Ole Miss lost another of its football legends Monday with the passing of Roland H. Dale, 84, an outstanding player with the Rebels who later became one of Coach John Vaught’s top assistant coaches before enjoying a successful career in athletics administration as Director of Athletics at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Visitation was to be held this morning at First Baptist Church in Jackson. Services were to follow, also at the church, with the graveside service set in Magee in the afternoon.
Dale attended Magee High School where he was an outstanding prep athlete. Highly recruited out of Magee High, he signed a football scholarship with Ole Miss and was a 205-pound, two-way player for Coach Harry Mehre’s Rebels in 1945, averaging more than 50 minutes per game, while earning a letter in his true freshman season.
Dale’s college career at Ole Miss was briefly interrupted by a 14-month tour of duty with the U. S. Marine Corps. He returned to Ole Miss to play on Vaught’s first three teams in 1947, 1948 and 1949.
The 1947 team captured the school’s first ever Southeastern Conference football crown. A shoulder injury forced an early retirement from the pro ranks and he then entered the coaching profession at Jones Junior College before going to Greenwood High School. He was named Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1953 while serving as athletics director and head football coach at Gulfport High School.
He also coached in the 1954 Mississippi High School All-Star game. He was an assistant coach at Southern Miss from 1955-57 and an assistant at Tulane in 1959 before returning to Ole Miss to work for Vaught in 1960. During his 12 years as an assistant at Ole Miss, including 11 with Vaught and one with Billy Kinard (1971), Dale helped lead the Rebels to three SEC championships, a share of two national titles and bowl games all 12 years.
Following his 12 years as an assistant at Ole Miss, Dale served two years as head football coach at Southeastern Louisiana University before returning to Hattiesburg as Director of Athletics at Southern Miss in 1974. (April 26, 2012, Page 7)