Ole Miss Chapter To Honor Van Devenders And Jesse Mitchell With NFF Awards

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Jesse Mitchell (photo by Ole Miss Communications)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Jesse Mitchell (photo by Ole Miss Communications)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Nov. 21, 2013

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will honor Billy and Mollie Van Devender of Jackson, Miss., with its Distinguished American Award and Jesse Mitchell, also of Jackson, with the Contribution to Amateur Football Award here Saturday night, Nov. 23, when No. 24 Ole Miss hosts No. 8 Missouri. Kickoff for the ESPN national telecast is set for 6:45 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium/Hollingsworth Field.

The Distinguished American Award is presented by the Ole Miss Chapter to individuals who have set the standards for excellence in a life of service to the community, while the Contribution to Amateur Football Award is given in honor of those who have made numerous contributions to the college athletics world through service to their fellow man.

"We are pleased to honor these three individuals for their contributions to Ole Miss athletics," said Richard Noble of Indianola, Miss., president of the Ole Miss Chapter. "They are most deserving of this recognition, and having an on-campus salute provides an excellent opportunity to express our sincere appreciation for all they have done for Ole Miss."

After earning three letters at the Monster Man position for Coach John Vaught’s Ole Miss football team (1968-70), Billy Van Devender graduated from The University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1971. He received his MBA in 1973 from Southern Methodist University, and then joined the Central Intelligence Agency.

After four years with the CIA, he moved back to Mississippi to begin his business career, which began in the oil and gas industry, followed by investments in real estate development and the forest product industry where his family is primarily in timber management and lumber manufacturing.

He has contributed a substantial amount of philanthropic work to his community, having served as Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality since 1998 and joining the board of the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 1997. He has served on the board of Mississippi's Young Life organization and the Mississippi Baptist Health System.

Billy also is an active board member of But God Ministries, an organization that works to build sustainable living communities in Haiti and a member and Deacon at First Baptist Church of Jackson. In past years, Billy has been a member of the Young Presidents' Organization, the World Forestry Center and the Chief Executive Organization.

During his football playing days at Ole Miss, he helped lead the Rebels to a 22-10-1 record and three bowl games (Liberty, Sugar and Gator), including a 27-22 victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl to finish the 1969 season 8-3 overall and earn a No. 8 ranking in the final polls.

Mollie Van Devender competed in and won the honor of Miss Mississippi in 1975. She is a member of the Junior League of Jackson and a past chair of Mistletoe Marketplace. Mollie served as Arts Commissioner for the state of Mississippi from 1997-2002 and is a past board member of the Museum of Natural Science, the Wilson Research Center, the American Cancer Society and the Cancer League of Jackson, where she also served as president of the board.

She is a member of the University of Virginia Parents Committee, and currently serves on the Board of Stratford Hall, the historic birthplace of Robert E. Lee. An active member of the board of Jackson Preparatory School, where she has served since 2006, Mollie is chair of Prep's current capital campaign, Transforming Prep - Celebrating Arts and Leadership.

Mollie and Billy enjoy traveling, visiting friends and spending time with their four children – daughters Laura (Mrs. Tommy Stansell) and Anne (Mrs. Jack Stanton) and sons William (Meredith) and Clinton Van Devender – and precious grandchildren. Billy is an avid golfer and duck hunter. Mollie is a skilled big game hunter, and has recently acquired The Onward Store located in Onward, Miss., which is the birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt's Teddy Bear.

Jesse Mitchell is the founding partner of The Mitchell Firm. Considered one of the most well-rounded, unique and diverse litigators in the Southeast, he was honored by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” – an honor that is bestowed on less than 2.5 percent of the attorneys in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee combined. He is one of very few litigators in the country that holds a Series 7 and Series 63 securities broker license.

Mitchell, who earned his Bachelor of Accountancy and Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi, was decorated with numerous accolades and awards for his academic leadership and for his success on the football field as a defensive end.

After being redshirted his true freshman year in 1999, Mitchell’s collegiate career saw him letter four times (2000-03), while helping Coach David Cutcliffe’s Rebels participate in three bowl games, including an Independence Bowl win over Nebraska and a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State. The win over Oklahoma State capped a 10-3 season in 2003 when Ole Miss and LSU were Co-Champions of the SEC Western Division.

Mitchell’s senior year in 2003 saw him named to the Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference first team as Ole Miss finished No. 13 in the final national rankings. Other honors of note included receiving the 2003 John Howard Vaught Award of Excellence, presented to honor the senior athlete who exemplifies the qualities of dedication, scholastic ability, morale and performance, and the 2003 J. Richard Price Courage and Compassion Award, which also included a scholarship in his name for the University of Mississippi.

