By Joshua Padgett
There are very few people in the world that can say they haven’t missed a football game in over 42 years. Chuck Rounsaville is one of the few, as he has witnessed every Ole Miss game since he started covering the Rebels.
“I haven’t missed a game, home or away, since 1978,” said the Ole Miss alumnus and publisher of the Ole Miss Spirit.
Rounsaville was publishing a hunting and fishing paper out of Leland, Mississippi, when he received a copy of the Tiger Rag, a magazine that focused on LSU’s athletic program. He liked the paper and realized that he and his friend Mac Gordon could do the same for Ole Miss.
It so happened that Gordon’s high school Sunday school teacher was Warner Alford, the athletic director of Ole Miss at the time.
“We came up to see Warner and told him about our plan of putting out an Ole Miss publication, and he was all for it,” Rounsaville said. “In fact, he’s the one that named it.”
There was a campaign going around campus at the time called the “Ole Miss Spirit.” Alford suggested they use the momentum of this movement and use the same name for their publication. “And off we went,” said Rounsaville.
They launched the paper before the first game in 1982, when Steve Sloan was the head coach.
“All of our friends and relatives stood at every entrance to campus and stuck a copy of the paper through the window of people coming on campus,” said Rounsaville about the growth of the paper. “By the end of the first week, we had 500 or 600 subscriptions, which was way beyond our expectations.”
The Ole Miss Spirit continued to grow quickly by word-of-mouth. By the end of the third year, the publication had over 3,000 subscriptions. This growth spurted not only from the hard work of Rounsaville but also from the commitment of the Ole Miss fan base.
“For a school the size of Ole Miss, we’ve always had a really good subscriber base,” Rounsaville said. “Ole Miss fans are extremely loyal and extremely interested.”
Not only did Rounsaville cover the ins and outs of Ole Miss football since 1978, but he also made some special friendships with some of the players and coaches along the way. One of the more notable friendships he made was with Archie Manning and his sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli.
“When Peyton and Cooper were, I’d guess they were in 3rd grade maybe 5th grade, and Eli was almost a baby, Archie told me Cooper and Peyton were gonna be on the sidelines tonight, so don’t let them get into any trouble,” Rounsaville said. “They were great kids, and I’ve known them for a long long time and they’re just a super family. Archie is the patriarch of Ole Miss football.”
Rounsaville has covered Ole Miss football for the majority of his life, and he’s not going anywhere. The Ole Miss Spirit is more alive than ever today, and you can find it on 247Sports.com.
“We believe sports are supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be an uplifting experience.”