/First of a series Brewer’s hall of fame induction long overdue, his players firmly believe

First of a series Brewer’s hall of fame induction long overdue, his players firmly believe

Billy Brewer will not be inducted into Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night. Brewer, an Ole Miss football coach and hero, died seven months after he was informed he had been elected to the hall. Brewer was there when the Class 2018 announcement was made in Jackson last October, and he was smiling bigger than anyone. “You better believe that I am happy,” Brewer told this writer. “I am thrilled. Brewer was both a coach and a player in Mississippi. Brewer, who was a punter, defensive back, and quarterback under Rebel legend John Vaught, was selected to the Ole Miss Team of the Century in the late 1950s. This honor came more than 40 years after his death. He coached 68 wins and 55 losses for the Ole Miss teams. Brewer said, “I’ll be truthful with you.” It seemed like it had passed me by. “I thought it had passed me by. This was 1993, when Ole Miss was placed under NCAA probation for the second consecutive time. Brewer was then relieved. Brewer was the longest-serving coach in the SEC at the time of Brewer’s dismissal. Later, he sued the university for $200,000 and was successful. Brewer and Ole Miss are both living proof of the old saying that time heals all injuries. Brewer has been an Ole Miss football player for many years. Rebel fans seem to regard him with some reverence. Brewer’s former players plan to attend Saturday night’s induction ceremony. One of them is Wesley Walls, who is a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer. Walls believes Brewer’s induction should be done. Brewer is deserving if success of a coach is measured by how his players love him. Walls stated that everyone who played for him loved them. He was always there for you. He made you feel capable of anything. He treated everyone with respect. He was a man who wanted the best for all his players. He was your father, your friend, your brother, or your head coach at times. This is what I will tell you. Walls had so much to contribute to the player and man that I became – whatever that may be.” Walls, who Brewer recruited from Ponotoc was an All American and a talented player. He played on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball as a tight end and linebacker. Walls was a huge play pass receiver who was also a nightmare to opposing quarterbacks as pass rusher. He was later named to five NFL Pro Bowls. The traditions that he left behind are another measure of Brewer’s legacy at Ole Miss. Here are two examples: * The Ole Miss jersey number 38 is worn by only those who win the Chucky Mullins Award. 38 is only worn by the winners of the Chucky Mullins award, which honors Roy Lee “Chucky”, Mullins. He died from injuries sustained in a 1989 match against Vanderbilt. This writer considers the way that Brewer dealt with this tragic incident in Ole Miss history his best hour. Brewer’s compassion and love for Mullins was just as touching as it was unmistakeable. * Brewer revived an old tradition in 1985 of Ole Miss players walking through The Grove on their way to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium each home game. This tradition is now known as the Walk of Champions. Wall stated that Coach was trying to instill the same pride and confidence Ole Miss players had in those glory years. Wall said, “The walk through The Grove was part that and it worked. It still does.” Coming Tuesday: Anna Jackson — legendary coach; winner of nine state championships.