Mitchell signed a contract with the Baltimore Ravens, but injuries sidelined his football career and sent him on his path to law school.

After graduating from law school, Mitchell was offered positions with two of the most successful plaintiff firms in the country. However, he decided to take a different route which has ultimately brought him full-circle back to a practice that is primarily focused on representing plaintiffs.

Mitchell is a member of various boards of directors associated with the University of Mississippi, including the University of Mississippi Alumni Association Board of Directors and the University of Mississippi Law School Board of Directors. He is also the current president of the University of Mississippi’s M-Club Alumni Chapter.

Jesse and his wife, Darrilyn, live in Brandon, Miss., with their two sons – Jayden and Chase.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Nkemdiche Headlines Retooled D-Line

      Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - Football

      The return of junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and additions of sophomore Fadol Brown and freshman Marquis Haynes have changed the face of the defensive line, but freshman All-American Robert Nkemdiche remains front and center.  With a season of experience... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Sneak Peak

      Monday, August 18, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football 2014: Episode 1 Sneak Peak from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Wallace: 'It's My Offense'

      Monday, August 18, 2014 - Football

      The dean of Southeastern Conferences quarterbacks and the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing touchdowns, senior Bo Wallace is as healthy and confident as ever, and he's also assumed a more vocal leadership role on the... read more

    • VIDEO: We Are Ole Miss

      Saturday, August 16, 2014 - Athletics

      We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, "Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss" from earlier this year: Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Football: Fins Up (Part 2)

      Saturday, August 16, 2014 - Football

      In case you missed it, Fins Up (Part 1) from last year:... read more

    • Rebels Battle Injuries on Defense

      Friday, August 15, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed that junior cornerback Carlos Davis suffered a torn ACL and will likely have surgery Monday. Davis joins sophomore cornerback Tee Shepard and junior safety Chief Brown on the list of players expected to miss... read more

    • Recapping the SEC Network Launch

      Friday, August 15, 2014 - Athletics

      The launch of the SEC Network shows the growth and vision of the 14 schools in the conference. #OleMiss-- Coach Alex (@apsimms2) August 15, 2014 That was fun! And the @SECNetwork is only getting started. #SECStoried finished strong. Great... read more

    • Ole Miss and the SEC Network Launch

      Thursday, August 14, 2014 - Athletics

      Tonight is the night!! #SECNetworkLaunch pic.twitter.com/73UYs8B0Hg-- SEC Network (@SECNetwork) August 14, 2014 Historic day for SEC & #OleMiss as we celebrate the launch of the @SECNetwork at 5pm CST! Congrats to everyone who made it happen!-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August... read more

    • Luke Breaks Down the Offensive Line

      Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - Football

      The center and right tackle position battles have been two of the biggest story lines of fall camp, but as the Rebels prepped for their second preseason scrimmage Wednesday night, they are closer to solidifying the depth chart along the... read more

    • Attitude, Effort are Front and Center in Process

      Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - Volleyball

      "Buy-in" is a common term thrown around by coaches. How will first-year Ole Miss head volleyball coach Steven McRoberts measure buy-in, as the team continues its preseason work for the upcoming season? Attitude and effort. "If we bring those two... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Soccer Day One

      Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - Soccer

      THE SEASON: Soccer - Day One from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Kennedy Recaps Trip, Talks New-Look Roster

      Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - Men's Basketball

      The Ole Miss men's basketball team wrapped up its Bahamian exhibition tour with a perfect 2-0 record. Head coach Andy Kennedy recapped the trip, talked about the chemistry, depth and experience of a new-look roster heading into the fall. The... read more

    • Looking at CB, OL, WR and RB Depth

      Monday, August 11, 2014 - Football

      Sophomore defensive end Fadol Brown and sophomore cornerback Kailo Moore returned from their respective injuries, while sophomore Tee Shepard remains out with a toe injury. The results from Shepard's MRI performed on Saturday are being sent to Birmingham, head coach... read more

    • Ole Miss Programming on SEC Network

      Monday, August 11, 2014 - Football

      The SEC Network will debut on Thursday, August 14 with a three-hour SEC Now that will visit every SEC school and the 21 sports within the SEC. The first two weeks of the network will also feature customized programming to... read more

    • The Week That Was: Ole Miss Football

      Sunday, August 10, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss continues its preparations for the the 2014 season with the second full week of fall camp starting Monday. Here's a look back at the first full week of fall camp with some observations and takeaways, as well as... read more