Former Ole Miss football coach Billy Brewer dies at age 83

Published 9:18 pm Saturday, May 12, 2018

Former Ole Miss football coach Billy Brewer died Saturday at Memphis’ Trezevant Manor retirement community following a brief illness. He was 83 years old.

The second-longest tenured coach in program history, Brewer, who played quarterback at Ole Miss under Johnny Vaught, returned to his alma mater in 1983 and coached the Rebels for 11 seasons. Brewer won 68 games at Ole Miss with a pair of nine-win seasons and three bowl wins in five tries.

Brewer, the second-winningest coach in Ole Miss history, also coached at Southeastern Louisiana and Louisiana Tech. He ended his 22-year coaching career with a record of 125-94-6.

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A memorial service will be held at The Pavilion at Ole Miss on May 19 at 1 p.m. A private family service will be held May 20 at the Gunter-Peel Funeral Home in Columbus. Brewer has two sons, Brett and Gunter, and five grandchildren.

“As a coach and player, Billy Brewer shared a love for Ole Miss that was unparalleled,” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said in a statement. “He was greatly admired by his players and his teammates and will forever be engrained in the history of Rebel football. Our prayers go out to the Brewer family and all of Rebel Nation during this time.”

Brewer was admitted to Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford back in February after suffering a stroke. He was eventually moved to the Intensive Care Unit after suffering a mild heart attack.

Brett told the EAGLE in early March that his father had been released from the ICU after “making some good progress on several ends” but would remain at the hospital to be monitored.

It was after initially being admitted to the hospital that Brett’s daughter, Bailey, made signs with the help of family friends containing the three phrases Brewer often preached to his Ole Miss teams — attitude, work ethic and discipline — and hung them on the wall of his rehabilitation room to keep her grandfather motivated during his fight.

Brett said at the time his father liked the signs and “understands what they were for.”

Brewer is well known for honoring perhaps his most recognizable player, Chucky Mullins, who died of complications from a hit he put on Vanderbilt’s Brad Gaines in 1989 that left him paralyzed. Brewer picked a defensive player that best embodied Mullins’ spirit to wear his No. 38 jersey, an annual tradition that continues today with the Chucky Mullins Courage Award.

Brewer also started the Walk of Champions, the team’s walk through the Grove to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium two hours before each home game.

Some within the Ole Miss program, former players and other personalities around in the sport took to social media to offer their condolences and memories of Brewer, a sample of which can be seen below.