Former WLBT Sports Director Michael Rubenstein dies - - Jackson, MS

Former WLBT Sports Director Michael Rubenstein dies

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Michael Rubenstein interviewing Ole Miss Football Coach Johnny Vaught...Source: Langston Rogers Michael Rubenstein interviewing Ole Miss Football Coach Johnny Vaught...Source: Langston Rogers
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

He's been referred to as a sports icon. Michael Rubenstein died early Thursday morning at his home.

He was the first and only director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

Rubenstein was a sports reporter and anchor at WLBT for 16 years. From 1975 until 1991, Michael Rubenstein was a fixture in television sports here. But, he was not a typical sports reporter.

"I am not a sports caster. I am a reporter who covers sports and I work with more than just my mouth" said Rubenstein in an old interview. "I work with my head, my hands and my feet. I have to go out and hustle these things and find these things and be in the right place at the right time with the right film and the right background material. What I do is no different from what any other reporter does covering any other beat."

"He always researched the history that led to the climax of his story and he was just great in doing that sort of thing," said former Jackson State University Head Football Coach W. C. Gorden.

"Rubenstein was the first reporter to bring extended coverage to the Southwestern Athletic Conference," Gorden added.

Eddie Payton, the older brother of legendary football player Walter Payton, says one interview stands out in his mind.

"Walter being a practical joker invited Mike to Memorial Stadium to run the bleachers" Payton recalled. "He said, look, we're going to run up to the top. Get the camera and run up to the top and we'll shoot it. He said fine. So Mike walks up to the top. Walter says no, sun's too high and he starts running back down. He says, Mike run back down here. Mike walked back down and he was huffing and puffing. He looked at Walter and said, 'We'll do it tomorrow'." 

He added, Rubenstein was one of a kind.

"You don't want to put a legend tag on anybody but you know there's Dizzy Dean, then there's Archie Manning and there's Walter and then there's Rubenstein" said Payton. "I mean he belongs in there with the great, unique individuals of this state. When he got out of TV after 16 years, he went right back into doing something that was good for the state. I mean, he was just a genuine guy."

Rubenstein, a Booneville native, died of a blood clot at the age of 60.

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