Ole Miss football legend Kayo Dottley dies at age 90

Dottley was a running back selection on the Ole Miss Team of the Century.

Posted: Nov 18, 2018 5:08 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics/WTVA) - John A. "Kayo" Dottley, 90, one of the greatest runners in Ole Miss football history, passed away Saturday, November 17, 2018, at Merit Health River Region Medical Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Funeral services for Dottley will be held on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Vicksburg, with Dr. Matt Buckles officiating. Burial will follow in Cedar Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be Monday, November 19, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Glenwood Funeral Home, located at 145 Highway 80 in Vicksburg.

Memorials may be made to Blair E. Batson, 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.

Dottley, who was selected by fans to the Ole Miss Team of the Century (1893-1992) and by Athlon Sports to its All-Time Rebel Team (1893-1995), was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, while also being chosen as a Southeastern Conference Legend in 1997.

As a player for Ole Miss legendary coach John Vaught, Dottley earned four letters (1947-50), while establishing nine school records, including most career rushing yards, most points in a season and most yards in a game. He was selected to All-American honors in 1949 when he led the nation in rushing with 1,312 yards and the SEC in scoring with 84 points.

Dottley was an All-SEC pick in 1949 and 1950 when he led the league in rushing both years. His 1,312 yards rushing in 1949 set a new SEC record at the time as did his 6.3 yards per rush, and he was chosen by his teammates to receive the Thomas Turner Trophy for being the Most Valuable Player on the 1949 Ole Miss team.

One of only five players in Ole Miss football history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a season and one of only two Rebels to do it twice, Dottley had 1,312 yards on 208 carries in 1949 and then rushed for 1,007 yards on 191 carries in 1950. After almost 70 years since his last Ole Miss game, Dottley still has two of the top six single-season individual rushing efforts in Rebel history. As for his best single-game rushing performances, Dottley gained 235 yards vs. Chattanooga in 1949, 230 yards vs. TCU in 1949, and 216 vs. Mississippi State in 1949 when he carried the football a school-record 40 times, which set a new national single-game record. He is the only player in Ole Miss history with more than one 200-yard rushing game.

His four-year career totals include 2,654 yards rushing on 478 carries, an average of 5.55 yards per carry, and he ranks third in school history for most career yards rushing (2,654), having held the record for 50 years before Deuce McAllister gained 3,060 rushing yards when his career ended in 2000.

Dottley's 131.2 yards per game are a school record and his 21 career rushing touchdowns still rank sixth in Ole Miss history. He also shares the Ole Miss single-season record with Archie Manning, Deuce McAllister and Brandon Bolden for most rushing touchdowns (14).

Following his senior season, Dottley p­layed in North-South Game, Senior Bowl and Chicago All-Star Game­. Dottley was selected in the second round of the 1950 National Football League Draft (24th overall pick) by the Chicago Bears and played three years (1951-52-53) in the NFL with the Bears. As a rookie in 1951, he was named second-team All-Pro by United Press International.

A 1951 survey of NFL coaches, players and scouts revealed that Kayo Dottley of the Chicago Bears and Ray Krouse of the New York Giants were the pro game's Rookies of the Year. He then participated in the January 12, 1952 Pro Bowl (1951 season) at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles and scored on a two-yard run to help the National Conference to a 30-13 victory over the American Conference. Dottley was selected to the 1953 Pro Bowl (1952 season), but couldn't play due to an injury.

During his three seasons with the Chicago Bears, Dottley played in 27 games, rushing for 1,122 yards on 250 carries and scoring seven touchdowns, while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He also caught 28 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns.

Dottley had an outstanding prep career at McGehee (Ark.) High School, earning All-American and All-Southern honors in 1946 and All-Arkansas three years (1944-45-46). He was captain of the Arkansas all-star team and rated Most Valuable Player in 1946, and was the leading prep scorer in Arkansas in 1945.

He rated All-Arkansas twice in basketball, leading the state in scoring in 1947, and also won prep honors in baseball. Dottley was captain of the McGehee football, basketball and baseball teams his senior year, and was the winner of the Good Citizenship Award at the conclusion of his high school career.

As a student at Ole Miss, Dottley was selected to the student Hall of Fame and was elected Colonel Rebel. He was initiated into the national honorary leadership fraternity Omicron Delta Kappa and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. In 2009, Dottley was inducted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame.

Born August 25, 1928, in Birmingham, Alabama, Kayo's family moved to Tupelo, Mississippi, before moving to McGehee, Arkansas, where he attended high school. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education in 1950 and a Master of Administrative Education in 1951, both from the University of Mississippi.

He married the former Nina Mae Nosser of Vicksburg, who was an Ole Miss cheerleader. At the time of her death in 2013, they had been married 64 years.

Dottley was a member of the National Football League Alumni and worked with the "Care for the Kids" group who traveled all over the United States working with various charities and hospitals. A Vicksburg resident for over 65 years, he was active in the Vicksburg community as a Shriner and Mason, along with being a faithful member of the First Baptist Church, Chamber of Commerce, National Pilots Association, American Grocery Association, Southern Oil Association, and Jackson Touchdown Club. He coached and promoted Little League football in the Vicksburg YMCA program and was a successful businessman, serving as chairman of the board of Dottley Spice Mart and owner of Jitney Jungle for over 40 years.

Dottley was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Irene Dottley; his wife, Nina Nosser Dottley; his son John Albert Dottley Jr.; his great-grandson, Robert Grant Houser III; his brothers, Paul Dottley, Charles McMichael, and sister Helen Johnson. He is survived by three daughters, Nina Dottley Rocconi (Larry), Debbie Dottley Brumitt (Woody), Dani Dottley Thomas (Gary), and one son, Billy Joe Dottley (Teresa); and a brother, Rev. Bobby Dottley; nine grandchildren, Larry Rocconi Jr., Courtney Rocconi Houser, Will Dottley, Jordan Dottley, Taylor Thomas, Rachel Thomas, Ann Garrison Thomas, John Tillman Thomas, and John Dottley III; and seven great-grandchildren, Gray Houser, Sarah Jacobs Houser, Anne Marie Rocconi, Ellie Rocconi, Randall Dottley, Joey Dottley, and Bodie Sahler.

The family wishes to thank Mr. Dottley's loving and dedicated caregivers, Patricia Phelps, Mamie Ware, Mary Johnson, and Lori Black.

Pallbearers will be Tim Dottley, Kevin Dottley, Paul Lewis Dottley, Chuck McMichael, Bill McRight Jr., Johnny McRight, Larry McRight, Rocky Nosser, Johnny Mims, Paul Mims, and Peter Mims. Honorary Pallbearers will be Dr. Bill Pierce, Bill Caldwell, Richard Marcus, Gene Allen, Dennis East, Otho Courtz, Robert Youngblood, Bobby Dunlop, Richard Price, and former players of Coach Dottley's Bowmar Bears.

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