One of the most celebrated Golden Eagles to step on the gridiron at The University of Southern Mississippi will serve as grand marshal for its 2012 homecoming parade.
Ray Guy, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, played punter and defensive back for the Golden Eagles from 1970-1972. His prowess as a kicker made him the first punter drafted in the first round of the National Football League, with the Oakland Raiders making the selection. During a pro career that lasted from 1973-1986, he helped lead the Raiders to three Super Bowl championships.
In 1970, his sophomore year at Southern Miss, he played a key role in the Golden Eagles' 30-14 upset of nationally-ranked Ole Miss in Oxford. He set several school records during his collegiate career, including for the longest punt, a 93-yarder against Ole Miss, as well as a 61-yard field goal against Utah State University.
“I’m honored and really looking forward to it,” said Guy, who serves as director of the university’s M-Club/Community Relations. “I always love to visit with our fans, and this will be a great way for me to see a lot of them at once. It’s going to be fun.”
The parade will again follow its original route through historic downtown Hattiesburg. Parade participants will line up in the parking lot behind Sacred Heart Catholic School, 608 Southern Ave., at 9 a.m. on the day of the parade.
The parade will enter onto Hardy Street from West Pine and will travel along Front Street, make a left onto Main Street, a left on McLeod Street, a left on Hardy and a right on West Pine. The parade will conclude back at the staging area. The estimated length of the parade route is 0.8 miles.
Parade participants will include the Pride of Mississippi Marching, Band, the Dixie Darlings, Southern Miss cheerleaders and several campus and community organizations and businesses, as well as area high school marching bands
Guy and other members of the 1970 squad will participate in Eagle Walk at 3 p.m. on Saturday and be recognized during the homecoming football game against Marshall University.
In addition to visiting with former teammates, Guy is also looking forward to seeing the football team wear his old college uniform – a “throwback” look in recognition of 100 years of Southern Miss football - when they take the field against the Thundering Herd.
“That’s going to bring back a lot of memories,” Guy said.
For more information about Southern Miss Homecoming 2012, online visit www.usm.edu/homecoming or call the Southern Miss Alumni Association at 601.266.5013.