By Alyssa Schnugg
Former Ole Miss quarterback and singer-songwriter James “Jim” Weatherly died Wednesday at his home in Brentwood, Tennessee, according to national news sources.
He was 77. No cause of death was mentioned.
Weatherly, a native of Pontotoc, played for legendary Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught as an All-Southeastern Conference quarterback and honorable mention All-American on the 1964 team. He was the backup quarterback on the only undefeated team in University of Mississippi history in 1962. The Rebels captured the SEC championship that year and again in 1963 with Weatherly as the startup quarterback.
During his time at Ole Miss, he wrote songs and performed with his band when it wasn’t football season. After graduation, he pursued a career in music rather than in football.
He later wrote the popular song, “Midnight Train to Georgia,” that was recorded by Glady’s Knight and the Pips.
The song was subsequently inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
He continued to write songs for 50 years.
Weatherly himself was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2011, he was enshrined into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014. He was also conferred the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Music by the government of Mississippi that same year.
Weatherly was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame in 2011.
In a 2014 interview with University Communications writer Michael Newson, Weatherly said he had always been a big of Ole Miss football.
“There was just kind of a mystique about Ole Miss for me. I grew up in Pontotoc. All this was happening just 30 miles away from me when I was growing up. I used to listen to the ballgames on the radio when I was growing up. There was just this mystique about listening to what was going on just 30 miles away and in those red-and-blue uniforms.”
Weatherly is survived by his wife Cynthia, daughter Brighton and son Zack.