Jim (The General) Stephens’ inventory of Ole Miss memorabilia has an extraordinary number of items related to Chucky Mullins and rightfully so. We visited recently about Chucky’s lasting legacy to Ole Miss Ole Miss football and athletes in general.
HottyToddy.com: General, about how many items in your collection directly relate to Chucky?
The General: Approximately 130. The one I think is most unique features 24 recipients of the Chucky Mullins award with Chucky’s picture in the background.
HottyToddy.com: Who was the first winner of the prestigious award?
The General: Chris Mitchell. D.T. Shackleford was the only multiple winner.
HottyToddy.com: When did you start collecting the items pertaining to Chucky?
The General: Throughout the 90’s which was a ten year collection surge.
HottyToddy.com: What did Chucky Mullins mean to you?
The General: Chucky Mullins represented spirit and courage. Unfortunately I never met him.
HottyToddy.com: Who are some of your most favorite recipients of the award?
The General: Mike Hilton and Patrick Willis. Also, Trea Southerland who played with Chucky made a comment that the award transformed him into a greater player and the award was even more special having played with him.
HottyToddy.com: What are some of your greatest memories about Chucky and his impact on Ole Miss athletics?
The General: There was a documentary wherein Coach Brewer stated that initially he thought Chucky was too small and slow to play SEC football. However, he went on to reflect that the passion within his heart was something that could not be measured. With the exception of Gentle Ben Williams, the first African American football player at Ole Miss who was elected Colonel Reb, Chucky did more for improving positive race relations here than anyone. His spirit and courage united the university in a way previously unseen prior.
HottyToddy.com: You were in attendance to personally observe the terrible injury firsthand. Your thoughts on being there.
The General: Oct. 28, 1989 will be a day I will never forget. I was sitting in Section G, Row 35 on the 25 yardline very near to where the injury occurred. My initial reaction was that this was a hit you would see a thousand times. There was nothing unusual about it. The angle of the tackle on Vanderbilt receiver, Brad Gaines, #44, was the critical factor. When Chucky did not move, I realized the seriousness. Chucky left us 16 months later on May 6, 1991, but his lasting legacy will never leave us. His courage and love for Ole Miss will remain with all of us forever. He was a special human being in every respect.
The General feels like we all do in remembering Chucky’s many contributions to his team and fan base. The General ,unfortunately, was there to view the injury in person on that dreadful October day. For those of us who were not in attendance, we can only reflect back on Chucky’s courage and determination, taking the positives from his Ole Miss career. We ended the conversation by agreeing to take a day trip soon to visit Chucky’s gravesite in Russellville, Alabama, and pay our respects one final time to an individual who will never be forgotten by Ole Miss fans and all who are inspired by going the extra mile for what one truly believes in their heart can be accomplished!
Past recipients of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award are: Mike Hilton, 2015 ; D.T. Shackleford, 2014 and 2011; Mike Marry, 2013; Jason Jones, 2012; Kentrell Lockett, 2010; Marcus Tillman, 2009; Jamarca Sanford, 2008; Jeremy Garrett, 2007; Patrick Willis, 2006; Kelvin Robinson, 2005; Eric Oliver, 2004; Jamil Northcutt, 2003; Lanier Goethie, 2002; Kevin Thomas, 2001; Anthony Magee, 2000; Ronnie Heard, 1999; Gary Thigpen, 1998; Nate Wayne, 1997;
Derek Jones, 1996; Michael Lowery, 1995; Alundis Brice, 1994; Johnny Dixon, 1993; Trea Southerland, 1992; Jeff Carter, 1991; and Chris Mitchel,l 1990.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.