/RIP, Kayo Dottley Nearly seven decades later, his Ole Miss record still stands

RIP, Kayo Dottley Nearly seven decades later, his Ole Miss record still stands

Ole Miss has been playing football for over 125 years. John “Kayo”, Dottley holds the single-season rushing yardage record, with 1,312 yards in 1949. His record has been held for 69 consecutive years. This feat is made even more remarkable by the fact that Dottley managed it in only 10 games. These were the Rebels’ last games in those days. Dottley, who was 90 years old, died on Saturday. He was rightfully elected to the Ole Miss Team of the Century 1992. Dottley was a McGehee high school basketball and football star. John Vaught, Ole Miss, and Bear Bryant, both of Kentucky, attended Dottley’s high school graduation with the hope of signing him. Vaught was awarded the prize. It was a great benefit to him, as we will see. Dottley’s 1,312 yard run in 1949 was not only the longest in the country, but also a record for the Southeastern Conference. His 2,654 career running yards were an Ole Miss record which stood for 48 years, until it was broken by Deuce MacAllister. Dottley also held the national scoring lead in 1949 with 84 points and 14 touchdowns. It’s no surprise that he was named first-team All American. Dottley ran for 216 yards against Mississippi State in 1949, long before the rivalry became known as the Egg Bowl. He did this on 40 carries (a school record) in a 34-7 Rebel win. Dottley was a powerful, durable running back who was fast and powerful. In 1950, he ran 1,007 yards to follow that 1949 season. He was again All SEC. K.O. is a boxing term that stands for knockout. This was his nickname. Kayo was his father’s boxing trainer. In Dottley’s case Kayo might have been for what happened when defenders tried to tackle him. Some were knocked out. Some old-timers believe Dottley would run right over you as well as around you. Even though he gained only 119 yards from “only 25” carries, his final Ole Miss game against State in 1950 was perhaps the most significant. Ole Miss finished 4-5-1 in 1949 and needed to win over State in 1950 in order to achieve a 5-5 record for John Vaught’s fourth year. Ole Miss fans were disgruntled. Many people wanted a change in the coaching. Dottley once said to me that they thought we were playing for Coach Vaught. We were determined to win that match. “All I know is that I am happy we won.” Dottley was drafted as the 24th pick in the NFL Draft. He played three seasons for the Chicago Bears, including one where he was named the NFL’s coRookie of Year. Dottley was All-Pro in the first two seasons of his career. He then retired from football due to injuries and went on to be a successful businessman in Vicksburg, where he would live for the rest of their lives. Dottley was an inductee into Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1972. He was a strong supporter of the Hall of Fame as well as the museum. Dottily suffered broken arms and a broken foot playing football. However, his career was ended by a drunken parking valet who pinned Dottley’s legs between 2 cars. Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 2 pm at First Baptist Church in Vicksburg for John Albert “Kayo”. You may send memorials to Blair E. Batson at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (c/o Public Affairs), 2500 North State Street Jackson MS 39216, or First Baptist Church of Vicksburg (1607 Cherry Street Vicksburg MS 39180).