MSU athletic department retired Wilcox’s jersey No. 8 during a special ceremony. She is the first Bulldog female student-athlete in school history to have her jersey retired.
MSU Athletic Director John Cohen said in a statement that Wilcox “epitomized what it meant to be a Mississippi State student-athlete.”

"Her courage, smile and positive commitment to life in the face of adversity touched the lives of so many,” Cohen said. “Alex's legacy will live on forever at Mississippi State.”

To reenforce that, there will be a memorial service today to honor the life of Wilcox at the Chapel of Memories on the MSU campus. M-Club director Tyson Lee will officiate and members of the softball program will be speaking about Wilcox’s impact on their lives. The event that starts at 10 a.m. will be open to the public.

If you plan to attend the service, get there early or you may not get a seat inside the chapel.

That’s just how much Wilcox was admired and adored by members of the Bulldog family.

Danny P. Smith is the sports editor and columnist for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.