Drive To Lead, Drive To Win

Mike Marry

Oct. 16, 2012

By Lauren McMillin
Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy once said, “The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.”  Few football players exemplify this as well as Mike Marry, a junior linebacker driven to lead his teammates to victory.

Right from the start, Marry felt that Ole Miss would be the place he would call home. “When I came here, it just felt like a family atmosphere,” he said.  “I had fun on other visits, but this was the only one that felt like it was home.”

The Southern hospitality and warm acceptance from the people of Oxford further instilled this idea, proving that Marry made the right decision in choosing Ole Miss.  

“Everybody treats you like you are family, even if they don’t know you,” Marry said.  “You can walk through the Grove after the game, and even if they don’t know you and don’t know where you’re from, they’ll take care of you.”

The support that Marry feels from people around Ole Miss and Oxford resonates through the walls of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, as well.  

“The fans have a lot of energy,” he said.  It’s this enthusiasm and support from the fans that helps carry the Rebels through a game, no matter the circumstances. “Whether we’re winning or losing, they support us through the good and the bad,” Marry said. “They just make us play that much harder.”

Feeling that gameday rush and the energy of fans isn’t something that Marry has always had with the Rebels. Signing with the incoming 2009 class, Marry became a grey shirt, sitting out a year before joining the football team. While he wasn’t able to work with the Rebels, he used that year to further develop his strength and his talents.

“I used it to gain some weight, to get stronger and faster and just learn the scheme of the defense,” Marry said.  “I used it to my advantage. I had a lot of free time, so I just used it to get smarter, football-wise.”

The time that Marry devoted to learning the defense certainly paid off, as he has become one of the Rebels’ team leaders.  With this role, Marry has become aware of the responsibilities that it takes to lead his teammates toward success.

“You always have to be on top of your game,” he said. “You’re not only responsible for yourself, you’re responsible for the older players and the younger players. If you mess up, they’re going to think it’s okay, so you’ve got to always do what’s right, even if you don’t want to do it. You always have to follow the rules.”

By embracing his place as a leader and understanding those responsibilities, Marry has found ways to influence his fellow teammates. The most important way?

“Treating them as my family,” Marry said. “You really help mold the younger players and give them somebody positive to look up to. Show them the right way to do things.”

This positive approach has influenced fellow teammates, including redshirt-freshman linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche.

“Coming into this defense as a young player, I looked up to Mike as one of the playmakers,” Nkemdiche said. “He’s been in the system for a long time, and he knows how to do the college thing. He’s played against the Alabama’s and LSU’s before, and he handles it really well. That’s just something we can look up to and feed off of and take into perspective on how things should be down the road.”

Knowing how to handle other teams is something that has helped the Ole Miss defense experience strong improvements this season. After an aggressive battle against the Crimson Tide, Alabama head coach Nick Saban praised the Rebel defense for its strength and determination. Marry attributes this to the perseverance and drive that the team has had this year.

“Hard work in the off-season and this season, with everybody coming out focused,” he said. “We’re playing more as a unit and with more dedication.”

In 2011, Marry played in all 12 games with nine starts, leading the team with 81 total tackles. In the SEC, he tied for 14th in tackles, averaging 6.8 tackles per game. This season, Marry ranks third on the team with 39 tackles, including his first career interception, which sealed the win over Auburn last Saturday.

The dedication and hard work that Marry gives to the Ole Miss defense is reflected in his schoolwork, as well. In 2010, he was recognized as the Scholar Athlete from the Ole Miss Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Between balancing football and school, Marry knows what it takes to achieve success.

“You have to do what has to be done,” he said. “You can’t put it off. You’ve got to put in extra work when you need it. Even sometimes when you’re tired, you’ve got to push through, focus and study.”

By focusing on his responsibilities, Marry sees a bright future ahead. An exercise science major, Marry plans to go to nursing school after his time with the Rebels.

In the meantime, Marry is relishing his role as a leader for the Ole Miss Rebels and is working hard for success.   As he continues to lead both on and off the field, it all comes down to one simple goal:  “I just want to win.”

