Paige Cothren

Major Works

  • The Cry of the Camel (2007)
  • The Echo of Silence (2003)
  • Seeking to Know Her (2002)
  • So Great the Pretender (2001) fiction
  • An Academy Called Pain (1999)
  • Walk Carefully Around the Dead (1998)

    Paige Cothren by Nancy Jacobs

    Paige Cothren by Nancy Jacobs

  • Seeking to Know Her (1990)
  • Sweeter Than Honey (1982)
  • Let None Deal Treacherously (1980)
  • Home Sweet Homochitto (Christian and historical)
  • A Lamp Unto My Feet-A Light Unto My Path
  • At What Price Law (Theological)
  • At the End of the Swinging Bridge (Christian fiction)
  • Upon A Distant Hill (Christian fiction)
  • Out of Bear Creek (Christian fiction)

Biography of Paige Cothren

by Angga Riyadi (SHS)

Angga Riyadi (SHS) and Paige Cothren, photo by Nancy Jacobs

Angga Riyadi (SHS) and Paige Cothren, photo by Nancy Jacobs

On July 12, 1935, in Natchez, Mississippi, Paige Cothren was born to Wallace and Hilda Poole Cothren (Cothren, Interview, 21 Apr).  Paige Cothren’s full name is Jennings Paige Cothren (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  His mother is the sister of Buster, Ray, and Barney Poole, three of the fifteen Poole and Poole relatives who have played for the University of Mississippi (“Paige Cothren,” Publicity biography).  The Pooles are a family rich in football tradition.  They are, as Jenny Reed puts it, Mississippi football’s “first family.” The Pooles are to Mississippi football as the Kennedys are to politics.  Fifteen members of the Poole family and Poole relatives have earned scholarships to play football at the University of Mississippi.  Five members, including Paige Cothren, have played in the National Football League (Reed).

Paige Cothren attended Natchez High School and graduated from Natchez High in 1952 (“Paige Cothren,” Publicity biography).  Cothren made good grades in high school and finished third in a class of about one hundred and twenty.  It was during high school that he first developed an interest in writing (Cothren, Interview 21 Apr).  During his high school years at Natchez, he played football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball (Cothren, Interview 29 Apr).  While playing football in Natchez High School, he made the All Big 8, the All State, the All South, and the All American team in football as a fullback (“Paige Cothren,”  After graduating from Natchez High School, he signed a football scholarship with the University of Mississippi (“Paige Cothren,” Publicity biography).

Paige Cothren played football at the University of Mississippi from 1953 to 1956 (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  During his college football career, he was able to accomplish many things.  In 1955 he was named to the All Southeastern Conference and the All South team.  During this year, he also led the Southeastern Conference in scoring, led the nation in field goals, and won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, an award given annually to the Southeastern Conference’s best blocker.  Cothren is still the only player in history to lead the Southeastern Conference in scoring and win the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (“Paige Cothren,”  In 1956 he made the All Southeastern Conference, the All South, and the All American team.  Like the year before, he led the nation in field goals (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  By the end of his college career, he held all the national collegiate field goal records.  During his years playing football at the University of Mississippi, the University of Mississippi Rebels won the Southeastern Championship two of the four years Cothren played for them (“Paige Cothren,” Publicity biography).  In 1958 Cothren graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  In 1988 he was inducted to the University of Mississippi Athletic Hall of Fame (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).

After Cothren’s college football career at the University of Mississippi, he played three seasons in the National Football League.  Cothren played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1957 to1958 (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  In 1958 he tied for a National Football League leading fourteen field goals made (“Annual Field Goals Made Leaders”).  After his two seasons playing for the Rams, Cothren played for the Philadelphia Eagles.  Cothren played for the Eagles in 1959, and 1959 was his last year in the National Football League (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).

Paige Cothren married Ford Taylor of Eupora in 1957 (Cothren, Interview, 29 Apr).  They have two children:  Paige Cothren, Jr. and Fran Hubbard.  They also have four grandchildren; Brad Hubbard, Jared Hubbard, Catherine Hubbard, and Corbin Cothren (Cothren, Interview 21 Apr).  Cothren was married to Taylor from 1957 to 1998 (Cothren, Interview 29 Apr), but they divorced in1998, and Cothren is currently unmarried (“Jennings Paige Cothren”). See Update Below.

