Jersey No. 38 hasn't been worn at Ole Miss since 2006, and with good reason: it's the retired number worn by the late Chucky Mullins, the Rebel defender who was paralyzed in a 1989 Homecoming game. It's one of only two numbers to be retired at Ole Miss, the other belonging to Rebel uber-legend Archie Manning.
But Ole Miss announced yesterday that as part of an effort to honor Mullins' memory, the No. 38 will be making an emotional return to the field:
Bestowed on a rising senior defensive player each spring, the Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner had worn the late Mullins' No. 38 jersey from 1990 until 2006, when the M-Club Alumni Chapter passed a resolution for the retirement of the number ...As for who'll wear it in 2011, the Mullins Courage Award winner will be announced at a team banquet April 14--an award that thanks to the jersey number that goes with it will carry even more honor this season (and for many seasons to come) than it already does.
The M-Club's new resolution supports the decision for the No. 38 to remain retired and be worn only by the Chucky Mullins Courage Award recipient each year.
"It's important that the standard of courage and spirit that Chucky represents remains at the forefront of Ole Miss Football, for our players and our fans," said Ole Miss Director of Athletics Pete Boone. "Retiring Chucky's number was the ultimate way to honor his memory. However, we miss that constant reminder of his legacy that we had with the No. 38 on the field every Saturday. It should be a living number that is with us everyday, and I'm grateful for the former award winners who led the charge to bring it back."
"The Chucky Mullins Courage Award is one of the great honors in college football and is a special part of Ole Miss," said Rebel head coach Houston Nutt. "I'm excited to see 38 back on the field and know that others will be reminded of what Chucky stood for every time the Rebels play."