Ole Miss to honor '63 SEC title team
OXFORD, Miss. – Almost a half century has passed since the 1963 Ole Miss football team won the Southeastern Conference Championship, one of six SEC titles the Rebels have won.
It was the 17th team at the University of Mississippi under Coach John Vaught and it earned the league title with a 5-0-1 SEC record, while finishing 7-1-2 overall. Members of that 1963 team will return to campus for a special reunion the week-end of October 12 when the current Rebels host Texas A&M in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
“Winning the SEC championship was a great accomplishment for us,” said team co-captain and All-America center-linebacker Kenny Dill. “It was a tradition to which we had grown accustom.”
“As we prepared for the 1963 season, there was a lot of pressure on our team,” said tackle Whaley Hall, who also earned All-America honors and served as team co-captain with Dill. “We had a lot to live up to, because the 1962 team had put together a perfect 10-0 record, had earned a share of the National Championship, won the SEC Championship and had defeated Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.”
“Lots of interesting things happened that year and it was a tremendous challenge to all of us to keep focused on the goals Coach Vaught had set for us,” Dill said.
“Looking back from the perspective of 50 years, it is exciting and exhilarating to have been a part of such a wonderful accomplishment for Ole Miss,” said wingback Larry Leo Johnson. “It was an honor to play on a team with such great athletes and teammates. Our two quarterbacks were Perry Lee Dunn and Jimmy Weatherly. We also had three future All-Americans on that 1963 team — guard-center Stan Hindman, wingback-defensive back Bill Clay and end Allen Brown.”
“We were a group that knew we had to prepare in all earnestness for the coming year, because we knew we would be the No. 1 target of all the teams on our schedule,” recalled Weatherly.
According to Weatherly, “no stories will be told at the reunion with more clarity nor with more satisfaction than the play Stan Hindman made to stop LSU’s Joe Labruzzo on the one-yard line, preventing Labruzzo from scoring on a punt return that covered 81 yards. Labruzzo was fast, but Stan was faster. He caught Joe from behind and with one arm pulled him to the ground just short of the goal line.”
With 68,000 fans looking on in Tiger Stadium and thousands more viewing the CBS regional telecast, that play came early in the third quarter with Ole Miss leading 23-3. LSU’s offense had four shots from the one, but the Rebel defense held and took over at the five-yard line. Hindman’s play and the defensive hold kept the momentum on the side of Vaught’s No. 3 ranked team as senior fullback Freddie Roberts led the offense with three touchdowns in the 37-3 victory.