Cothren served time in the military.  From 1958 to 1968, he was a captain in the army reserves.  In 1959, he attended the Artillery-Missile School in Fort Still, Oklahoma, where he was put on active duty (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).

In 1962 Cothren began his business career.  From 1962 to 1971, he owned and managed three Piggly Wiggly stores.  The three stores were located in Eupora, Mississippi, Calhoun City, Mississippi, and Fulton, Mississippi.  From 1966 to1971, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Piggly Wiggly Warehouse in Birmingham, Alabama (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).

Then, from 1972 to 1977, Cothren enrolled in three different theological schools.  From 1972 to 1974, he enrolled in the Mid-South Bible College.  Next, he enrolled in the America Baptist Theological Seminary from 1974 to 1975.  His final school was the Dallas Theological Seminary, where he was enrolled there from 1975 to 1977 and received a Master’s Degree in Bible (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).

So Great the Pretender

So Great the Pretender

In addition to the many work experiences already mentioned, Cothren also has teaching experience.  He taught at the Mid-South Bible College from 1974 to 1976.  During the same time period, he was also a teacher and the Dean of Students at Whitworth College from 1974 to 1977.  He was also a football coach.  In 1979 he coached the Southern Baptist Education Center football team (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).

After finishing his education in Bible, Cothren established two counseling centers.  In 1978 Cothren established the Directive Counseling Center in Memphis, Tennessee, and later established another office in Southaven, Mississippi (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  The counseling centers counseled an average of 1,500 people per year.  The counseling center counseled various problems, including marital, alcohol, and drug problems (“Paige Cothren,” Publicity biography).  Cothren considers establishing the counseling centers his greatest achievement (Cothren, Interview).  From 1978 to 1992, he served as the Senior Counselor in the counseling centers until leaving the position in 1992.  During his tenure at the counseling centers, he wrote several booklets on counseling.  He also taught counseling courses from 1976 to 1993 in the counseling center.  In addition, Cothren has also been a minister, serving as pastor at the French Camp Baptist Church in French Camp, Mississippi, for two years starting in 1984 (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).

In 1992 Cothren left the counseling centers to take the position of marketing and managing director at the Grand Oaks Resort in Oxford, Mississippi (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  He was responsible for managing and developing the resort and golf club (“Paige Cothren,”  He was also in charge of public relations there (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  He held these positions at the resort until he retired in1997 (“Paige Cothren,”

In 1980, Cothren began writing books.  The first five books he published were nonfiction.  His first book, Let None Deal Treacherously, was published in 1980 (“Jennings Paige Cothren”)The book pertains to counseling and primarily focuses on husband and wife relationship (Cothren, Interview 29 Apr).  In 1982 he published Sweeter Than Honey (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  The book talks about the Bible.  In 1990 he published his third book, Seeking to Know Her.  The topic of the book is an explanation to man why his wife is the way she is (Cothren, Interview 29 Apr).  He did not write another book until he retired from the Grand Oaks Resort in 1997.  Then in 1998 he published Walk Carefully Around the Dead.  A year later An Academy Called Pain, the sequel to Walk Carefully Around the Dead, was published (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  The two books are nonfiction books that chronicle Cothren’s later teenage years to his days playing football at the University of Mississippi.  The two books contain many humorous stories from his time playing football at the University of Mississippi (“Paige Cothren,”  In 2001 he published his first fictional work, So Great the Pretender in 2001 (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  The novel is about a former professional football player named Patie Corbin, who falls in love and uncovers the secret dealings of Chinese spies (Cothren, So Great the Pretender).

