/Book details how Belhaven’s Mumme revolutionized football

Book details how Belhaven’s Mumme revolutionized football

Gwynne’s Rebel Yell is a fascinating biography that chronicles Stonewall Jackson’s life. Gwynne holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in history and a master’s of writing from Johns Hopkins University. Gwynne’s non-fiction historical writing is reminiscent of Shelby Foote’s. His narrative style reads like award winning fiction. You might wonder, then, what Gwynne is doing in Jackson on Thursday night signing a book about Belhaven University football coach Hal Mumme. I asked him exactly that. Gwynne told me that he worked on a magazine article about Mike Leach in 2008 when he was winning big at Texas Tech. “Leach set records with his Air Raid offense but no one seemed to understand how it worked. When I asked him about it he mentioned the amazing team of Iowa Wesleyan College in the late 1980s and Hal Mumme, its coach. He said, “If you want to learn more about this offense, then you should ask Hal Mumme.”” This is what Gwynne did. Gwynne stated, “I was fascinated.” Mumme and Leach were at that small school in Iowa. They traveled all over the country visiting college coaches and NFL coaches to learn how to perfect the passing offense. They have changed the game of football.” Mumme was the coach, Leach was the offensive line coach and coordinator. They transformed Iowa Weslyan from a never-had been-before into a NAIA powerhouse. With what was known as the Air Raid offense, they set records after records. Gwynne stated, “You can see football today and all the players doing what they did.” It’s obvious that Tom Brady and the Patriots are doing it. It’s not just Big 12 teams but also SEC teams. It wouldn’t work against speed and size of the SEC, but it worked at Kentucky. It set records. It beat Alabama.” Mumme spoke about Gwynne’s book earlier this week in Belhaven’s football office. Yes, he enjoyed it. Mumme stated that he was humbled by Sam’s desire to do it. Mumme is more of a professor than a coach. He has long, thick hair and wears reading glasses at the end of his nose. His desk is messy. He is a mess at his desk when a reporter asks him about practice time. He said, “But this is what I love.” It’s a great place. We’re going win here and having fun doing it.” Gwynne calls Mumme “a genius” without hesitation. In fact, the subtitle to The Perfect Pass is “American Genius & the Reinvention Of Football.” Gwynne’s not the only one. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma coach of Mumme said that Mumme is a true American genius and that every year his offense ranks among the top in points and yards. “I know because I would have liked to have hired him,” Gwynne explains so well how stubborn football has been in trying to change it. How Mumme and Leach have made it better. (I would also add that legalizing offensive holding greatly helped. Gwynne states that it took football 35 years for the concept of the forward pass to be accepted by the game. “For so many years, it was run-dominated, a bloody scrum on the line of play. Hal and Leach, two mad scientists, changed everything.” *** Gwynne, Mumme, and others will be at Lemuria on Thursday at 5 p.m. to sign the new book. Mississippi Today’s sports columnist is Rick Cleveland. Check out his columns as well as his Sports Daily blog.