Ole Miss Gear
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    • Ratings, Exposure Huge for Ole Miss-Alabama

      Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss' historic win over Alabama last Saturday was not only popular with members of Rebel Nation, it was among the most-watched college football games of the year.The Rebels' thrilling 43-37 victory over the Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium was the... read more

    • Rebels Pass First Test in Search of Playoff Berth

      Sunday, September 20, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThe road to the College Football Playoff includes many tests along the way. The Ole Miss Rebels (3-0, 1-0 SEC) just passed their first, proving that they are a legitimate contender after knocking... read more

    • Kelly Makes Statement in Big Rebel Win

      Saturday, September 12, 2015 - Football

      By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;... read more

    • Big Plays Highlight Season-Opening Win

      Saturday, September 5, 2015 - Football

      Offense, defense and special teams. Ole Miss dominated all three aspects of the game as the 15th-ranked Rebels routed UT Martin 76-3 in the season opener. The 60,186 fans, mostly dressed in white, anticipated an exciting start to the 2015... read more

    • Time to Take a Stand

      Monday, August 31, 2015 -

      It's finally week! It's been 242 days since the Ole Miss Rebels last took to the gridiron for a clash of the helmets. After a successful 2014 campaign in which Ole Miss knocked off a No. 1-ranked team... read more

    • Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge to Air on ESPNU Aug. 1

      Thursday, July 30, 2015 -

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ATLANTA - On Saturday, fans can tune in to see the Rebels duo of Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze and former Ole Miss basketball player Sean Tuohy compete in the Chick-fil-A... read more

    • Rebels Emerge on Four Watch Lists This Week

      Friday, July 17, 2015 -

      Only 50 days until The Grove is full, the constant shouts of "Hotty Toddy" are in the air, and football kicks off 100 years in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium! Looking forward to this upcoming college football season, seven Rebels were named to... read more

    • Football Rebels All Over First Week of Watch List Releases

      Friday, July 10, 2015 -

      As we near the 2015 college football season, national organizations have started to release watch lists for their respective awards. Through the first week of watch lists being released, multiple Rebels have been announced as players that fans need to... read more

    • Engram, Hilton and Johnson to Represent Ole Miss at SEC Football Media Days

      Wednesday, July 8, 2015 -

      Along with head coach Hugh Freeze, three Rebels will represent Ole Miss at the annual SEC Football Media Days next week. Junior Evan Engram, just named to the John Mackey Award Watch List for college football's most outstanding tight end,... read more

    • Five Rebels Tabbed Preseason All-SEC in The Birmingham News

      Tuesday, June 30, 2015 -

      Five Ole Miss Rebels were chosen as preseason All-SEC selections by some of the people who work closest with the student-athletes, the football media relations directors. The 14 football media relations directors of the Southeastern Conference institutions voted in the... read more

    • Lindy's Sports Gives Seven Rebels Preseason Recognition

      Wednesday, June 24, 2015 -

      The preseason accolades just don't stop for the Ole Miss football team. Everywhere you look, Rebels can be found on preseason All-America teams. Lindy's Sports recognized seven Rebels for preseason honors, including four All-Americans. Four Ole Miss Football Rebels were... read more

    • Five Rebels Named Preseason All-America by Athlon Sports

      Tuesday, June 23, 2015 -

      With the season just 74 days away, members of the 2015 Ole Miss football team continue to earn recognition on Preseason All-America lists. Athlon Sports, the latest media outlet to release its 2015 college football preseason All-America team, gave five... read more

    • Sporting News Tabs Four Rebels to Preseason All-America Teams

      Monday, June 15, 2015 - Football

      Preseason All-America football teams continue to roll in, and Ole Miss has been well represented each time.Today, the Sporting News unveiled its preseason All-America first and second teams, which includes a total of four Rebels.OT Laremy Tunsil and DT Robert... read more

    • Athlon Sports Names Nine Rebels Preseason All-SEC

      Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - Football

      Individual preseason accolades continue to pile up for the Ole Miss football team as college football magazines look toward the 2015 season. Athlon Sports is the latest magazine to release its preseason all-conference teams, June 10; the magazine named nine... read more

    • Eleven Rebels Garner Phil Steele Preseason Honors

      Monday, June 1, 2015 - Football

      The start of summer heat and vacations is also the start of another tradition - preseason college football magazines.One of the first to produce a magazine every year is Phil Steele, whose 2015 version includes about as many Ole Miss... read more