In 2001 Paige Cothren resided in both Houston, Mississippi, and Banner Elk, North Carolina (“Paige Cothren,” Publicity biography).  In his spare time, Cothren likes to play golf (Cothren, Interview).  He still does some public speaking.  Since 1960, he has averaged 240 to 260 speaking engagements every year.  He speaks to civic clubs, banquets, schools, churches, and various other community organizations (“Jennings Paige Cothren”).  He is currently working on a sequel to So Great the Pretender.  Like So Great the Pretender, Patie Corbin is the main character.  He does not have a title for the book yet, however (Cothren, Interview 29 Apr). (See Update below)

2009 Update:

In 2003 Paige Cothren published The Echo of Silence: A Patie Corbin Mystery About Camp Van Dorn. He is now married to Daisy Yarbrough, and together they live in Woodland, Mississippi. He also now owns a small publishing company called Swing Bridge Publications. He has written and published numerous non-fiction theological or memoir books and three new fiction books in the category of Christian fiction: At the End of the Swinging Bridge, Upon A Distant Hill, and Out of Bear Creek. The three books are about the life of Patie Corbin, the preacher, as he preaches, teaches and counsels the work of God in rural Mississippi. Corbin is a former professional football player who is now pastor of Tishrock Community Church.

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A Review of So Great the Pretender

Angga Riyadi, SHS

Angga Riyadi, SHS

by Angga Riyadi (SHS)

So Great the Pretender by Paige Cothren is about a former all-pro halfback for the New York Giants who falls in love with a married English professor.  The main characters in the novel are Patie Corbin, the former football player from Ole Miss, and Marti Claiborne, the married English professor from Mississippi State. Patie is a womanizing, fifty-six year old man who cannot seem to get a marriage to go right.  He has been married four times, and three of the marriages have been to the same women.  Marti Claiborne is a forty-five year old woman who seeks a male companion.  Her husband Mac, a scientist for NASA, has lost interest in her and is having affairs with his secretary.

The story opens with Patie going through another divorce with his first, second, and fourth wife Marti.  After leaving Marti, he moves to the Bay of St. Louis to concentrate on finishing his book.  While he is there, he meets and falls in love with Marti.  The love affair is a complete mismatch since Patie is an Ole Miss Republican, and Marti is a Mississippi State Democrat.  Nevertheless, they truly love each other.  However, they run into trouble because Marti’s husband Mac is involved in secret dealings with Chinese spies.  The spies keep a close watch on Marti, but Patie soon discovers them.  Patie calls two of his friends from his football days at Ole Miss.  The two friends, Jack and Buddy, work for the CIA, and they ask Patie to get close to Marti, so he can find information on Mac’s dealings. To accomplish his goals, he must not tell Marti about anything he knows and has to pretend that he loves her even though he really does love her.  Thus, we get the name of the title of the book, So Great the Pretender.  As Patie puts the pieces together, he runs into trouble with the spies.  The spies attempt to get rid of the threat Patie poses to them.  The spies knock him out, frame him of cocaine possession, and even try to kill him.  With the help of his friends in the CIA, Patie triumphs over the spies in the end.  What happens in the end?  You’ll just have to read the book.

I think So Great the Pretender is a good book, and I enjoyed reading it.  The novel was a mixture of a little bit of romance andaction. There are a lot of things I liked about the novel.  For example, I liked how Cothren accurately describes the lingering injuries that an ex-football player suffers during a playing career.  The injuries they suffer linger and affect them even after their career is over.  I also I liked the action that takes place within the novel.  There is plenty of action in the novel.  The book is not boring and puts you into the action.  The book put me into a reading zone in which I felt like I am in the story.  I enjoyed reading along as Patie puts all the pieces together.  Overall, the novel is a good one.  However, it has its drawbacks.  I do not particularly like the romance parts of the novel.  Furthermore, some of these scenes are only suitable for mature readers.  I do not particularly like the way the novel ends.  The mission does succeed, but Marti leaves Patie, and Mac is dead.  The ending is not like one of those stories in which the hero rides off into the sunset.  Instead, he experiences triumph and tragedy.  Also, there is no theme or moral learned in this story.  I do not think Cothren intended the novel to have a theme.It is just a fictional story that tells a story and does not teach anything.  I liked the story because Cothren keeps the story interesting throughout the novel.  I recommend this book for people who like action stories.

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An Interview with Paige Cothren

By Angga Riyadi (SHS)  Part I – April 21, 2001

When were you born?

July 12, 1935

Where were your born?

