Rebel legend Mustin passes away at 87

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ole Miss lost another athletics legend on Monday with the passing of Billy Mustin, 87, who starred as a player, served as an assistant football coach and then became Director of the Loyalty Foundation. A graveside service will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. at Oxford Memorial Cemetery with Rev. Robert Allen officiating.

Mustin, a 1950 graduate of Ole Miss and a star halfback for the Rebels from 1946 to 1949, worked for 12 years with the Loyalty Foundation.  After serving as assistant director for two years, he succeeded Tom Swayze as director on July 1, 1975 and led the organization until 1985 when he retired. Mustin was inducted into the Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

A native of Canton, Mississippi, Mustin joined legendary coach John Vaught’s staff in 1963.  For many years he also served as custodian of Miller Hall, which was at the time the men’s athletic dormitory.  Prior to joining the Rebel coaching staff, Mustin coached at Sardis High School, Cleveland High School and Holmes Junior College, serving in the dual capacity of head football coach and athletics director at Holmes.  His 1951 Cleveland High team won the Delta Valley Conference title with a 9-0-1 record.

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An exceptional running back who played left half at 155 pounds in both the single wing and “T” formations, Mustin broke in during the post-World War II Charlie Conerly era, 1946-47, and had sensational years during the school’s first Split-T seasons as a junior and senior.

With wingbacks Jerry Tiblier and Dixie Howell in 1948, he was a member of one of the most prolific punt return units developed in the south.  That year a total of 36 punts were handled for an average team return of 18.8 yards and three touchdowns.

Mustin’s biggest game that fall was against LSU when he returned three punts for 68 yards, three kickoffs for 75 yards and ran 10 times from scrimmage for another 52 yards.  He returned a Mississippi State punt 53 yards for a touchdown in a 34-7 victory, averaging 23.1 yards for the season on eight returns.