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Mississippi Hall of Famer John Vaught Brought First SEC Championship to Rebels

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 11.45.06 AMJohn Howard Vaught was one of the most sucesssful college football coaches in the history of the game.
During 25 seasons at Ole Miss, his teams won 190 games, lost only 61, and tied 12. They won six Southeastern Conference championships: 1947, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962 and 1963. Born in 1909, Vaught, of Olney, Texas, was an All-American at Texas Christian University in 1932 and played guard for the Horned Frogs from 1929-33. As head coach of the Rebels, Vaught’s teams ranked near the top of the collegiate polls most seasons. His first team in 1947 won the school’s first SEC championship.
The 1959 team was named the SEC’s Team of the Decade after a 10-1 season. The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) named Ole Miss its national football champion of 1960 after a 10-0-1 season. The 1959 and 1962 teams also received national championship titles by several outlets. Ten of his Ole Miss teams from 1952-69 were ranked among the nation’s Top 10 teams. From 1950-59, Ole Miss posted an 80-21-5 record (.778 winning percentage).
The 80 wins and 77.8 winning percentage were second to only Oklahoma during that decade. In the 1960s, Vaught guided the Rebels to a 72-20-6 record and a 76.5 winning percentage, which was the fourth-best during that decade. Vaught, who produced 26 All-America first teamers, was named SEC Coach of the Year six times. During his 25 seasons, he took 18 teams to bowl games with a 10-8 record.
Ole Miss played in 15 consecutive bowl games from 1957-71, which, at that time, was a national record. Vaught’s longest unbeaten streak at Ole Miss was 23 games, beginning with a 58-0 win over Chattanooga in 1959 and closing with a 47-0 victory against Vanderbilt in 1961. Vaught coached his last game as the regular season closed in 1973 with a 38-10 win against Mississippi State. In 25 games against the arch-rival Bulldogs, Vaught’s teams lost only twice. Vaught lived the remainder of his years in Oxford until his death in 2006 at age 96.

222Excerpt from Mississippi’s Greatest Athletes by Rick Cleveland

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