Scholarship committee keeps Chucky Mullins’ memory alive with annual events

“Never quit.”

That’s the motto adopted by Russellville native, football legend Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins after he was injured while playing defensive back for Ole Miss.

Mullins is celebrated not only for his love and skill for playing football but also for his highly positive and encouraging attitude, as well as the great love and compassion he displayed for others, even after his injury.

His “Never quit” motto is also one his classmates and many others have wholeheartedly embraced over the years, both in their own lives and in their dedication TO remembering, honoring and spreading knowledge of his life.
Friends and supporters continue to work to honor and preserve his memory and legacy while striving to inspire new generations, holding events in his memory each year.

Now nearly 32 years since Mullins’ passing, his legacy continues to grow. March 24-25, the Chucky Mullins Scholarship Committee – made of members of Mullins’ class, the Russellville High School Class of 1988 – presented two days of activities in his honor, including a silent auction on the group’s Facebook page.

The committee hosted its 12th annual golf tournament at Twin Pines Country Club Friday and its third annual youth football camp Saturday at the RHS football stadium, as well as the second annual Special Olympics Pro Bowl at the RMS gym – and idea from Mullins’ classmate Rosell Christian.

Funds raised from the activities support scholarships in Mullins’ memory.

“Our legacy is to pass this down to our children so they can make sure it continues to grow,” explained Christian. “We do this to celebrate someone we all loved, but we also want to continue to make sure that everybody, especially the younger students that come along, understand how important Chucky has been to each one of us.

Another classmate, Derek Washington, said it’s always a special time of getting together.

“Our class has always been a close-knit class that’s been there for each other, and part of that is because of the legacy of Chucky and doing the fundraisers,” explained Washington, who said he thinks Mullins is “looking down from Heaven and smiling about us coming together and rallying around his memory and legacy.”

“I think Chucky would be really pleased with the fact that his life has brought his classmates so close together, as well as to see how the community always rallies around this event, and the recipients that get to enjoy some financial help from the scholarships which this event brings,” he added.

More than 80 children participated in the football camp, and 16 participants plus 20 volunteers took part in the Special Olympics event. Eighteen teams participated in the golf tournament.

YOUTH FOOTBALL CAMP

Russellville City Schools fifth- and sixth-grade head football coach Chris Boatwright estimated the youth football camp participation was more than double the 2022 amount.

“I’m glad to help facilitate this and keep the legacy for Chucky Mullins going,” he said. “I didn’t know Chucky, but I’ve been inspired by the Class of 1988 through the work they do each year to preserve his legacy.”

Daniel Thomas, an Auburn alum who plays in the NFL for the Jackson Jacks, said he was proud to be one of several pro football players to help with this year’s activities.

“I love it,” Thomas said. “The most important thing is being able to get back and be with the kids – to encourage and motivate them, to let them know they can do whatever they want to do.”

Other professional athletes who attended the weekend’s events included Dexter McCluster of Ole Miss and Terrence Metcalf of Ole Miss.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS PRO BOWL

“It means a lot to be able to give back in this way, and I enjoy this event every year,” said Sammie Coates, who played in the NFL for four and a half years. “It’s always rewarding, and those participating have a great time. That means more to me than anything – to see them smile and have fun and be free.”

Event coordinator Carly Hellums said the event is a meaningful one to be part of – one she notes grew from the past year, with fun, games and friendly competition being key components.

“I hope this continues to grow,” she said. “The individuals participating love it, and the players love it. It’s open to the tri-county area, and we had about 16 participants plus 20 volunteers this year.”

One of the many volunteers, Jerry Groce, an employee of Northwest Alabama Easter Seals – an organization that helps people with disabilities achieve their maximum potential – and a member of the Russellville City Schools Board of Education, said it’s an event close to his heart.

“We appreciate how much so many in the community do in order to help us bring this together, as well as the athletes who are willing to come in and donate their time to make this happen,” he said. “It’s a wonderful event.”

AN EVENING OF REMEMBRANCE

Saturday evening friends and supporters gathered upstairs in the RHS field house to share their memories, as well as how they’re inspired by Mullins’ legacy. After that they gathered on the balcony to watch the movie about his life, “Undefeated: The Chucky Mullins Story,” shown on the stadium screen.

Christian and Tom Ray gave the welcoming remarks, explaining “our why” for the class working so hard on the remembrance events. Nancy Brockway, Tracy Berry and Karen Hill recognized donors. Groce and RMS Principal Tony Bonds spoke about the school and community impact. Brad Gaines, Trea Southerland – Mullins’ college roommate – and Dexter McCluster spoke about legacy and friendship and introduced the movie.

Bonds explained the impact Mullins’ story has had on his life – though Bonds never met Mullins. They both hail from Russellville, and both played football at Ole Miss.

“We try to make sure every kid at the school sees the movie about Chucky because I think it’s important,” Bonds said, “– the story of an everyday Russellville kid who was able to succeed and fight those levels of adversity along the way and still come out smiling on the other end and still be a decent human being.”

Chucky was “bigger than himself,” said Ray, one of Mullins’ classmates, “and that’s what the Class of ’88 and anybody that came in contact with Chucky realized. He wanted to make an impact on more people than just himself. It’s amazing to me to watch his enduring legacy.”

Ray said he wants to walk his life undefeated – in reference to the film about Mullins’ life.

“I am not going to be defeated. I encourage all of us to keep living undefeated and keep this going,” Ray said. “We’re doing more through this than than we probably really realize, and I just want to keep encouraging and doing whatever we can to continue that legacy.

“I think Chucky would be really, really proud of the impact we’re making in the community.”

For more information, visit www.cms1988.com.

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