Keith Joseph, Father And Son, Were True Maroon


Oct 24, 2015; Starkville, MS, USA;A general view of the stadium during the game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State won 42-16. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Late last night, the Mississippi State football team learned they lost a teammate. Keith Joseph, Jr. and his father Keith Joseph, Sr. passed away in a fatal car accident. We haven’t heard many details, but it is still a tragedy regardless of how it happened.

But this isn’t a time for wondering how such a terrible thing occurred. This is a time to remember and celebrate the life of not one Bulldog, but two.

Keith Joseph, Jr. will likely be the focus of the story because he is a member of the team currently. Joseph didn’t play any in 2015 as he was a true freshman and was redshirting this season.

But his father Keith Joseph, Sr. is also a Bulldog. The elder Joseph played for the Bulldogs from 1989 until 1992. He played linebacker in the final years of the Rocky Felker era and the beginning of the Jackie Sherrill era. Father and son were bound together by many things, but the two shared a love and passion for Mississippi State.

Both father and son attended Pascagoula High School. Both father and son signed to play for Mississippi State on scholarship. The two were as tight a father and son could be. And they tragically would exit this world together in the same vehicle.

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A love for any team can drive a father and son together and strengthen a bond even further between the two. When the team is the school the dad graduated college from, it has an even greater impact.

I never played football for Mississippi State or any school for that matter. But some of the best memories I have in my life come from my time as a student in Starkville. When my son was born in February of 2007, I knew he was going to be a Bulldog just like me, despite his mother’s best attempts to make him a Rebel. And he has been a Bulldog ever since he was strong enough to hoist a cowbell.

And if the bond I have with my son is that strong because of Mississippi State, imagine what it must have been like for Keith Joseph, Sr. and Keith Joseph, Jr. to talk of his dad’s exploits on the field. Joseph was a good linebacker. He had three interceptions and was 10th on the all time sack list at Mississippi State with 14.

So imagine how excited Keith Joseph, Jr. was to know he would step on the field and wear the same Maroon and White his father wore for the first time 26 years ago. Imagine how unbelievable it must have been for him to sign a Letter of Intent to ply for the same school his dad over 26 years earlier. The joy he felt was probably only outmatched by the pride his father had in seeing his son follow in his footsteps.

Sadly, we’ll never get to see Keith Joseph, Jr. take the field. We’ll never get to see a television camera pan to Joseph, Sr. ringing a cowbell after his son has sacked the opposing quarterback. They are both gone, and Mississippi State will mourn the loss of both Bulldogs with heavy hearts.

And as sad as it may be to lose two people who loved Mississippi State with all of their heart and being, they would want us to celebrate. Celebrate the lives of two men who were proud to call themselves Bulldogs. Celebrate the school they were so passionate about in all they said and did. And finally, celebrate two men who exemplified what it meant to be True Maroon.