Gilbert Barham, a longtime member of the Boswell Media Sports’ family, passed away Tuesday.
Barham served as color commentator for Boswell Media Sports Leake Academy football broadcasts for 18 seasons. Additionally, he was color commentator for East Central CC broadcasts for 13 seasons.
Despite working with the company for close to 20 years, Barham didn’t get his on-air start with Boswell Media Sports. He worked with Mike Goodwin to broadcast Leake Academy and East Central CC on WSSI in Carthage prior to the station being purchased by Johnny Boswell in 2003.
During his time with Boswell Media Sports, Barham worked side-by-side with legendary commentator Melvin Wooten.
“For 18 years I was blessed to have worked along Gilbert as my broadcast partner for football, but even more so to have him as a great friend,” said Wooten. “He loved Leake Academy as well as ECCC and it was displayed during those broadcasts.”
The final game those two broadcasted together was Leake Academy’s 10-0 win over Adams County Christian in November 2020 that brought home the school’s first state championship.
“No one was more proud of the accomplishment than Gilbert,” said Wooten. “He will be greatly missed by everyone.”
Barham planned to keep on working the LA Rebels football broadcasts when Phillip Palmertree took over for the 2021 season, but a cancer diagnosis prevented him from being able to work most of the games.
“He wanted to continue covering LA football, but he felt bad a lot of the time and knew that being in the press box on Friday night could expose him to a lot of germs,” said Palmertree. “I told him that anytime he felt up to it, the headset was his. So we spoke every week, and even when he couldn’t be there, Gilbert would text me his “Rebels’ keys to victory,” which became a regular part of our pregame show.”
However, he did return to the booth for one final Rebels’ broadcast.
“Gilbert felt strong enough to work the final regular season game with me when Leake played at Lamar School in late October,” said Palmertree. “That night was a privilege I will always remember. Those who listened to Gilbert rode the rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows with him during every game. He reacted to every play like the most passionate fans do, and then he could immediately explain, like the best coaches do, why the play worked or didn’t work.”
Prior to his time broadcasting Leake Academy, he was a teacher and coach at the school, serving as the Rebels’ head football coach from 1984 – 1986.
“His joy and enthusiasm for Rebel football were infectious,” Palmertree said. “He loved coaching and coaches and everybody he used to coach and everybody he never got the chance to coach. Gilbert sincerely loved God and loved everybody else too.”
Following his teaching and coaching career, Barham went to work as a game warden for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
Arrangements have not been set at the time of this report.