No. 38 Returns To Ole Miss Football Field

March 29, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss is excited to announce the No. 38 will return to the Rebel football field in 2011.

 Bestowed on a rising senior defensive player each spring, the Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner had worn the late Mullins' No. 38 jersey from 1990 until 2006, when the M-Club Alumni Chapter passed a resolution for the retirement of the number, memorializing Chucky in the greatest possible way. It joined Archie Manning's No. 18 as the only retired numbers in the Rebels' storied 118-year football history.

 The M-Club's new resolution supports the decision for the No. 38 to remain retired and be worn only by the Chucky Mullins Courage Award recipient each year.

 "It's important that the standard of courage and spirit that Chucky represents remains at the forefront of Ole Miss Football, for our players and our fans," said Ole Miss Director of Athletics Pete Boone. "Retiring Chucky's number was the ultimate way to honor his memory. However, we miss that constant reminder of his legacy that we had with the No. 38 on the field every Saturday. It should be a living number that is with us everyday, and I'm grateful for the former award winners who led the charge to bring it back."

"The Chucky Mullins Courage Award is one of the great honors in college football and is a special part of Ole Miss," said Rebel head coach Houston Nutt. "I'm excited to see 38 back on the field and know that others will be reminded of what Chucky stood for every time the Rebels play."


 

 

Carver and Karen Phillips, who became Chucky's legal guardians when he was in the seventh grade, are in support of his jersey number returning to the field. Former award winners have also expressed overwhelming support of the decision, including current Ole Miss staff members Jamil Northcutt and Ronnie Heard.

"I think it is great to have the jersey back on the field," said Northcutt, Assistant Athletics Director for Internal Operations. "It will help rally our team, fans and community. Most importantly, it will help the legacy of Chucky Mullins live on in the hearts and minds of those who visually see the number 38 on the field."

"The number 38, Chucky Mullins and the Ole Miss family all represent courage, strength, honor and tradition," said Heard, UMAA Foundation Assistant Director of Development. "A sense of pride is what I felt playing football for Ole Miss, the same pride overwhelmed me when I was selected the 1999 recipient of the award. I am filled with those emotions knowing someone will once again wear the number 38 jersey. Chucky's never-give-up attitude will continue to live on for generations to come."

The recipient of the 22nd annual Chucky Mullins Courage Award, who will have the honor of wearing that jersey number, will be announced at the award banquet Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m. CT in the Indoor Practice Facility on the Ole Miss campus. Tickets are available through the UM Box Office.

The award recipient is chosen by the Rebel coaching staff in conjunction with the Chucky Mullins Courage Award Banquet Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the athletics department, university staff, Oxford community and Phi Beta Sigma and Phi Kappa Psi fraternities.

Mullins, who was redshirted as a freshman in 1988, had his career come to a tragic end on Oct. 28, 1989 when he broke his neck while making a tackle against Vanderbilt, which left him paralyzed from the neck down.  For months after the accident, Chucky endured the grueling challenges of rehabilitation, and his gritty "never quit" determination and positive spirit touched the lives of hundreds of people.  The University raised more than a million dollars for the Chucky Mullins Trust Fund.

When Chucky returned to Oxford in August of 1990, he announced his determination to return to Ole Miss and pursue a degree.  Against all odds, in January of 1991 he did return to the classroom.  However, on May 1, 1991, as he prepared for class, he suddenly stopped breathing and then passed away on May 6, due to complications resulting from a blood clot.

Past recipients of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award include Chris Mitchell (1990), Jeff Carter (1991), Trea Southerland (1992), Johnny Dixon (1993), Alundis Brice (1994), Michael Lowery (1995), Derek Jones (1996), Nate Wayne (1997), Gary  Thigpen (1998), Heard (1999), Anthony  Magee (2000), Kevin  Thomas (2001), Lanier  Goethie (2002), Northcutt (2003), Eric  Oliver (2004), Kelvin  Robinson (2005), Patrick  Willis (2006), Jeremy  Garrett (2007), Jamarca  Sanford (2008), Marcus  Tillman (2009) and Kentrell  Lockett (2010).

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