Ole Miss Honors Contributions Of Williams, Reed

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Ben Williams and James Reed
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Ben Williams and James Reed
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

March 21, 2014

OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss Athletics will pay tribute to the contributions of Ben Williams and James Reed, its first two African-American football student athletes, with the naming of the entrance of the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center in their honor.

The Williams-Reed Football Foyer will welcome coaches, players and visitors as they enter the Manning Center and will recognize the contributions of the first two African-American football players in Rebel history.

"This is a significant and proud day for Ole Miss Athletics," said Athletics Director Ross Bjork. "It is impossible to quantify the contributions of Ben Williams and James Reed to our university, athletics department and football program. They laid the foundation for diversity and sacrificed so much when they wore the Ole Miss uniform, and broke down the barriers on our campus and in the South as the first African-American football student athletes at the University of Mississippi.

"As we developed our football-specific facilities in the Manning Center, it was our goal to create a place to welcome all guests to the building by showcasing who we are as program, how far we have traveled to get here, and celebrate those who came before us. 

"The Williams-Reed Football Foyer is now the front door for Ole Miss Football, and there could not be a better welcome home sign than to have Ben and James greet everyone who enters the Manning Center. On behalf of our coaches, staff and student athletes, we thank Ben and James for everything they have done and continue to do for the University of Mississippi."

"I could not be prouder to work in a building that will include the names of Ben Williams and James Reed," said head coach Hugh Freeze. "The contributions these men provided our great university are immeasurable. I'm thrilled they will forever be enshrined in our facility and our student-athletes can be reminded every day of the courage they displayed."

"I am so grateful to the university for this honor," said Williams. "It is one of the greatest honors of my life and makes me proud to be an Ole Miss Rebel."

"My family, my friends and I are deeply honored to have the entry way of the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center named in our honor," said Reed. "It is indeed a blessing from God to receive this honor.

"To be mentioned in the same breath as such legendary Ole Miss M-Club alumni as Archie and Ben, who both enjoyed outstanding college and professional football careers, is unthinkable. Many of the lessons that sustained me during my professional career were learned in the classroom and on the field of play at Ole Miss. My parents, Mr. and Mrs. E.S. Reed, both of whom are deceased, would be so very proud of this accomplishment."

In the fall of 1972, Reed and Williams entered the Ole Miss campus as the first two African Americans to play football for the Ole Miss Rebels. Williams saw his first action as a true freshman in 1972, while Reed played on the Rebel freshman team that year and moved to varsity in 1973.

One of the most popular players in Ole Miss History, "Gentle" Ben Williams was a first-team All-America selection in 1975 and a three-time All-SEC performer as a defensive tackle for the Rebels.

Williams finished his four-year Rebel career with 377 tackles, and is still Ole Miss' career leader with 37 quarterback sacks. He also set the Rebel single-season record with 18 sacks in 1973.

As a senior, the Yazoo City native received the highest honor given by the Ole Miss student body when he was elected Colonel Rebel by his fellow students. He was the first African American to earn the distinction, which is now known as Mr. Ole Miss.

Upon the end of his Rebel playing career, Williams was a third-round pick by the NFL's Buffalo Bills in 1976, becoming Ole Miss' highest draft pick at the time since Manning was selected as the second overall pick in the first round in 1971.

Williams had a solid NFL career with some highly successful Bills teams, playing for 10 years from 1976-1985, including a Pro Bowl appearance in 1982.

Reed, a native of Meridian, was the less touted of the two but a standout student athlete nonetheless. In his Rebel career, the speedy tailback rushed for 1,309 yards and found the endzone nine times on his way to All-SEC honorable mention honors all three years. Reed was drafted in the ninth round by the NFL's Cleveland Browns in May 1976.

Following his playing days, Reed served as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), serving various roles and drawing assignments in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Corpus Christi, Texas, Camp Lejune, N.C., and the national headquarters in Washington, D.C., among others.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • New Hitting Coach Mike Clement Q-And-A

      Thursday, July 24, 2014 - Baseball

      On the transition as new hitting coach: The transition has been really good. The coaching staff has made it a lot easier on me than what it could be. It's definitely been a whirlwind. On what he knew about Ole... read more

    • UPDATED: Hugh Freeze's Day At ESPN Car Wash

      Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - Football

      UPDATE: Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Listen: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman ShowListen:... read more

    • Freeze Visits ESPN Headquarters Monday

      Sunday, July 20, 2014 - Football

      All 14 Southeastern Conference football coaches will travel to ESPN's annual mid-summer football coaches "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day - at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Ole... read more

    • What They're Saying: Ole Miss At SEC Media Days

      Friday, July 18, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss took its turn at the annual SEC Media Days on Thursday. Joining head coach Hugh Freeze was senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and senior safety Cody Prewitt. Here are a few related SEC Media... read more

    • Rebels Raise Expectations Entering Year Three

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on day one that his expectations were to make the program relevant in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. With a full allotment of 85 scholarship players and more depth of both sides of... read more

    • Healthy, Confident Wallace Eyes Atlanta

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Once overshadowed, Wallace now finds himself more firmly in the spotlight after the departure of seven of the league's eight top passers. The dean of SEC quarterbacks, Wallace is the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing... read more

    • Freeze Meets With Local Media At Media Days

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Before taking his turn at the podium in the main room at SEC Media Days on Thursday, head coach Hugh Freeze met with members of the Ole Miss local media and addressed a wide variety of topics. Here are some... read more

    • What They're Saying: Day 3 Of SEC Media Days

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Three of SEC Media Days, which featured Steve Shaw (SEC), Justin Connolly (ESPN),... read more

    • What They're Saying: Day 2 Of SEC Media Days

      Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Two of SEC Media Days, which featured South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M... read more

    • Ole Miss In CFB 24/7 14 For '14 Series

      Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - Football

      NFL.com CFB 24/7 has counted down the 14 college football players to watch -- and some other college football topics -- in varying categories in 2014. Below are the highlights for Ole Miss and the link to the complete 14... read more

    • What They're Saying: Day 1 Of SEC Media Days

      Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day 1 of SEC Media Days, which featured SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Auburn, Florida... read more

    • Cozart Named Best Defensive SS Of First Half

      Sunday, July 13, 2014 - Baseball

      Former Ole Miss player Zack Cozart, now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was named the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half of the 2014 season. ESPN Insider Scott Spratt selected one player from either league at... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Baseball Postseason

      Saturday, July 12, 2014 - Baseball

      The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Bound from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 1: Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 2: Super Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 3: CWS Games 1 & 2... read more

    • Ole Miss Preps For SEC Media Days

      Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - Football

      Three student-athletes and the head coach of each of the 14 Southeastern Conference football programs will participate in SEC Football Media Days, July 14-17, at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.Ole Miss will take its... read more

    • Ole Miss And The World Cup

      Thursday, July 3, 2014 - Athletics

      The United States' run in the 2014 World Cup came to an end with a 2-1 extra-time loss to Belgium in the Round of 16. For many fans, it's also the end of the road, but for a few Ole... read more