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Ole Miss Legend Johnny Vaught Inducted into Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame

Ole Miss legendary football coach Johnny Vaught was inducted into the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame last week in conjunction with the 86th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics
This year’s class of Hall of Famers included six standout players, plus Vaught, who all who left significant legacies in Sugar Bowl lore.

Vaught is the third to be inducted into the hall of fame. Quarterbacks Raymond Brown and Archie Manning were both inducted in the inaugural class in 2017.

Vaught directed the Rebels to eight Sugar Bowls from 1953-70, recording five victories. His 14-6 victory over Rice in 1961 capped a 10-0-1 season after which they were crowned as national champions and the Rebels’ 17-13 defeat of Arkansas in the 1963 Sugar Bowl capped a perfect 9-0 campaign.

He also added a 38-7 blowout of Texas in the 1958 Sugar Bowl, a 21-0 shutout of LSU in the 1960 Sugar Bowl and a 27-22 win over No. 3 Arkansas in the 1970 Sugar Bowl.

Vaught was at the helm of the Rebels for 25 years, posting a 190-61-12 record. His teams won six Southeastern Conference championships from 1947-70 and only one other coach in the league had claimed that many titles at that time.

He was selected SEC Coach of the Year six times by the Associated Press, twice by United Press International, twice by the Nashville Banner, and twice by the SEC Coaches. In 1993, he was chosen by Ole Miss fans as the “Coach of the Century” (1893-1993) when the University of Mississippi celebrated the school’s first 100 years of football.

He elevated Ole Miss football from ninth in the then-12 member Southeastern Conference in 1947 to third in all-time SEC standing at the time of his second retirement in 1973.

Vaught’s 1959 machine, which finished 10-1 and gave up only three touchdowns all year, emerged with SEC Team of the Decade (1950-59) accolades. That squad was also selected by the Sagarin Ratings as the third highest-rated college football team from 1956 to 1995. He developed 18 first-team All-American players and countless players who gained All-Southeastern and All-South recognition.

Three of his teams — 1959, 1960, and 1962 — are recognized as being selected national champions by at least one rating system. The 1959 team was named national champion by Berryman, Billingsley, Dunkle, and Sagarin, while the 1960 squad was recognized as the national champion by the Football Writers (Grantland Rice Trophy), DeVold, Dunkle, Football Research, National Championship Foundation, and Williamson. The 1962 Ole Miss team, which finished with a perfect 10-0 record, was chosen national champs by the Litkenhouse Ratings.

In results against Southeastern Conference members during his coaching days at Ole Miss, Vaught was 2-4 against Alabama, 3-2 against Auburn, 4-2 against Florida, 4-3 against Georgia, 18-8-1 against Kentucky, 15-7-3 against LSU, 19-2-4 against Mississippi State, 13-7 against Tennessee, 15-3 against Tulane and 16-4-2 against Vanderbilt.

Vaught left a legacy of 14 consecutive bowl games, a national record at that time, and 18 of his teams participated in post-season classics in New Orleans, Dallas, Jacksonville, Houston, Memphis and El Paso.

At one point, his Rebels held two Sugar Bowl records — most appearances with eight and most victories with five. Including the 1971 Gator Bowl loss (28-35) to Auburn, with Vaught watching on TV from his home and quarterback Archie Manning handicapped by the brace protecting his broken arm, the Ole Miss bowl record under Vaught was 10-8.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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