/50 years ago today Ole Miss dispatched grad assistant to sign Archie Manning

50 years ago today Ole Miss dispatched grad assistant to sign Archie Manning

It was not much of a surprise. It wasn’t big news. Manning was one eight high school quarterbacks John Vaught signed following the 1966 high school football seasons. Bob White of Meridian, who played high-school football for Bob Tyler’s Big Eight Conference team, was the star of the group. Manning, who was a part of the smaller Delta Valley Conference, was only recruited by three colleges: Ole Miss (Mississippi State) and Tulane. The signing date was December, and colleges would send an assistant coach to recruit a player from his home town to sign him. A photographer would be sent by the local newspaper to take photos of the player, his family, and the assistant coach. For example, Jackson was home to Bruiser Kinard, a legendary football player. He was there for the more celebrated signing of Skipper Jernigan (of Murrah). Archie Manning? It’s true… Ole Miss sent Roy Stinnett to sign him. Stinnett had previously coached Clarksdale high school basketball. He was working on his Master’s degree and serving as a graduate assistant for Ole Miss. To make extra money, Stinnett was officiating high-school basketball. Drew was also Drew’s star basketball player (and also baseball). Drew was participating in the Coahoma County Basketball Tournament. Stinnett served double duty as the officiator for the tournament. Manning states that the tournament was won by Greenwood, Clarksdale, and Coahoma. Manning says, “We played a Friday night game and then two on Saturday. We won all three.” It was a major upset.” Manning washed and changed into Sunday clothes after the Saturday morning game. He then took a photo of his father, mother and Stinnett. You might be wondering if there was a conflict of interest in the Stinnett situation. He was the officiating coach for the basketball tournament and also signed one of the players up to a scholarship. Manning laughs. Manning says, “We won three games” and he guarantees that he shot at least 50 free throws. “That’s all that I have to say about it.” Manning and White played together for the North team, coached Bob Tyler, at the Mississippi high school all star game. White played for the North, but he suffered a terrible knee injury. He never fully recovered. Manning was on the bench and accounted for five touchdowns. He also won the game’s MVP award. This was the beginning of his talebook career at Ole Miss. Footnote: December 10, 1966 is an important date in Mississippi sports history. Paul Davis was fired by Mississippi State on that day as its head football coach. State fired Paul Davis, its head football coach, on the signing day. Manning said, “I really, truly admired Paul Davis.” “I had always wanted to play for Ole Miss. Because someone at Mississippi State called me looking for Coach Davis, I know it was because they believed he might be recruiting me. They wanted to fire him.” Rick Cleveland, Mississippi Today’s sports columnist, was the caller. Check out his columns as well as his Sports Daily blog. Reach Rick at rcleveland@mississippitoday.org.