Sunday, January 23, 2022

John Cofield’s Oxford & Ole Miss: Hugh’s Heart

unnamedI keep an eye out for Oxford photographers and not too long ago Bill Barksdale caught it. His local sports photographs from Oxford High School and Ole Miss are always looked forward to. Here he captured two gems.

I don’t know which one of the children he is, I don’t know his name. I don’t know which set of parents was thinking of him in their last moments. I do know that for awhile last Saturday afternoon this kid didn’t think about it. About the plane crash that took his parents.

As to Bill’s pictures: It’s Gameday, ESPN cameras in front of you, behind you the team is raring to go, and THE head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels is leaning over Chucky’s statue to talk to you, only you. He says, “Are you ready?!”

And then, Coach says go and you take off and break into a run, and the wonder of it all hits you in the face. A stadium sea of red, “The Pride of the South” playing for all they’re worth, the cheerleaders, the green grass in front of you. And four or five steps out, the crowd erupts and roars you onto the football field you’ll love forever.

I’ve loved it since I was this kid’s age, and were it me there, it would perhaps be the greatest highlight of my youthful years, and I’d remember it for the rest of my life. The day me and my fellow, wounded, friends-for-life, led the Rebels onto the field. I thank God for giving us Hugh Freeze to give these few fine moments to this kid.


John Cofield is a writer and one of Oxford’s leading folk historians. He is the son of renowned university photographer Jack Cofield. His grandfather, J.R. “Colonel” Cofield, was William Faulkner’s personal photographer and for decades was the Ole Miss yearbook photographer. Cofield attended Ole Miss as well.

Stay tuned for more information on Cofield’s forthcoming book: Oxford, Mississippi ~ The Cofield Collection — a pictorial history book with John’s writing on the history to go along with the photos.

Contact John at

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