Saturday, August 13, 2022

Rebels Defeat Vandy by 38-Point Margin 25 years after Mullins' Paralyzed

Chucky Mullins and Coach Billy Brewer before 1989 homecoming game. Photo courtesy of
Chucky Mullins and Coach Billy Brewer before the homecoming game in 1989 when Mullins was paralyzed from the neck down after a hit on Vanderbilt full back Brad Gaines. / Photo courtesy of

The Ole Miss versus Vanderbilt rivalry is a special game for the Rebel family because the future of the program will forever be changed.

This past Saturday was the 25th anniversary of the Ole Miss and Vandy game where Chucky Mullins broke his neck on a hit on full back Brad Gaines.

Mullins always dreamed of playing football in the Southeastern Conference and coach Billy Brewer and the Ole Miss Rebels gave him the opportunity to be a SEC player. His passion for the sport, his teammates and the university showed through on and off the field.

After the hit, Ole Miss retired Mullins’ number and now, the team honors a special defensive player every year who wears No. 38 the next season. This year, the honor was bestowed on Deterrian Shackelford, who Coach Hugh Freeze says shows the same heart and passion as Chucky did.

As the clock hit all zeroes in the Music City, the Rebels defeated the Commodores 41-3 by a margin of 38 points. Could it be said that on this day, the team once again honored Chucky? Or was Chucky watching out for the Rebels?

When the University of Memphis comes to town, the Rebels will honor Mullins by wearing his number on the side of their helmets and a bucket will be passed around the stadium, similar to the game after Mullins was injured when hundreds of fans for and against Ole Miss donated money to help with the medical bills.  The street leading up to the Tad Pad will also be named for him the weekend of Sept. 27.

Adam Brown is sports editor for and can be reached at

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