/57 years ago, the late Stan Hindman, a Renaissance man, made a play for the ages

57 years ago, the late Stan Hindman, a Renaissance man, made a play for the ages

The Ole Miss-LSU match had implications for the SEC and national championships, as was the case at all times in those days. Ole Miss won the game undefeated. LSU had lost once. Ole Miss led early and LSU was trying to catch up. It happened. Ole Miss punted, and LSU speedster Joe Labruzzo (who had run the 100-yard sprint in 9.6 seconds for LSU track) gathered the kick at his own 14. And took off. He seemed to be heading for an 86-yard touchdown, which could have changed the game. A huge Ole Miss player appeared on screen and raced to catch Labruzzo from behind. Stan Hindman, a Newton sophomore, was the speedy Rebel. Labruzzo weighed 175 pounds. Hindman weighed 232. Labruzzo crossed the 5-yard line. Hindman reached out with his right arm and grabbed Labruzzo from behind. He then took him down at one-yard. Ole Miss held the Tigers at the goal line and won the game 37-3. It is almost 57 years since Hindman’s Labruzzo rundown. John Vaught, Ole Miss’s legendary coach and football legend, said that “Not many linemen anywhere could do that.” Vaught called Hindman “the greatest lineman he had ever coached” at this stage in his career. When asked if the player who had rescued Labruzzo from the ashes was a sophomore guard by LSU coach Charlie McClendon, he replied: “A guard, you ask.” It’s unbelievable. So, why bring up this play from 57-years ago? Because Stan Hindman (a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer) died in Oakland, Cal. on July 15. He was a well-known architect and sculptor. Hindman was 76 years old and was an All-SEC football player three times. Stan Hindman was a college football legend and the epitome of Renaissance man. Mike Dennis, his Ole Miss roommate, said that Stan Hindman, a pre-med major, earned straight A’s and was equally interested in art and football. Dennis, a running back and dentist, said that Stan was not like the rest of the group. He studied every day. “Stan loved school. Stan Hindman loved learning. His younger brother, Steve, was an Ole Miss star too. Stan Hindman did not attend Ole Miss. He accepted an appointment at West Point to be a football player for Army. Rhesa Barksdale, a federal judge, was in the same class at West Point as Hindman. Barksdale says, “He was only there for two months and was already the best Army football player.” He was amazing.” And he was outmatched. Hindman was already a recruiter for all the southern football powerhouses, including Ole Miss. Vaught called Hindman in October to check if Ole Miss had any scholarship available. Vaught said that he did. Vaught then had someone come fetch Dennis, an Ole Miss freshman who had been a friend since high school track meets. Vaught didn’t often speak to freshmen back then and Dennis wondered what he did wrong to be summoned to the legendary head coach. Vaught informed him that he had some good news for Mike. “Stan Hindman will be joining us at Ole Miss. “And, Mike, you’re going to be his friend.” Dennis reminded Vaught that he was sharing a room with another freshman who, like Dennis, attended Murrah High School. Vaught replied, “Mike. As I told you, Stan Hindman is my roommate.” Both future professional football players, Hindman, and Dennis, shared a room at Ole Miss for four years. Dennis, now living in Oxford, says that they never exchanged harsh words. “Stan was quiet and one of my best friends,” Dennis said. Stan Hindman could have been a great doctor or dentist like his father, or engineer. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round. Dennis says that he could have been an All-Pro offensive tackle right from the beginning. He was drafted by the 49ers in the first round. They needed more defense help so he became a defensive end. He was forced to switch to defensive tackle after sustaining a serious injury to his knee. He wore jersey number 80, which was the same jersey that Jerry Rice would wear many years later. Hindman played seven NFL seasons and became more interested in architecture. He was still living in Haight Ashbury, California at Cal-Berkley when he retired from football. Later, he studied at UCLA. He told a reporter in 2007 that he loved school. Hindman shared his love for gathering information and creating the seeds of what the building will look like with Dave Newhouse, East Bay Times. Newhouse asked Hindman what pursuit he preferred: architecture or football. Hindman replied, “The architecture gives me the greatest inner-satisfaction.” It’s something that I have been doing for a longer time. Part of me is an athlete. “I owe football a lot.”