Natchez, Mississippi

Who are your parents?

My mother is Hilda Poole Cothren, and my father is Wallace Cothren

Do you have any children? Do you have any grandchildren?

My children are Fran Hubbard and Paige Cothren, Jr.  My grandchildren are Brad Hubbard, Jared Hubbard, Catherine Hubbard, and Corbin Cothren.

Who is your favorite author?

Stephen Ambrose

When did you first have interest in writing?

In high school

What made you decide to start writing books?

Counseling, my first book was on counseling.  I ran a counseling office and my first book Let None Deal Treacherously had something to do with counseling.

What inspired you to write fiction?

I just wanted to try it.  I just had the desire to do it.  I wanted to write something about what happens to a professional athlete psychologically after playing the game when the roar of the crowd stops and he becomes just another face in the crowd.

What is your favorite part about writing book?

Actual writing.  I enjoy making the story make sense and be logical.

Are you working on or planning to write any books?

Yes, I don’t have a title for it yet.

How long did it take for you to write So Great the Pretender?

The whole process (writing, editing) took about five months.

Did playing football help you in writing books?

It did in So Great the Pretender.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I guess play golf.

What do you think is your greatest accomplishment and why?

Running a counseling office and counseling about 1500 people every year for twenty-five years.

Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

I’d have to say my uncle, Buster Poole.  He acted as a father, grandfather, and a coach.  I didn’t have a grandfather growing up.

Interview Part II – April 29, 2001

Can you describe yourself during your childhood and high school years?

I made very good grades in grade school and high school.  I finished third in a class of about 120, scholastically.  I was involved in all the sports.  I played football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball.  I lettered 16 letters in high school.  I liked the girls in high school, and I did exactly what my mom told me to do.  I obeyed her.  When she said it’s time for you to study, I went and studied.  I did what my mom told me to do.  I was a very obedient child, as every child was back in those days.

You said your favorite author was Stephen Ambrose?  What is your favorite book?

I don’t know that I have a favorite book.  William Manchester is also one of my favorite authors.  I just enjoyed reading history, especially military history since I was an officer in the army.  I don’t really have a favorite book.

What is Let None Deal Treacherously about?

That’s a book that tells primarily about husband and wife relationship.

What is Sweeter Than Honey about?

That’s a book talking about the Bible.

What is Seeking to Know Her about?

This book explains to a man why his wife is like she is.

What are Walk Carefully Around the Dead and An Academy Called Pain about?

They’re primarily about the same thing, funny stories on the football field.  Most of them are at Ole Miss, but a few are at Mississippi State.

You said you were working on a new book?

Yes, I am.

What book are you working on right now?  What is it about?

Well, right now I’m working on a sequel to So Great the Pretender.

Is the main character in this novel Patie Corbin too?

Yes, Patie Corbin.

Do you have a title for it yet?

No, I don’t have a title yet.

How did playing football help you in writing So Great the Pretender?

The main character Patie Corbin was an ex-football player.  It would be very hard for someone who never played pro football to write realistically about someone who did.

What exactly is the theme for So Great the Pretender?

Well, the theme can best be summarized as an in depths look at the psyche at the pro football player after he retires and the crowd no longer yells.

When were you married and to whom were you married to?

From 1957-1998, and her name was Foy Taylor. She was from Eupora.

All right,  that would be it.  Thanks for taking the time to do interview.

You’re welcome.

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Related Websites

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  • “Annual Field Goals Made Leaders.”  Online. Internet.  8 Apr.2001. HTTP://
  • Cothren, Paige. So Great the Pretender.  Houston:  Paige Cothren, 2000.
  • Cothren, Paige. Telephone interview.  21 Apr. 2001.
  • Cothren, Paige.  Telephone interview. 29 Apr. 2001.
  • “Jennings Paige Cothren.”  Resume. 19 Apr. 2001.
  • “Paige Cothren.”  Publicity biography.  19 Apr. 2001.
  • “Paige Cothren.”  Online.  Internet.  7 Apr. 2001. HTTP://
  • Reed, Jenny.“So Great the Pretender—Paige Cothren.” Starkville Daily News.  18 Mar. 2001: B-4

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