Drive To Lead, Drive To Win

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Mike Marry
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Mike Marry
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

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
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Aug. 25-31)

      Monday, September 1, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewAug. 25-31, 2014Football- No. 18 Ole Miss opened the 2014 season with a 35-13 win over Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.- The Rebels led 7-6 entering the fourth quarter... read more

    • ESPN's Chucky Mullins Documentary to Debut Thursday

      Monday, September 1, 2014 - Football

      The SEC Storied documentary "It's Time," centered on the the inspirational friendship between former Vanderbilt football player Brad Gaines and former Ole Miss football player Chucky Mullins, will premiere on Tuesday on the Vanderbilt campus and will debut on... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Aug. 31

      Sunday, August 31, 2014 - Athletics

      This is a new concept we've created for the Ole Miss Sports Blog that we're calling Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations... read more

    • What They're Saying: Ole Miss-Boise State

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      The No. 18 Ole Miss football team won the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game defeating Boise State 35-13. The Rebels move into Southeastern Conference next week with a road test at Vanderbilt from Nashville's LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. The... read more

    • 'The New Normal' on Defense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- Boise State had been the highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 40.2 points per game dating back to the 2000 season.  Highlighted by four interceptions, eight tackles for loss and big hits by several different players, the... read more

    • Second-Half Surge for Rebel Offense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- After an up-and-down first half, which included a touchdown and three interceptions, senior quarterback Bo Wallace and the Ole Miss offense found their stride in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter. Leading 7-6 early in the... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Boise State Motivational

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Boise State Official Team Motivational '14 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Boise State

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as Ole Miss opens its 2014 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Boise State from Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Contrast in Experience Boise State has one of the youngest teams in the country with 67 freshmen... read more

    • Volleyball Opens Steven McRoberts Era

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Volleyball

      Here are three pieces to keep in mind as we look ahead to the Ole Miss volleyball team's season-opening weekend in Buffalo, New York, starting with Canisius on Friday morning, the first of four matches over three days at the... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 1 (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Dome, Sweet Dome for Atlanta Area Rebels

      Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - Football

      For high school football players in Georgia, all roads lead to the Georgia Dome and the state championships.  For a handful of Rebels, those roads lead home, as Ole Miss opens the 2014 season against Boise State in the Chick-fil-A... read more

    • VIDEO: Forward Together Construction Update

      Monday, August 25, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • Relentless is the Word on Defense

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Football

      ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy asked each of the 65 coaches from the Power Five conferences to describe their team in one word.  Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's word? Relentless. The same can be said of the Ole Miss defense.  And... read more

    • McCormick, Defense Shine in Win

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Soccer

      After playing 110 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Georgia on Friday night, Ole Miss responded with a gutsy 1-0 win over Iowa State on Sunday afternoon. The defense, led by senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick was the story of the... read more

    • Rebels Battle to Draw on Historic Night

      Friday, August 22, 2014 -

      Big time crowd for @SECNetwork live sports event debut. Record attendance of 1,823 for @OleMissSoccer Let's finish strong.-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August 23, 2014 Ole Miss kicked off the 2014 season in thrilling fashion, rallying to a 1-1 draw with... read more